Lemony Quinoa Cannellini Bean Salad

Creamy, buttery beans, crunchy cucumbers, sweet red peppers, tangy lemon, and protein-packed quinoa, this healthy and delicious Lemony Quinoa Cannellini Bean Salad has it all!  Bring it to your to your next potluck, picnic, backyard BBQ, at-home gathering, and enjoy it as either a main or side dish!

And for another healthy and superbly flavorful quinoa salad, you don’t want to miss our Thai Quinoa Salad!

quinoa salad cannellini bean lemon lemony red bell peppers cucumbers healthy vinaigrette

Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa is a fascinating food and it has long been lauded for its unique nutritional benefits.  For example, you may have heard that it’s a complete protein.  What that means is that it contains all 9 essential amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own but has to get from food.  And while no single food has all of the nutrients essential to life, quinoa comes closer than any other food in both the plant and animal kingdom.  Pretty amazing, isn’t it?  Quinoa is also high in protein, fiber and a whole host of minerals. For all of these reasons quinoa is being considered by NASA for long-duration human occupied space flights.

Did you know that quinoa, although it’s prepared like a grain, isn’t a grain at all?  It’s actually a seed, a relative of spinach, chard and beets.  You can even eat the leaves of the quinoa plant.  And there are nearly 120 different varieties of quinoa!  The ones that are most common commercially are white, red and black, each with different flavor and texture characteristics.

Another interesting characteristic of quinoa is that it has a remarkably short germination period.  Unlike wheat that takes 12 hours or more to sprout, when placed in water quinoa will sprout in only 2-4 hours.  So sprouted quinoa is another great, nutritional option for salads.

quinoa salad cannellini bean lemon lemony red bell peppers cucumbers healthy vinaigrette

All around, quinoa is a wonderfully healthy and versatile food option.  Swap it out in any salad that calls for grains like our Asian Wheat Berry Salad , Greek Einkorn Salad, Mexican Wheat Berry Salad, Chinese Chicken Fried Quinoa or enjoy a healthier version of your favorite cornbread with our Quinoa Cornbreadsneak it into this nutrient-dense Honey Olive Quinoa Cake, enjoy it for breakfast in this Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Cerealor make what may be the richest, most decadent and fudgy chocolate cake you’ve ever had, this Chocolate Almond Quinoa Cake!

For our featured quinoa salad, we’re incorporating cannellini beans which are famous for their wonderfully creamy texture, then contrasting that with fresh crunchy cucumbers, adding some sweet red bell peppers and tomatoes, some fresh parsley and dill, and then tying it all together with a bright and flavorful, lemony vinaigrette.  The contrast in textures and the delightful mixture of flavors make this nutrient-packed quinoa bean salad a winner!

quinoa salad cannellini bean lemon lemony red bell peppers cucumbers healthy vinaigrette

Lemony Quinoa Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe

Let’s get started!

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

combining ingredients in a bowl

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients until emulsified.

preparing the vinaigrette

Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir to combine.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

pouring the vinaigrette over the salad

Serve this quinoa salad as a main dish with some crusty bread or serve it as a side dish with your chicken, pork, steak, or fish.

Enjoy!

quinoa salad cannellini bean lemon lemony red bell peppers cucumbers healthy vinaigrette

For more healthy grain salads be sure to try our:

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet July 13, 2016

 

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