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Corn & Black Bean Quinoa Salad

  • 1 h 30 m
  • 1 h 30 m
Anna Thomas
“Make this spicy poblano, corn, black bean and quinoa salad recipe to serve with whatever you're grilling, or have a larger portion as a main dish. To use canned beans, skip Step 1 and add about 2½ cups beans in Step 7. ”


    • 12 cups water, divided
    • 1 cup dried black beans
    • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1½ teaspoons salt, divided
    • 4 medium poblano peppers
    • ⅔ cup red quinoa
    • 3 large ears fresh corn, husked
    • 6½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 1 large red onion, halved and sliced
    • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, toasted and ground (see Tip)
    • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
    • ¼ cup fresh lime juice, plus 1 whole lime, cut into 12 wedges
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    • ½ cup cilantro leaves
    • 1 avocado, thinly sliced


  • 1 Combine 8 cups water, beans and garlic in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the beans until tender, 1 to 1¼ hours. Add ½ teaspoon salt and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes so the salt can flavor the beans. Drain and discard garlic; let cool.
  • 2 Meanwhile, preheat broiler to high.
  • 3 Place peppers on a baking sheet and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat source, turning often, until blistered and charred, 8 to 15 minutes total. Transfer to a paper bag and seal or place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel the peppers and discard the stems, ribs and seeds. Tear the peppers into fat strips and cut the strips in 1-inch lengths.
  • 4 Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and ¼ teaspoon salt; boil until tender but still crunchy, 10 to 14 minutes. Drain well and spread on a plate to cool.
  • 5 Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to a boil. Add corn and cook for 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slice the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife.
  • 6 Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until limp and speckled with charred spots, 4 to 8 minutes. Stir in cumin.
  • 7 Combine the beans, the peppers, the corn, the onion and cheese in a large bowl. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and toss. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons oil and lime juice and toss again. Gently stir in the quinoa.
  • 8 Just before serving, stir in the tomatoes and cilantro. Serve the salad with avocado and lime wedges.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 7, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Finish with Step 8 just before serving.
  • Tip: Toasting brings out the flavor in spices like the cumin. Toast seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Grind with a spice mill or mortar and pestle.
  • Give grains a cooldown: To cool grains down quickly, spread them out on a foil-lined baking sheet. The surface area helps speed cooling, while the foil prevents any residual flavors on the pan from seeping in.
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