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)
- For the dressing:
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican or taco-style seasoning blend (see photo above)
- Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, uncovered. Reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes with the lid still on.
- Place the yams into a pot and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, uncovered, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the yams are tender but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of water in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the water starts to sputter, add the onion and bell pepper. Cook while stirring for 2 to 5 minutes, adding a little water, as needed, until the onions and peppers soften. Stir in the greens and garlic, adding a little water as needed, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the greens have wilted.
- Place the cooked quinoa and yams into a large bowl, and add the cooked vegetables, black beans, cilantro, and avocado (if using).
- For the dressing, mix the lime juice and Mexican seasoning in a small bowl with a fork, and then stir into the salad.
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.
To make your own Mexican spice blend, use a combination of chili powder, paprika, cumin, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and/or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
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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