Weekend recipe: Italian bean salad with quinoa

Nikki ParkinsonFood and Wine, Life 21 Comments

Summer is still very much upon us.

Thinking a lot of my southern style sisters who are doing it tough right now in trying heatwave conditions.

When the weather is hotter than hot, I mainly resort to salad and some kind of protein cooked on the barbecue as a dinner staple.

Now, I’ve made some salads in my time but I still find that I forget what I used to make AND I just continue to make the same old thing every second day.

One person that very much inspires me in the salad department is my sister-in-law Sarah.

She inspires me so much that whenever we’re having a family gathering, I demand gently suggest she bring one of her salads. They are never the same and they are always amazing.

Sarah is a vegan (but doesn’t get too offended when her salads are served up alongside sausages … my brother is very much NOT a vegan so it’s something she’s used to in their marriage). She is also a full-time teacher of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.

The program is such a good one – kids are taught how to grow, harvest, prepare and share seasonal food at school.

The Italian bean salad with quinoa recipe I’m sharing below is one that Sarah uses in her program and one that she kindly added to the table on Sunday for our Australia Day party.

It includes an Italian agrodolce dressing. I had to look this up but I could tell by the flavours that it was a beautiful mix of sweet and sour from the vinegar and sugar. A bit like Thai salad dressings aim for that balance.

With the beans and the quinoa (you could use cous cous instead), you have a very hearty side and a possible main dish if you are vegetarian or vegan.

Italian bean salad with quinoa

Italian bean salad with quinoa
Recipe Type: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Nikki Parkinson | Styling You
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-12
This is a healthy salad featuring quinoa that would work as a main or a side dish.
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 1 small Spanish onion
  • 3 cups soaked, cooked cannellini beans
  • 2 handfuls green beans
  • 1 ½ cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup oregano
  1. In a small saucepan whisk together vinegar and sugar until sugar
  2. dissolves. Turn off heat. Peel onion and chop into quarters; finely slice. Add onion and currants to vinegar mixture; set aside.
  3. Half fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Remove top and bottom of green beans; blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and put in bowl of cold water for a further 2 minutes; drain well.
  4. Slice green beans in half add to bowl with roughly chopped parsley and oregano. Add cannellini beans and vinegar mixture. Mix well to combine.

Do you like to experiment and try different salads? Got a fave you’d like to share?

Comments 21

  1. I have a tub of red quinoa in the fridge that has been looking at me and asking “what are you planning on doing with me?” and now I know, thank you Sarah

  2. Tried this recipe today for a BBQ. Delish! I’m a bit quinoa-d out so I substituted Israeli pearl couscous which was yum (trick: stir some olive oil through the dry couscous before adding to the pot; it keeps the grains from becoming gluggy). It needed a bit of salt for my taste so I salted the couscous water. I’ll definitely make this one again.

  3. Yum! Will try this for sure. Thanks for sharing.
    I made this Cous cous and chick pea salad on Saturday for an Australia Day BBQ on Sunday. The flavours get better in the fridge overnight.
    In a large bowl throw in the following:
    – two cups of cous cous (cooked in veg or chicken stock)
    – One tin of chick peas drained and washed well.
    – Dice up 2 x large tomato, 1 x Lebanese cucumber, 4 x spring onions, handful mint and parsley
    – lug over some olive oil and a juiced lemon, season with salt and pepper, and give it all a good mix.
    SO EASY!

  4. I’m so glad someone else admits to having Salad Amensia! I get it all the time! This salad sounds so incredibly delicious. Thanks for sharing Sarah’s secret with us. I demand – I mean, gently suggest – she shares more recipes with us in the future…please!

  5. That sounds like a great recipe Nikki I have been road testing some salad recipes on my quest for trying to get my inflammation down in my leg and right arm and have made quinoa and roasted pumpkin with cranberries and that was lovely and I bought a new rice mix last week which I only cooked last night to try it is called Wheat free Rice plus it is made by Plus nutrition in Victoria I got it from Aldi it has barley max ,pearled barley ,white quinoa,brown rice,basmati rice,black rice and black sesame seeds I am no vegetarian but do enjoy a veggie meal and I hope to make up a salad for lunch today,I will let you know how it goes,though although it is wheat free it says it has gluten so no good for you I’m afraid.I do enjoy salads and it has been so hot and will continue for another week I feel sorry for all the children having to wear shoes and socks to school.

  6. Great recipe, thanks Nikki and Sarah. I started using quinoa about 12 months ago – and love it. My go to is to mix spinach leaves, chopped mint and spring onions in a large serving dish (chopped fresh chilli too if you like heat). Then mix in the just cooked quinoa (the heat wilts the spinach and draws out the mint). I then toss through as many of the following as I have , or feel like: roasted capsicum strips, sultanas, soaked in hot water first to plump them up, fetta, finishing off with a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts and drizzle of caramelised balsamic vinegar. For a bit more oomph, you can add chickpeas, or if there are no vegetarians around, grilled chicken or lamb cut into strips. Could so eat that right now, even though I’ve just has my muesli!

  7. good morning nikki, thankyou for thinking of us in the heat! … now it’s cold again … extremes! never mind, just keep foofing [could be sarah’s sister!]
    I have been on a high protein diet for a while but a bit too acidic so trying to bring in some alkaline foods for the good balance … sooo lots of fridge raiding, easy chop salads in mason jars for me … good to go and filling too! lol m:)X

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