Mixed Grain Salad with Avocado and Black Beans

I’ve missed blogging so much…I am really overdue for a post. Not only do I feel I have a responsibility to my you all, my fabulous and inspiring readers, to come up with recipes and accompanying photos, I have to admit there’s a selfish motivation backing this blog as well. Cooking/baking + photography is a stress reliever as well as a creative outlet for me. At the same time, the actual writing part has been more difficult these past few weeks yet I’ve missed all of you dearly in addition to being in the kitchen.

There are many changes going on in my personal life right now…I am an emotional roller coaster to say the least and I am taking one day at a time as I am experiencing a level of sadness and grieving that I’ve never had to before. At the same time, I feel stronger every day as my crying outbursts diminish and my negative feelings are turning into more positive ones. I realize I am being vague but please bear with me as I find myself and my strength with each day that passes, I will eventually be back in full swing again!

Not to mention, I’ve been without internet for the past 11 days so I am happy to report that issue has been remedied this evening…one thing to mark off on my check list. Things are looking up 🙂

While this might not be a crazy creative recipe, it’s very fitting for where I am right now: simple ingredients, good carbs, healthy fats and light summer flavors…this translates into a serotonin rush and a full, happy tummy. Eaten alongside a few of my salted millionaire shortbread bars, I am momentarily transported to my happy place 🙂

This easy grain salad can be made with your favorite gluten free grains, I chose quinoa, millet and amaranth but brown rice, buckwheat or sorghum could also do the trick! If you prefer one grain in particular, feel free to use 1 full cup for an even simpler dish. This recipe is an easy side, quick make-ahead lunch or a filling vegetarian entree…it’s up to you!

Mixed Grain Salad with Avocado and Black Beans


1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (red or white)
1/2 cup uncooked amaranth grain or millet or 1/4 cup of each (I used 1/4 cup both)
2 cups vegetable broth or stock
1 Tbsp coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil or Earth Balance, divided
3/4 cup onion, diced (or even 4 scallions, diced for a variation)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or one 15 oz can  rinsed and drained)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped + more for garnish
juice from 1 lime
1 avocado, pit removed and diced into chunks
1/4 cup walnuts (sunflower seeds, pepitas, almonds or your favorite nut can be substituted)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Optional: nutritional yeast or dairy free shredded cheddar cheese for serving


1. To a medium pot, add quinoa, amaranth/millet, vegetable broth and 1 tsp oil. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed and grains are cooked through. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
2. In a small skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent and tender. Toss in the black beans, garlic and ground cumin, cooking for one minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat.
3. Transfer grains to a large mixing bowl. Add onion-bean mixture and toss to combine. Stir in remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with additional cilantro and nutritional yeast or cheese if desired and enjoy!

I ‘ll leave you with a quote that has resonated with me recently:

“When your heart speaks, take good notes.” 
Judith Campbell


28 thoughts on “Mixed Grain Salad with Avocado and Black Beans

  1. Sorry to hear you are going through a rough patch. Thanks for taking the time to share this yummy-looking recipe!

  2. Hope things start to look up for you 😦 Ah, emotional challenges are rough, huh? Especially for us women folk who tend to FEEL so deeply – thinking of you 🙂

  3. Sending a big batch of positive & happy thoughts over to you Nora – hopefully things will start looking up for you soon.

    I love the combination of quinoa and millet, I just cooked up a batch last night – this dish would perk up anyones day 🙂

  4. Aw, I’m so sorry! I hope everything’s alright! Cooking and baking is therapy for me too, so I hope you can take lots of time to get in the kitchen 🙂 Sometimes I just need to get into the kitchen without thinking about blogging though, and that helps me when I’m stressed out. Take as much time to yourself as you need, we’ll all be here! This looks like a great meal to have ready and waiting in the fridge for when I need a meal. I’m not a huge fan of millet(maybe I’m not cooking it right?) but I haven’t tried amaranth before, even though I have some sitting in my cupboard right now 😀 Looks like a good opportunity!

  5. Oh no! I’m so sad to hear that you’ve been having a hard time. I hope things will get easier for you soon. And maybe I’m a bad blogger, but I don’t think you owe any of your readers anything. This is your blog and I think you should only post when you have time. And selfish motivation? No way. I think baking and writing posts should only be done because you want to, not because you “have to.” So if you need a few weeks / months / whatever, take them! We’ll all be here when you come back. If I lived near you, I would run to the kitchen now and bake you some gluten-free goodies that we could eat together and perhaps that would cheer you up… even if it’s just for a moment! And then we’d give the rest to the neighbors since we seem to have some issues with that. 🙂 Anyway, we’re all sending positive thoughts your way. It sounds silly but it’s true.

  6. So sorry to hear you’re feeling under the weather, Nora. I think Erin, you and I ought to get together and enjoy a nice day at the amusement park or something! Would do us a world of good! That, or indulge in a bowl of your delicious looking fro-yo! 😉

    Hang in there, girlfriend. Looks like once again, we’re being twins!

    Oh, and your salad looks delicious. I could really go for a bowl right now. Starving, but feeling too lazy to cook. Can you imagine. Me, don’t feel like cooking. Can you ship me a bowl express delivery please?

    Sending virtual hugs to you! 🙂

  7. “I think Erin, you and I ought to get together and enjoy a nice day at the amusement park or something!” … preceded by a day of baking grain-free goodies. Sonia can bring the date paste and I’ll bring the nut flours! They’re super cheap over here. And Nora, we just need your oven. Mine is broken so this plan works out very well. Now all we need is a rich fourth participant to pay for my ticket. Sonia’s too! Anyone interested? 😀

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