Happy Meatless Monday!

While I am not a vegetarian, I have seen an increasing number of people start gearing their diets toward limiting meat intake, and even overall animal products. Despite being meatless, the following dish does not skimp on protein—so don’t worry, you will still be feeding your gains.

I use quinoa as the base, which is nutritious and great for vegetarians or vegans, as it packs 8 grams of protein per cup, in addition to being full of fiber, iron. and magnesium. Additionally, when eaten together, black beans and corn also form a complete protein. “Complete” means the food source contains all nine of the essential amino acids (the amino acids our bodies can’t produce on their own, so must be consumed via diet). Meat, eggs, and dairy form complete proteins on their own, but for those practicing veganism (a life free of animal products), you must look to a combination of grains to achieve this.


Another reason I love this recipe is because it’s incredibly adaptable.  What I mean by this is although I make it here with quinoa, you could also make it with rice, cous cous, or any of your other favorite grains. I typically serve it cold, but it also tastes delicious hot or room temperature (perfect for setting out as part of a buffet line when entertaining guests).  I’m featuring it here as a Meatless Monday option, but for increased protein, add in some shredded chicken or your other favorite protein source.

Finally, this recipe is great for meal prep, as the longer it sits in the fridge, the more the flavors “mingle” and intensify. Below is what you need to make this, feel free to share your reviews with me via Instagram @ellen_whitney or on my Facebook page, Ellen Whitney-Athlete.

(Makes 6-8 one-cup servings)


1 cup uncooked quinoa

½ can (~1 cup) drained and rinsed black beans

½ can (~1 cup) drained whole kernel corn

1 medium red bell pepper

1/3 cup chopped green onion (~5 stalks)

2T chopped, fresh parsley


1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1 ½ seasoned rice vinegar

1T olive oil

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp black pepper

Sea salt to taste


  1. Prepare quinoa (or grain of choice) according to package instructions. For quinoa, typically use 2 parts water to 1 part dry quinoa, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and allow to cook for 15 minutes,
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, drain and rinse the beans. Finely chop the bell pepper, onion, and parsley.
  3. In a small dish, combine the ingredients for the dressing.
  4. In a large serving bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir to evenly distribute the dressing. Season with salt to taste.  Serve immediately or chill in the fridge.

Optional: Top with fresh avocado slices.

Still hungry? Read on…

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