Summer-Time Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa

My little sister is a fabulous cook. She has the innate ability to add exactly what a dish needs to make it perfect- something I did not have when I was 25! When we go to our family cabin in the summer – my mom takes a back seat at the counter stool and Ali and I make mayhem in the kitchen. This quinoa was introduced to me in this manner and it has been a hit ever since. It is light and zesty and a full meal all in one pot. With the summer temperature soaring in the high 90’s I don’t have much interest in steaming up my kitchen with hours in front of the stove or oven. Quinoa is one of those super foods that fill you up and is great for you, too. The kids are slowly warming up to this dish – but it’s a huge hit with the adults.

Summer Time Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa

Adapted from, Gourmet Magazine, July 2007


3 tsp. grated lime zest
2 tbsp. fresh lime  juice
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (I am a fan of Eden Organic- they don’t use BPA in their can linings)
2 medium tomatoes, diced (or more if you are a tomato junky like me!)
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 lb. cooked shrimp  (feel free to substitue chicken here)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 avocado, sliced


1. Whisk together lime zest, lime juice, butter, oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. For the butter, you want the consistency to be very soft. So you can leave it out and let it melt on the counter or melt in the microwave and let it solidify again.

2. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to rid any possibility of the bitter tasting saponin – which is a bitter taste that keeps the birds from eating it. Cook quinoa, uncovered, in a medium pot of boiling salted water until almost cooked through (10-12 minutes). Drain quinoa and reserve about 1 cup of water. Pour reserved water back into pot and set sieve in pot, not touching the bottom of the pot. Place a folded kitchen towel over the pot, and then place a lid over towel. It’s ok if it doesn’t fit perfectly.  Let the simmering water steam the rest of the quinoa until it’s light and fluffy (about 10 more minutes). Remove the quinoa from the heat and add to dressing mixture. If you don’t have time for this step- you can cook the quinoa in the boiling water for a total of 15-17 minutes until tender and then drain in sieve.

3. Stir quinoa until dressing is mixed through. Add the beans, tomato, cilantro and shrimp. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Plate quinoa and add sliced avocado on each plate. Serve when you’re ready to eat. It’s tasty room temperature or warm!

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