Three Bean Quinoa Salad

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Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-SaladLast August, I briefly discussed the devastating breakup of my college girl group. Just to recap, we’d all been happily living within spitting distance of each other in NYC for two years, and then everything fell apart when Annabel moved to Boston, and Meg Starr decided to leave us for Stanford. UGH.

Needless to say, the separation has been very unpleasant. Starr is regularly late to respond to group text queries because of the time difference, and Annabel’s FOMOs have really gotten out of control. Birthdays have been missed, Google hangouts have replaced real hangouts, and don’t even get me started on the lack of Sex and The City Nights this year.

It’s been a rough 9 months.

Luckily, Starr got an internship in NYC this summer, meaning that four of us are now back inside a comfortable ten-block bubble. Annabel is currently the only one disrupting the sister-friend dynamic by remaining in Boston, which is hilariously ironic since she suffers from the greatest exclusion anxiety of anyone in the group. I can’t technically be mad at Annabel for her inconvenient location, so I continue to blame her boyfriend for going to business school in a different city when there are plenty of fabulous SUNYs in the NYC area. (Harvard is overrated. Thanks for ruining our lives, Matt Perelman.)

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-2However, Annabel did make the trip down this past weekend for a little group reunionizing at Lara’s house on Long Island, and it was glorious. Not to get gross and sappy on you, but being together is always a wonderful reminder of how lucky I am to have such amazing friends. Talk about #blessed. 

Like most girlfriends, we have tons in common (namely being the smartest, funniest, prettiest girls we know), but what makes us such a good group is that each of us contributes a different type of expertise…

Having trouble getting dressed? Annabel is our resident fashion consultant extraordinaire.

Need business advice/talking points for cocktail parties with scary finance people? Starr’s got our backs with that MBA knowledge.

Think you’re dying? Lara can tell you definitively. She’s a nurse.

To be honest, I’m not really sure precisely what Daphne does, but it’s something with “products” and computers, so she’s our go-to for anything tech related.

I keep the group savvy on the food front, so we’ve pretty much got all our bases covered in terms of being healthy, well-dressed titans of business and technology with epic domestic skills. Booyah.

Ain’t nobody fresher than my muthaf*ckin clique.

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-3That said, in order for the group to operate at the highest level, we all have to be on our game as contributors, and apparently I’ve been falling down on the job lately as domestic guide. I found out this weekend that my girls have not been on board with my most recent blog creations, as they do not cater to their day-to-day needs. After noting their appreciation for my creativity (we’re all about supporting each other), they made it very clear that they “cannot live on Jello shots and stuffed sliders,” before bombarding me with a laundry list of demands for this week’s posts. 

As you can imagine, I was rather stressed yesterday morning when I set out to create a recipe that satisfied the group’s requests. It had to be a simple, healthy, “non-potato” side dish that could also double as a weeknight meal. There couldn’t be too many ingredients or any sort of cheese involved (Annabel has a weird hatred of cheese that constantly makes me question our friendship), and it would be great if there were multiple ways to adapt it. Yes, ma’ams.

I’m really hoping this Three Bean Quinoa Salad fits the bill…

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-4A combination of the bean salad and the quinoa pilaf that are pretty much always found in Lara’s parents’ fridge, this salad is a delightful and satisfying taste treat that (I’m praying) everyone will love. Richly textured and fresh with a hint of garlic and a lemony kick, it’s a zesty summer flavor party that only requires a handful of ingredients and about 20 minutes of prep time.

As far as health benefits go, this vegan salad is a nutritional powerhouse, which is great news since it happens to be scarily addictive. The trio of edamame, chickpeas and black beans pack fiber, protein, and antioxidants out the ying-yang, and you all know quinoa has magical powers. Fact.

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-5Three Bean Quinoa Salad makes a fabulous light meal on its own, but it’s also an easily adaptable and crowd-pleasing side dish. Try it with some garlic shrimp, grilled halibut, chicken paillard, or sausage, or add a little fresh feta or goat cheese into the mix. Feel free to swap quinoa for whatever whole grains you have on hand, and experiment with different bean combos if you’re feeling creative (pinto, kidney, and cannellini beans are all great options).

This recipe is a no-brainer for summer barbecues, and it travels particularly well, making it a perfect picnic and/or sassy desk lunch option. Versatility! Oh, and leftovers are awesome because this happens to be one of those dishes that actually tastes better the next day.

Fingers crossed this pleases my girls (and all of you, duh). I’ll just be here, anxiously awaiting feedback on the group text…

Three Bean Quinoa Salad: (Serves 4-6 as a side dish)

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-6Ingredients:
½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
¾ cup water
½ medium red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt (if you only have table salt, you will need significantly less, so be careful!)
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup shelled edamame (If using frozen edamame, thaw according to the package directions.)
¼ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped

Preparing your Three Bean Quinoa Salad:

-Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover the saucepan with a lid, and cook for 14 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Let the quinoa rest, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Set aside.

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-Step-1-Meanwhile, combine the red onion, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes or until the onions have softened slightly.

-Drain and rinse your beans. When it comes to the chickpeas, I like to remove the skins because I’m obsessive like that. To do this, place the drained chickpeas between two sheets of paper towel and rub lightly. This will loosen the skins, which you can then pick off and discard. (Yes, this is optional, but it’s not that hard, so you should probably just do it.)

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-Step-3-Add the chickpeas, black beans, edamame, cooked quinoa, parsley and scallions to the bowl with the dressing.

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-Step-4-Toss to combine. Taste and season with a little more salt if necessary.

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-Step-6-Cover and refrigerate your salad for at least half an hour to let the flavors mingle. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-7Beans, beans, the magical fruit…

Vegan-Three-Bean-Quinoa-Salad-8 (You know you’ve been thinking it.)

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