I love this salad bejeweled with contrasting colors of black beans, tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and yellow bell peppers. Flavors of fresh squeezed lime, olive oil and garlic punctuate the nutty quinoa and vegetables. Its simple to make, and satisfying to eat. This is going into my lunch box tomorrow and is a great make-ahead meal. It tastes even better the day after its made. Lunch boxes aside, you can serve it as a main dish for a vegetarian meal, or as a side salad.

If you are a health food addict, you already know that quinoa is a seed, gluten-free, and among the few plant based foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in beneficial vitamins such as B and E, minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron and antioxidants. And its fiber rich. A lot of goodness there, and a very good reason to try this recipe!

The idea of this salad is to make something similar to a salsa, and incorporate cooked quinoa into it. Olive oil adds a pleasant unctuous note.

Serves 4 as a main dish

1 cup white quinoa, cooked and cooled to room temperature
1 small roma tomato, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
2 tbsps fresh cilantro, chopped finely
Juice of a large lime
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables, beans and cumin. Add lime juice and olive oil to it. Fold in cooked and cooled quinoa. Adjust seasonings and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serve as a main dish salad or a side dish.