I’m a huge advocate of “refrigerator salads.” Or salads that last well in the refrigerator so you can prepare them mid-week and still have something healthy to eat throughout the week. Its Smoky Quinoa, and Black Bean Salad is a perfect illustration. It’s full of color, flavor, texture, and nutrients so that it won’t get boring quickly. It can be served as an appetizer, consumed as a snack, and in larger servings as a light meal, or put in wraps with some lettuce for quick and easy lunch. The salad you keep in your fridge will give you plenty of choices!


P.S. I purchased my quinoa from Aldi for just $3.49 for a bag of one pound (organic!). If you do not have an Aldi close to you, look for shops that stock the quinoa in bulk containers and are typically cheaper than packaged. Additionally, my yellow and red bell peppers were for sale, and you can ultimately use green bell peppers if you cannot low at reasonable prices.


1 cup uncooked quinoa ($1.40)

1 cup olive oil ($0.52)

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar ($0.10)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin ($0.02)

1/8 TSP of garlic powder ($0.02)

1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)

Cracked black pepper that is fresh ($0.05)

1 15oz. Can black beans ($0.59)

Two bell peppers (preferably yellow, red, or orange) ($1.98)

2. Green onions ($0.25)


Rinse the quinoa thoroughly using an e-sieve mesh to stop the tiny grains from washing away. Let the excess water evaporate, and then place the quinoa rinsed in a sauce pot.

Add 1.75 cups of water to the sauce pot along with the quinoa. Put a lid over the top and bring it to a boil on high temperatures. When it is at a boiling point, reduce the heat to low and allow it to cook for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, please turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes without lifting the lid. Then, you can fluff it with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool (I put mine in my refrigerator to speed up cooling).

While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, cumin, smoked paprika, gar,lic powder, salt, and freshly cracked pepper in a bowl. Put the dressing aside.

Wash and strain the black beans. Cut the bell peppers into pieces, and cut the green onions.

Mix the bell peppers, beans, green onions, beans, and cooled quinoa in one large bowl. Add the dressing on top and stir until everything is evenly incorporated and coated with the sauce. Taste and adjust salt as necessary. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Be sure to mix the salad thoroughly before serving.

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