Black Bean, Corn and Quinoa Salad
This delicious salad, very similar to Mediterranean tabbouleh, is a staple throughout the Andean region. Quinoa, one of the ancestral Inca and Chibcha Indian crops, is harvested from Colombia to Argentina in the higher Andean plains. Quinoa is prized for its earthy yet delicate flavor, as well as its nutritional value. The medley of the Peruvian corn with glossy black beans, pale gold quinoa, and red tomatoes and bell pepper make this an eye-catching and colorful salad.
For the dressing:
- 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- 3 Tbs. white vinegar
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp. ají amarillo paste
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup drained cooked black beans, or purchased
- 2/3 cup thawed frozen corn kernels, preferably Peruvian
- 1 tomato, seeded and finely diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
To make the dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, cilantro, ají paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until smooth and emulsified. Set aside.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water. Stir in the salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the quinoa is tender and all the water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain thoroughly, then transfer to a large nonreactive bowl.
Add the black beans to the bowl with the quinoa. Pat the corn dry with paper towels and add to the bowl, along with the tomato and bell pepper. Pour in the dressing and stir to coat all the ingredients well. Transfer the salad to a large serving bowl or individual plates and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Latin Cooking, by Patricia McCausland-Gallo, Deborah Schneider & Beverly Cox (Oxmoor House, 2010).