Black beans, yams, and quinoa come together beautifully in this filling and colorful salad. Onion, bell pepper, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and Mexican seasoning team up to provide the lively flavors. A crowd-pleasing dish, perfect for parties and potlucks!
2 cups water
1 cup dry/uncooked quinoa
1¼ pounds yams, peeled, cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 cloves), or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cups coarsely chopped greens (such as kale, collard greens, or chard)
1½ cups cooked black beans (or one 15-ounce can), drained and rinsed
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 avocado, chopped (optional)
½ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon dried Mexican or taco-style seasoning blend (see photo below)
1. Pour the water and quinoa into a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the cover still on.
2. Place the yams into a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until the yams are tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
3. Heat a frying pan on high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of water. When the water starts to sputter, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook stirring for 3-5 minutes, adding a little water as needed, until onions and peppers soften. Stir in the garlic and greens (adding water as needed), and cook 2-3 minutes or until the greens have softened.
4. Place the cooked quinoa, yams, and vegetables into a large bowl along with the black beans, cilantro, and avocado.
5. Mix the lime juice with the seasoning in a small bowl, and stir it into the bowl of salad. Serve immediately as a warm salad, or later as a cold salad.
Preparation: 35 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes
Serves: 6-8 (makes 9 cups)
Quinoa substitute: If you don’t have quinoa on hand, use 1 cup dry/uncooked long-grain brown rice, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Yam swap: Sweet potatoes also work well in this salad, but I prefer yams since they are more colorful.
Herb options: If you are not a fan of cilantro, you may use fresh basil or parsley.
Above: When buying Mexican or taco-style seasoning, look for blends in the spice aisle, not as a “Taco Seasoning Mix” packet, as these packets often contain ingredients that are not healthful, such as MSG, aspartame, oil, sugar, salt, milk, and “natural flavorings” (which is a sneaky way of hiding ingredients). The bottom label is from a jar of seasoning, and is preferable to the two top labels, which are from “Taco Seasoning Mix” packets. Always read ingredient labels before you buy.
Above: If you want to be creative in your presentation, firmly press some salad into a 1-cup measuring cup or very small bowl, and invert it onto a plate.
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