Ilham's black bean and quinoa salad {gluten free}

Ilham's black bean and quinoa salad {gluten free}

The weather's been pretty glorious here in London over the last few weeks. We've had days on end of cloudless blue skies, temperatures in the high twenties and warm evenings with beautiful pink-hued sunsets. I can hardly believe how lovely it's been, and from the forecast you'd think we were somewhere in the Mediterranean. I've been trying to make the most of the weather (despite working indoors), taking my lunch breaks in local gardens in Bloomsbury, walking between meetings and doing outdoor activities on the weekend. This past weekend I went out to Kent with a few girlfriends to do a 20 km hike starting inland in farmers' fields and ending on the coast, and it was just gorgeous. Suffice to say, I'm really loving this London summer weather.

Black bean and quinoa salad | Beloved Kitchen

When the weather's hot like it's been lately, I tend to crave chilled glasses of sparkling water with a slice of lemon and light, refreshing salads like this black bean and quinoa salad. I created this particular salad recipe on a bit of a whim about a month ago. My friend Sarah was having a few of us over for dinner and she made 'poulet de Bachir' - her dad's famous Moroccan chicken recipe. Since I'm the only vegetarian in our group of friends, I offered to bring along grain salad to serve with the meat. I left the whole thing pretty last minute and just used what I had to hand in the house - quinoa, cherry tomatoes, lemon, black beans and spices, and I picked up a block of feta on the way over.

Black bean and quinoa salad | Beloved Kitchen

The end result was a light, flavourful and slightly tangy salad perfect for hot summer days. This black bean and quinoa was a huge success, so much so that my friend Ilham (or Ily as we call her) has been asking me for the recipe on an almost weekly basis. Last week I finally wrote out the proportions and sent them to her, promising that the salad would be my next recipe on Beloved Kitchen. So here it is, the recipe for Ilham's beloved black bean and quinoa salad.

Black bean and quinoa salad | Beloved Kitchen

-xo KA

Ilham's black bean and quinoa salad {gluten free}

This quinoa salad is simple to make with black beans, ripe cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, tangy feta and lemon. A perfect lunch or dinner for hot summer days, and keeps well in the fridge for a few days. If you don't have any cooked quinoa to hand and don't have time to prepare it from scratch, you can certainly use store-bought pre-cooked quinoa.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups | 925 g cooked quinoa*, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 handful coriander, chopped
  • 1 handful garden chives, chopped
  • 1 14 oz | 400 g can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups | 350 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 200 g block feta, cut into small cubes (approx. 1 cup)
  • Lemon slices and extra herbs, to serve

*To cook quinoa from scratch, combine 2 cups rinsed quinoa with 3 cups water and 1 tsp fine salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to steam for 5 minutes covered and fluff with a fork. This will make a bit more quinoa than needed for this recipe, but the extra quinoa can be stored in the fridge to use for other meals.

Method:

Add the quinoa, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander and chives and toss to combine. Add in the black beans and tomatoes, give it a good mix to combine. Add the feta and gently mix the salad (don't over mix to ensure the feta keeps its shape). Serve topped with lemon slices and extra herbs, if desired.

Serves 4-6 as a main, more as a side.

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