Friday recipe: black bean and heirloom tomato quinoa salad

April 6, 2012 —

Last week’s recipe was a pick from Des Moines University’s “Nutrition 101″ course, in which DMU Wellness Director Joy Schiller, M.S., CHES, and David Spreadbury, Ph.D., chair of biochemistry and nutrition, co-teach students how to stock their pantries and kitchens, how to approach various cooking techniques and – most important – how to cook a wide variety of foods for healthful, quick and delicious meal preparation. These are invaluable lessons students can incorporate both in their lives and in interactions with future patients.

This hands-on class teaches medical students that healthy cooking is not brain surgery.

You can learn more about the class and watch students in action in the spring issue of DMU Magazine and in this web-extra video. Below I serve up another recipe from the final class session, in which students do all the cooking, prepared by second-year osteopathic medical students Emily Morse and Molly Lepic.

“This recipe was quick and easy to make and very nutritious,” Emily says. “The quinoa is high in protein and makes a great alternative to other grains like rice and couscous…We served it cold as a salad, but it could be served warm as a main course, too. You could also add other vegetables like chopped onion or peppers to give it an extra kick.”

I applaud Emily’s empowering attitude, something Professor Spreadbury emphasizes in the class. “Cook with abandon!” he told the students in a recent class meeting. “There’s a whole world out there to try.”

I encourage you to try Emily and Molly’s recipe below – I can vouch for its nutritious deliciousness.

Black bean and heirloom tomato quinoa salad with lemon dressing (serves 4-6)

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed several times and drained*
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 14-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

*Use a very fine-mesh sieve or line a standard sieve with cheesecloth or a coffee filter to keep quinoa from going down the drain.

Fill a heavy bottomed pot 3/4 full with water, add a tablespoon of salt and heat until boiling. Add quinoa and cook until almost tender, 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk lemon zest, juice, butter, olive oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Drain quinoa and return to pot. Reduce heat to low and cook quinoa, covered, until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Fluff quinoa with a fork and toss with dressing. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Serve hot or room temperature.

You can adjust this recipe to your preferences, for example by adding diced bell peppers, cooked edamame, diced avocado, chopped onion, etc.

Nutrition analysis per each of six servings: calories, 261.5; total fat, 9g; cholesterol, 0mg; sodium, 6.6mg; potassium, 306.4mg; carbohydrate, 37.7g; dietary fiber, 7.1g; sugars, 4.4g; protein, 9g.


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.

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