Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

This summer, we cooked with the amazing campers of Camp Seneca Lake for six weeks teaching them the in’s and out’s of healthy, delicious meals. Each week we explored a different theme. This recipe was loved by campers of all ages, counselors, and staff alike. As I promised, this favorite recipe is being posted by the end of camp (which is today!).
So what is this recipe that is so loved by all? Drum roll please……

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sautéed Onion and Black Beans
Yield: 8 cups













Quinoa Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup vegetable stock

Sweet Potato Ingredients:
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and large diced
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Bean Ingredients:
2 cups cooked black beans
1 1/2 cups red onion, small diced (Approximately 1-2 onions)
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chile powder (can make spicier if wanted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ cup minced parsley

There are a few important details to take note of when preparing this recipe. Let’s refer to these details as “lessons.” Not only will you finish this recipe with a delicious, home cooked meal- I guarantee some culinary tricks of the trade as well! This salad is simple enough for a novice cook and is the perfect recipe to familiarize yourself with the kitchen….so let’s get started.

To stay organized, I suggest getting your mise en place together (lesson # 1). That is, take out all the ingredients and equipment that you will need for this recipe so you don’t need to scramble frantically or realize you are missing an ingredient at the last minute (been there before). This step includes measuring the amount of the different ingredients you will need in bowls or ramekins and truly clearing your work space of any excess (a little kitchen therapy for you) after that is done.

Before following any recipe, I suggest reading the entire ingredient list and instructions because you might come by something like this: for the quinoa and beans it is preferred that you soak your grain and bean overnight in water (lesson #2). I won’t get too technical and go into detail about why that is (for the time being) but it is an important step that should not be ignored!

Let’s get started with all the different components and then put it together.

Black beans- Soak beans in a bowl covered by at least 3 inches of water. Let them soak overnight. (lesson #3 – beans increase in size by 2-3 when soaked, so only soak half the required amount of cooked beans in any given recipe). Drain and rinse beans well. Put beans in a clean pot of water and cover by approximately 2-3’ (lesson #4- do not use the soaking liquid to cook the beans). Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for about an hour. Test the bean by biting into it (lesson #5 – taste your food!). When they are done, remove from the stove and drain. The length of time cooking will depend on how old the beans are and how much liquid they have absorbed while soaking overnight. Black beans may take between 1-2 hours (on the longer end of the bean cooking spectrum). Lesson #5- you can cut this time tremendously by using a pressure cooker (but that’s for another time). If you feel skilled enough in the kitchen, go for it!

Sweet Potato- Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel and medium dice sweet potato. Place on sheet tray. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven 45 minutes or until golden brown. (Lesson #6- different ovens vary in even cooking and circulation of heat so be sure to check the sweet potato at the mid-way point to see if the sheet tray needs to be rotated)

Quinoa- Fill the water about 1’ above the grain and soak in the fridge overnight. Drain and rinse the quinoa. Put in pot and put stove on medium heat to get rid of any excess liquid, just for 30 seconds-1 minute (= dry roasting). Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil (homemade, of course). Reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed.

While all the other components are working their magic, small dice the red onion. When the black beans have been drained and measured, heat sauté pan and add red onion, sweat for 5 minutes. Add black beans and spices and cook through for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Combine quinoa, sweet potato and bean mixture. Fold in minced parsley. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

This recipe seems like a lot of work, but with the proper kitchen organization it is easy peasy! And so delicious! I recommend serving with guacamole, salsa and tortillas (homemade, as always). Check out the photos from Week 1 “Mexican Week” to get some inspiration for your Mexican fiesta! Perhaps it can be a joint family effort to serve this scrumptious dinner! I had a lot of little hands to help me (cc: camp Seneca lake photos!).

Lastly, enjoy!
You know where to reach me for any questions or if you want to continue this culinary adventure together!



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