Mango Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Salad

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Today as I was preparing a few salads for a Ladies’ Luncheon at our church, on a last minute whim, I decided to whip up a Mango Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Salad, a vegetarian/vegan salad with fruits, grains and beans.

I got the idea as I was staring at the bowlfuls of mangos and avocados that have been sitting on my kitchen counter the last several days. As the boxful of mangos and California Avocados have been ripening, I've been making lots of Mango Smoothies and Avocado Smoothies. I've also made my favorite Mango Avocado Salsa, so a quinoa salad using similar ingredients seemed to be a natural extension of this recipe. Mangos and avocados make such a nice combination, one sweet, the other more savory, but both offering a smooth and silky mouth feel.

Today as I was preparing a few salads for a Ladies’ Luncheon at our church, on a last minute whim, I decided to whip up a Mango Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Salad, a vegetarian/vegan salad with fruits, grains and beans.

I got the idea as I was staring at the bowlfuls of mangos and avocados that have been sitting on my kitchen counter the last several days. As the boxful of mangos and California Avocados have been ripening, I've been making lots of Mango Smoothies and Avocado Smoothies. I've also made my favorite Mango Avocado Salsa, so a quinoa salad using similar ingredients seemed to be a natural extension of this recipe. Mangos and avocados make such a nice combination, one sweet, the other more savory, but both offering a smooth and silky mouth feel.

As I thought of what dressing to make for this fruity quinoa salad, I spotted a bottle of raspberry balsamic vinegar in my cabinet which I thought would compliment the fruit flavors in this quinoa salad. To make this salad a complete meal, I included black beans (one of my favorite beans) and quinoa, a gluten-free “grain.”

For those of you who are not familiar with quinoa, quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, and is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is sometimes referred to as an ancient grain as it was once considered to be the “gold of the Incas.” Quinoa is a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids. In addition, quinoa is a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, folate, and fiber.

Before cooking quinoa, it must be rinsed thoroughly to remove its bitter-tasing coating (saponins).  Cooked quinoa is fluffy and soft, with a little bit of crunch to it.

This Mango Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Salad was a huge hit at the luncheon. I have to say that after I made this quinoa salad, I wondered whether people would even try it as I wasn't sure whether anyone knew what quinoa was. These fears were allayed, however, as quite a few people knew immediately what quinoa was, and others had never seen or heard of it before, but were willing to try it. In fact, I think there might have been a few quinoa converts in the room. I was especially glad I had made this vegan salad as one woman’s face lit up when she saw it. Being a vegetarian and newly vegan, this quinoa salad, along with some fruit salad made her lunch complete.

Mango Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Salad 

I used red quinoa, but you can use white or black quinoa. This is not a precise recipe, as mangos and avocados come in all different sizes. I like the silkier texture of  Ataulfo or Champagne over the more fibrous Tommy Atkins variety.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed

2 cups water

1 tablespoon  extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons raspberry balsamic vinegar

1 large or 2 small mangos, diced

1 avocado, diced

1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed well and drained

1 red bell pepper, diced

¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped

¼ cup mint, finely chopped

¼ cup scallions, minced

½ -1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced

juice of 1 lime

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

To cook quinoa, place well rinsed quinoa in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Transfer to a large bowl.

Whisk together olive oil and raspberry balsamic vinegar. Add to quinoa and leave uncovered until cool. (Can be refrigerated until ready to finish making salad.)


When quinoa is cool, add mangos, avocado, black beans, red bell pepper, cilantro, mint, scallions, jalapeno pepper, and lime juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6.

Jeanette from Jeanette's Healthy Living

 

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