Quinoa Bean Salad

Quinoa has been making rounds in the food world for a few years now and is emerging as a very promising ingredient. This is my first interaction with Quinoa and i am all excited to explore this ingredient. So, for my first trial, i have prepared a salad which is simple to put together and comes with a promise of good health !

In this series, i would try and bring a diabetes friendly recipe every Thursday to the table and explore various ingredients which can help us control and/or prevent diabetes. To know more about Diabetes, read Sonal’s compilation here.

Disclaimer – This is a completely new territory for me to explore as i have no personal experience with it. I will improve my knowledge about the disease, its causes, effects and prevention/control in the days to come. My recipes are based on the knowledge i am gaining from various internet sources and they aim at contributing towards a controlled diet. I am not a professional nutritionist or a medical doctor. Please consult your doctor for your personal dietary specifications as needed. Thanks!

Now, lets start exploring Quinoa ! Quinoa (pronounced as KEEN-WAH) is an edible “superfood” seed which is loaded with protein, fiber, minerals and is gluten free! Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire back in the day. They referred to it as the “mother of all grains” and believed it to be sacred. It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only became trendy and reached “superfood status” a few years ago.


Pic courtesy – google ! Not mine.

Here is the nutrient breakdown for 1 cup of cooked quinoa, or 185 grams :

  • Protein: 8 grams.
  • Fiber: 5 grams.
  • Manganese: 58% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
  • Folate: 19% of the RDA.
  • Copper: 18% of the RDA.
  • Iron: 15% of the RDA.
  • Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
  • Over 10% of the RDA for Vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
  • Small amounts of Calcium, B3 (Niacin) and Vitamin E.

This is coming with a total of 222 calories, with 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. It also contains a small amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. This is oppose to 137 grams of carbs found in whole wheat  (which by the way, is still much better than other sort of staple diet grains). Is’nt this brilliant !!

Why is Quinoa Diabetes friendly?

Quinoa has a low GI (Glycemic Idex). GI is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels. It is known that eating foods that are high on the glycemic index can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity and this can be a potential cause for diabetes. Quinoa has a glycemic index of 53, which is considered low.

Considerations :

  • Quinoa is still not so low in Carbohydrates, so it is to be eaten in moderation
  • Serving Size – One-third cup of cooked quinoa is equivalent to one starch exchange. A single starch exchange has approximately 80 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrate, up to 3 grams of protein and up to 1 gram of fat. So, choose the portion as per your daily intake requirement.

Quinoa is simple to prepare : 1part Quinoa seeds to be cooked in 2 parts water for 10-12 minutes until the seeds are germinated, fluffy and translucent. It has a slight nutty taste to it but it is still neutral and can very easily be incorporated in diet, both sweet and savory. So, lets jump to the recipe now and try out this High protein, low GI salad !

Quinoa Bean Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Print
quinoa Bean Salad copyRecipe

  • 1/2 cup dry Quinoa seeds
  • 1 cup water for boiling Quinoa
  • 1 cup boiled red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet bell peppers
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 50 gms feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • handful chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • Juice of Half lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a saucepan, add the Quinoa seeds. Bring to heat and slightly roast the seeds till slightly brown. Quinoa will also becomes nuttier in taste.
  2. Now add water to it and a little salt. Bring to boil and then cover the pan with a lid. Cook on simmer for 5-6 minutes till the white germs of the Quinoa appear and they become translucent. Fluff with a fork. The Quinoa is cooked and ready to prepare the salad. You can either make a hot salad using the freshly made Quinoa or can let it cool down if you like your salads cold, the way i prefer
  3. Now, in a bowl, take Quinoa and to it add in the spices (salt, pepper) extra virgin Olive Oil and lemon juice. Combine well. Adding the spices and the dressing right in the base ingredient helps in coating the salad well and keeping the flavour same throughout.
  4. Now, add in all the other fixants : sweet bell peppers, red kidney beans, feta, coriander leaves and carrots and toss it well.
  5. For serving, take a bowl and divide this salad into 2 generous portions, top it with sunflower seeds and enjoy !

This is a great salad for creating a satisfying and filling meal. I served these with multigrain toasted home made bread and it required nothing else. If you think that the salad is a bit on the drier side, try it with my Tzatziki sauce and it would make a great combination. If you want, you can also enjoy this salad with a lightly seasoned tomato soup and make 3-4 servings out of the above recipe!

Please Note – If any of my readers have things to add to my knowledge or give me insights about the ingredients, cooking techniques etc, i would love to hear from you all. Also, if you think i went somewhere wrong with my suggestions, please feel free to discuss with me. I would love to know about your personal experiences as that would enrich my research and it would help me create better recipes

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  1. This is excellent Prachi! Loved the intro and description and ofcourse the recipes.
    Loads of love!

    • Thank u so very sonal for taking this initiative and giving me an opportunity to join in with us. I hope to continue with bringing some more entries in the days to come. It is definitely a challenging subject and it would be interesting to explore this domain more. Thanks!

  2. Lovely salad, wonderful ingredients! I’m very happy to have found your blog on FF! 🙂

  3. This salad looks delicious Prachi! Love the flavors!

  4. Wonderful head notes – with lots of useful information – thank you! Just wondering if you have forgotten to finish off the instructions in the recipe box – for instance, do you use the quinoa hot or cold and do you just mix all the rest of the ingredients together or do you do it in stages? Thanks for sharing this with us at Fiesta Friday!

    • Hi Selma. Thanks for writing in. I actually used the quinoa both hot and cold (had it for 2 meals , one time fresh and hot and then the next day with the cold refrigerated quinoa) and it worked well both the times. I think it really depends on personal preference. Also, i just mixed all the ingredients together in one go… but i guess i can write it more elaborately ! Thanks for your inputs 🙂

    • Btw, i think i had infact missed on the steps (wrote it in a wordfile and forgot to transfer :P). Thank u so much Selma for letting me know <3

  5. What a lovely salad your shared with us at FF! Thanks a lot!

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  8. Such a delight.:)….Very well written

  9. Hi! In the ingredients it indicates “juice of half a lime” however in the method, #3, it shows lemon juice. I’m not sure which one is right but I used lemon and it’s excellent. Next time I’ll use the lime. Also, I added crumpled goat cheese herb feta before serving and it’s awesome! Thanks!

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