Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quinoa and Bean Salad... Easily Portable and Gluten-Free

When were were living on the sailboat, all of our dishes were made of white melamine.  They were very practical and serviceable and I brightened our salon table with a variety of colorful linens.  Now that we are land-based, it has been fun for me to collect a few brightly colored dishes.  I was really pleased when The Captain spotted some cute,  shallow ceramic bowls in an antique store window while we were out for a walk last week, and insisted that we bring them home.

I have been thinking about coming up with something new to serve in them and decided to kill 2 birds with one stone... so to speak!

Things have finally started to feel somewhat normal to me now that we have mostly finished furnishing and  decorating our new apartment.  It seems that we have a couple of days coming up with no planned commitments and so finally have a chance to get out and do some golfing... good thing the hot Summery days are due to last for a few more weeks!

We always take a cooler with lunch and snacks along with us when we head off in the car for the day.  I prefer to know what we are going to eat, rather than be at the mercy of a fast food vendor or a convenience store, or even worse yet... go hungry!

When we were travelling around the Maritimes a few years ago, I got into the habit of making up lunch boxes for us each day... I like to call them bento boxes.    They usually consisted of some grain-based salad mixture, a hard-boiled egg, and some veggie sticks.

So, I decided to make a salad that would look good in my new colorful bowls, and also keep well in the fridge overnight to put in the next day's bento boxes.  Here is what I came up with... a salad that is very easy to throw together, and you likely have the ingredients already on hand.   Use any kind of beans you like.  It is gluten-free, too, which is a nice bonus.

The dressing is a bit different... I mixed ingredients together till I liked the taste!  If you have dijon mustard, use it certainly.

I used chunks of ripe yellow tomatoes, freshly picked from our balcony container garden for garnish, and I toasted and buttered a couple of small slices of dark rye bread for The Captain.


Quinoa and Bean Salad
Makes 6 cups (4 servings of 1-1/2 cups each)
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 medium bell pepper,  your choice of color, diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 can dry red kidney beans, rinsed and drained - approx 2 cups
  • 2 mini cucumbers, halved lengthwise and then sliced
  • 2 Tbs cilantro chopped coarsely
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs white vinegar
  • 1 Tbs dark balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Dash of  Splenda or sugar or honey
  1. Cook the quinoa in a small covered saucepan in 1 cup boiling water for 15 minutes and then turn off heat.  Leave for 5 minutes, then remove lid and fluff with a fork.  Allow to cool to room temperature before using.
  2. Meanwhile mix the diced bell pepper, sliced green onions, rinsed kidney beans and chopped cilantro in a medium to large bowl.
  3. Add the cooked quinoa and stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the oil, vinegars, mustard and sweetener of your choice.  Pour over the salad and chill for at least an hour before serving.
Per serving of 1-1/2 cups.
Weight Watchers P+ = 6.
Calories 239; Protein 11g; Carbhohydrate 38g; Fat 6g; Fibre 9g.

Mix the vegetables together...

and stir in the cooked and cooled quinoa.

The Captain's plate.

Lunch is served on the balcony.
Bon apetit!
With an egg and some veggies for a take-along cooler lunch... don't forget the forks!
Lunch before heading out to play golf.


  1. Sounds yummy.
    Really nice plates too, the captain has good taste!
    Do I see pieces of cucumber peeking out of the salad too?

    1. Yes! Thanks for mentioning that... I did leave them out of the ingredient list so went back and added them. Good thing you have such a good eye!

  2. Looks delicious! I never thought to combine bean and quinoa. Does the captain love posing for blog pics? : )

  3. This does look delicious. And, it's a pretty presentation, too. I think healthy food deserves to look pretty and you've captured that. How fun! Thanks for the recipe.

  4. Looks like these meals are keeping your man happy! Great job!

  5. Looks delish! I love to eat outside too!

  6. the photos look great. I've never had quinoa (gasp), but your dishes look might tempting.

  7. Yum, yum yummy! Quinoa salads have been my thing for the past 4 weeks. Loving them. I can add yours to my rotation now!

  8. I haven't had quinoa in awhile! this looks yummy!

  9. This is exactly the kind of dish that my family loves to make! I'll have to make this salad and then share the recipe with my mom...she would love it!

  10. Love the pictures of the Captain, Elle! ;) Glad to see you both are well.


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