Quinoa-Bulghur, Black Bean Salad with Tomatoes, Avocado & Spinach

As I was typing the headline for this post, I realized, “Damn, I’ve been eating a lot of black beans and tomatoes….” Sorry for the redundancy, but I’ve finally eaten my weight in summer tomatoes. (YAY!) I will surely miss them and think of them fondly when it’s December and I’m eating my fair share of roasted root vegetables and trying to not eat those gross, mealy, tasteless out-of-season tomatoes offered at my local grocery store.

ANYway…

This salad made a perfect meal and will pack up nicely when I take it to work for my lunches this week. It’s pretty adaptable. If you have limes and cilantro on hand, then by all means add some juice, zest and herbs. Yellow or red peppers or even jalapenos would add a nice crunch too. I used Pedon brand quick cooking (10 min) quinoa/bulghur, but if you have one or the other, that works just fine too.

  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 package of quinoa & bulghur mix, cooked, drained
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 TB white balsamic vinegar

Cook the grains according to package directions. Set aside to cool a bit. Mix the black beans, tomato, avocado, oil and vinegar and add some salt and pepper. Let that sit for a few minutes so the salt brings out the water from the tomatoes. Add the quinoa to the vegetables and toss. I also added crushed red pepper flakes and a dash of chili powder in lieu of jalapenos. Enjoy!

Flax Seed Crackers

I don’t have any gluten intolerances or issues, but I do enjoy some gluten-free foods and from time to time it’s nice to switch it up a bit. Most recently it’s been boxes of Mary’s Gone Crackers gluten-free crackers (herb or plain, thank you). I think I’m addicted to them and I wonder if there is crack in them. (I’m kidding!) I figured this was something I could possibly make so I looked up recipes online and found one and tweaked it a bit. This recipe has endless possibilities too. Rather than just use whole flax seeds, next time I will have to grind half of them up. I think I would also use more brown rice and perhaps some barley or sesame seeds too. You could probably use any grain or maybe even nuts too. Maybe also add a little Bragg’s Amino Acid, or possibly go the sweet route and add cinnamon and a wee bit of sugar and omit the olive oil. Anyway, as I said, the following recipe is pretty adaptable to one’s palate.

  • 1/2 c. flax seeds
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/2 c. quinoa (or 1/4 c. quinoa and 1/4 c. brown rice as I did)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil (or canola, or you can omit oil)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, thyme
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Soak the flax seeds in the water for about 15 minutes. If you want more savory crackers, omit the salt and add a dash or two of Bragg’s or gluten free tamari sauce).

Put the quinoa and brown rice in a food processor and grind up until it’s about flour consistency. (Note: Here is where a coffee/spice grinder might be better as I found my Kitchen Aid didn’t do such a good job…which I found surprising).

In a small bowl, add the ground quinoa/brown rice to the flax seeds and then add salt, evoo, and whatever dried herbs you wish. Stir until combined.

Using a small spatula, flatten on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Now, this will take a little time and effort to spread the dough around. I found it to be easier if I used my spatula and spread from the center of the dough, toward the edges. I also realized after baking that my crackers could be a tad bit thinner.

Bake at 375 for about 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them too. Then flip over and bake for maybe another 5 minutes. Don’t let them get too brown, or else they’ll taste burnt (yuck).

Cool and break into pieces. Store in airtight container.