Quinoa Black Bean Salad
on Jul 11, 2022
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Tossed in jalapeno lime dressing, this quinoa black bean salad has bell peppers, tomatoes, avocados and radishes. Count it as a salad and a side dish.
Table of Contents
There’s just something about a salad that starts with pantry ingredients. You have a base with things that you already have in your kitchen. And then it’s all about adding fresh veggies and herbs.
At its most basic, this Tex-Mex-inspired black bean quinoa salad involves grains (well, technically quinoa is a seed) and a can of beans. Then it’s enhanced with a combination of bell peppers, tomatoes, radishes and avocados along with jalapeno, cilantro and lime.
Since it doesn’t have any leafy greens, unless you want to add them right before you’re about to eat it, there’s no risk of wilting. It’s great for meal prep. Think work lunches! You won’t have to pack the dressing and the salad separately since you mix everything together when you’re making it.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This is what you need:
- Quinoa is easy to find at the grocery with the rice and grains or in the bulk section. It’s gluten-free, high in fiber and comes in white, red and black or a blend of all three. It should be stored in a cool, dark spot like a cabinet or pantry. You can swap it out for brown rice or couscous.
- Black beans: Dump the beans into a colander or mesh strainer over the sink and rinse them. Shake them around to get off the excess water before you add them to the quinoa.
- Peppers: Red bell peppers are my first choice for their flavor and crisp bite. Orange and yellow peppers are good options too. It really comes down to color preference.
- Tomatoes: I like small varieties such as grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes because they hold their shape you cut them in half.
- Avocado: With their healthy fat, avocados plus the beans help to bulk up the salad and make it more filling.
- Radishes are crunchy, zesty and peppery.
- Scallions add plenty of green onion flavor. If you only have a red onion, you can add a 1/4 cup finely chopped.
- Cilantro: Besides the dressing and the seasonings, chopped fresh herbs are so important for the overall taste.
- Lime juice seems like an obvious choice for the dressing considering the other ingredients like black beans and avocados.
- Olive oil: As always for any vinaigrette, use extra virgin olive oil.
- Jalapenos give the quinoa a kick without being overly spicy.
- Cumin, salt & pepper season the citrus dressing.
How To Make A Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Cook the quinoa. On the stove combine the rinsed quinoa and water in a small pot over high heat. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and cover it with a lid. Simmer the quinoa until the grains are tender, about 12 minutes or so. Let the quinoa sit covered for 5 minutes. Then fluff it with a fork.
Make the dressing. Whisk the lime juice, olive oil, jalapenos, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl that can hold the entire salad. You can do this while the quinoa cooks.
Stir the quinoa into the dressing.
Fold the black beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocados, radishes, scallions and cilantro into the quinoa.
This is a fantastic lunch salad, but it’s also good for dinner too. Think of it like a salad and side dish in one. Pair it with a vegetarian or vegan main like veggie fajita bowls, chipotle roasted vegetable tacos or sheet pan portobello pepper fajitas. You can also turn these baked mushroom kale quesadillas into a meal by adding this quinoa salad.
- Protein: Try shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced grilled chicken, grilled shrimp or tofu.
- Greens: If you want to lean more into greens rather than grains in this salad, add chopped romaine, baby spinach or baby arugula.
- Cheese: I love salty crumbled feta cheese.
You can go from these Tex-Mex flavors to something more Mediterranean by just making a few swaps. Use white beans, parsley and lemon juice instead of black beans, fresh cilantro and lime juice, and omit the ground cumin. To finish it, add torn basil leaves.
More Quinoa Salad Recipes
Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 2 cups water
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 jalapeno minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 15- ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 bell peppers red, yellow or orange, diced
- 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 avocado diced
- 4 radishes thinly sliced into rounds
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer on low until the quinoa is cooked and has absorbed the water, about 12-15 minutes.
- Remove the quinoa from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then fluff it with a fork.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, jalapenos, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir the quinoa into the dressing.
- Then fold in the black beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, avocados, radishes scallions and cilantro.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.