[recipe!] Quinoa, black bean, and corn salad


Meat eaters and vegetarians (or veg hopefuls), especially teen vegetarians,  may not always see eye to eye on everything. But if there’s one thing we can all relate on, it’s the ongoing struggle to eat food that tastes great, is good for us, and is easy (enough) to make. Enter: The “Toss it and Take it” meal.


The criteria of a “Toss it and Take it Meal”: 1. Relatively few ingredients needed 2. Uses few kitchen tools, gadgets, and/or appliances 3. Requires a minimal amount of actual “cooking.” And, because we’re The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian, it’s a given that the dish will taste good and loaded with nutrients that will help you thrive. We’ll write it up as a formal “recipe,” but trust us—there’s loads of room for improvisation here.


So, here is our first Toss it and Take it: Quinoa, black bean, and corn salad. The batch in our fridge is going to make a bunch of awesome lunches this week. Hope this salad makes your week a little easier, brighter, and more flavorful!


Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn Salad

Makes 6 servings

1 16-ounce bag frozen corn

2 tablespoons olive oil + ¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup of dry quinoa, rinsed well (we used red quinoa)

2 cups water

½ teaspoon salt

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (if you don’t like cilantro, omit or use parsley)

3 tablespoons lime juice

½ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

Optional: 1 avocado, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet or in a cast-iron pan, distribute frozen corn and top with 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook for around 15 minutes, then add garlic and tomatoes. Toss and cook for another 15-30 minutes, or until corn has begun to brown lightly.


In the meantime, place quinoa, water, and salt in a pot over medium-high heat. Bring liquid to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.


In a large bowl with a lid, add ¼ cup olive oil, lime juice, and smoked paprika. Cover with lid and shake until liquid ingredients are combined (you can use a whisk instead, if that feels easier). Add black beans and cilantro. When quinoa and corn/tomato mixture are done, pour those into the bowl. Add lid and shake until evenly combined (you can also use a spoon). Refrigerate until ready to eat, either in the large bowl or in individual bowls so you can “toss it and take it” to work or school with you. If desired, add chopped avocado when you’re ready to eat it (it can turn brown and mushy if you add it too soon).


Try it and let us know what you think!