Red Quinoa and Red Kidney Masala

Red Quinoa and Red Kidney Masala by Jeanne Kelley

Recipe excerpt from:
Vegetarian Salad for Dinner: Inventive Plant-Forward Meals

by Jeanne Kelley

Rajma is a casual bean curry that’s popular throughout India. Inspired by that dish, I combined red kidney beans and red quinoa with Indian flavors including tamarind, ginger, mint and cilantro with quinoa and canned kidney beans to make this delightfully interpretive “masala” or spicy mix. I added roasted peanuts and chickpea snacks for fun crunch. You can serve the salad with warm naan and yogurt for a big dinner.

4 to 6 Servings


  • 1 cup red or tri-color quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • ¼ cup peanut or untoasted (light) sesame oil, or other neutral oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (about a 1-inch piece)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or crushed with a garlic press
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • 2 (14-to 16 ounce) cans organic red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 hot house cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves (optional) for garnish
  • ¼ cup minced fresh mint leaves, plus whole leaves (optional) for garnish
  • 1 serrano chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • Tamarind Chutney Sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 6-ounce package “Bombay Spice” or other crunchy chickpea snacks
  • 3/4 cup (or more) lightly salted roasted peanuts
  • Bring water, quinoa and salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until cool. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl.
  • For the dressing: Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, ginger, garlic and salt to blend in a small bowl.
  • For the salad: Stir the beans, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, mint and chili into the quinoa along with the dressing.

To serve: Spoon salad onto plates and sprinkle generously with crunchy chickpeas and peanuts. Drizzle with Tamarind Chutney Sauce and garnish with fresh mint and cilantro and serve.

Tamarind Chutney Sauce

If you have ever eaten at an Indian buffet, then you’re likely familiar with this sweet-tart, dark brown dipping sauce. In addition to the Red Quinoa and Red Kidney Bean Masala, it’s delicious on samosas and pakoras.

Makes about 1/3 cup

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind puree
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Stir the ingredients to blend in a small bowl or jar. (Can be prepared ahead. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.)