Southwestern-style quinoa salad for a lunchtime protein punch on Meatless Monday

Quinoa is one of the best sources of protein for a non-meat-eater. It's a complete protein, and when you mix in black beans and veggies with a little lime juice and toasted cumin, you've got a salad mix that tastes quite a bit like a Chipotle burrito bowl and is definitely more nutritious. This recipe was tweaked to our tastes from Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook.

See also: - White beans and kale with parsnips on Meatless Monday - Vegan slow-cooker enchiladas for an easy dinner on Meatless Monday - Calabasita-style spaghetti squash for a south-of-the-border entree on Meatless Monday

You will need:

1 cup quinoa 2 cups water 1 can black beans 1/3 bunch fresh cilantro 3 ears fresh corn 1 red bell pepper 1 jalapeno 2 limes 3 green onions 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1. Measure out the cup of quinoa into a fine strainer and rinse thoroughly with water. (Quinoa has a bitter flavor on its husk that can permeate the dish if you don't rinse it.) Place the quinoa in a medium-sized saucepan with the 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. When the water is bubbling, lower the heat to a low simmer and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the quinoa is fluffy and has absorbed the water, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients; when it's finished cooking, turn it off and let it cool until the last step. 2. Rinse the bell pepper thoroughly and pat dry. Roast the pepper over an open flame until its skin is black. (You can use jarred roasted red pepper or roast it in the oven if you don't have a gas stove.) Perfect. Set aside (f you can it in a plastic bag and tie it shut, the charred skin will slide right off later when you prep it). 3. Heat a small, shallow pan over medium heat and add the tablespoon of cumin seeds. Toast, stirring constantly, until seeds are fragrant, browning and beginning to pop. Excellent. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cumin seeds. When you've turned the seeds into a fine powder, set aside. (Yes, you can substitute with already-ground cumin, but trust us -- this step is well worth the results you'll reap in flavor.) 4. Rinse and drain the beans. 5. Zest one of the limes. Squeeze the juice from both of the limes in a small dish and set aside. 6. Rinse the cilantro. Cut the stems off where the leaves begin; it's okay to leave a few stems in the bunch. Chop the cilantro. 7. Shuck the corn, leaving the ends on so you have a built-in handle to char the corn. (Yes, you can use frozen corn -- but again, this is well worth the effort.) Char the corn over the stove if you have a gas grill; you can also grill it on a gas or charcoal grill or roast it in the oven. Cut the corn off the cobs. 8. Place the black beans in a large bowl. Add the corn and cilantro. Peel the blackened skin off the roasted pepper, seed it and chop it up. Add it to the bowl. Seed and finely chop the jalapeno and add it to the bowl. Slice the green onions and add them, too. Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl. Throw in the lime zest, lime juice and cumin. Fold everything together until the salad is thoroughly mixed. Place in the refrigerator and chill at least an hour (preferably longer) before serving. The longer you chill this salad, the more time the flavors have to marry. We recommend making a big batch at the beginning of the week for lunches and easy dinners; this recipe makes enough for six to eight servings.

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen