ZAP Bites: A Quick and Easy Summer Recipe

Summer is officially here, and for Chicagoans, that means an endless amount of rooftop parties, barbeques, etc. I’ve always followed the rule that you should never show up to a party empty-handed (thanks, mom!), so I’m always in search of the perfect party pleasing dish. While I’d like to pretend, I’m certainly not a master chef either, so simplicity is key.

And nowadays, it seems like dietary restrictions are getting more and more plentiful. Seems like everyone is either gluten free, dairy free, etc. As a result, I’ve been testing out vegan recipes more and more. Much to my surprise, I’ve found a lot of great options that are delicious, healthy and easy to whip up in the kitchen. I was thrilled when I came across this summer quinoa recipe. It’s full of fresh flavor for summer, super easy and packs a protein punch. For anyone planning to attend a summer party, this is a great make-ahead salad too – you can prep it the night before and let it sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Cumin Lime Black Bean Quinoa Salad Makes 6.5 cups (or serves 4)

*recipe and images courtesy of Oh She Glows, Angela Liddon

For the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups cilantro, finely chopped
  • 3 small/medium carrots, julienned (about 1.5 cups) OR 1 large chopped and roasted sweet potato
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • fine grain sea salt & black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1. To prepare the quinoa: Rinse quinoa. Add into pot along with 1.5 cups water or veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium, and then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 15-17 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and steam with the lid on for 5 additional minutes. Fluff with fork and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, toss the quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, cilantro, carrots (or roasted sweet potato), and green onions.

3. Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl. Pour onto salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I prefer to enjoy this salad chilled, so I usually throw it into the fridge for at least an hour.

- Morgan Bellock, Account Director