Recipe: Protein-Rich Black Quinoa Salad

This salad is made extra special with juicy pomegranate seeds and a dressing whisked with sweet pomegranate molasses. The best part is it can be made up to a few days ahead. Just let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes prior to serving to your guests.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

  • 3/4 cup quinoa (preferably black)
  • 1 cup fresh pomegranate arils/seeds*
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed**
  • 1/2 cup diced, seeded English cucumber
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses***
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under cool running water. Place in a medium saucepan with 1-1/2 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer gently until grains are tender, most of the water has been absorbed, and the quinoa has sent out little white curlicue tendrils, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain any remaining water and set in a wide, shallow bowl to cool completely.

Stir in the pomegranate seeds, black beans, cucumber, and avocado. In a medium bowl, whisk the molasses, vinegar, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Scrape over the salad and stir well to coat evenly.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving. May be made two or three days ahead. (For best results, add the avocado just before serving.)

* There are many ways to seed a pomegranate. We recommend this method: Hold a paring knife at a 45 degree angle and run it, shallowly, in a circular motion around the top (flower) end of the fruit. Pop off the top. Flip the fruit and score a circle around the stem end; remove that as well. Then score top to bottom (again, shallowly) along the bulging ridges. Finally, use your hands to separate the pomegranate into sections, peel off the remaining papery white skin, and pop out the arils with your fingers.

** Bon Appétit chefs use dried beans cooked in our kitchens. When using canned beans, rinse well to reduce sodium.

*** Pomegranate molasses is a form of highly reduced pomegranate juice with a syrupy viscosity and sweet-tart flavor. Find it in bottles in international or Middle Eastern markets.