This quinoa black bean salad is an easy, healthy side dish. Full of fresh ingredients and bright Southwest flavor thanks to the olive oil and zesty lime vinaigrette. The hearty black beans makes this a delicious main course for lunch as well and is easy to meal prep and take with you on the go.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- High in plant based protein thanks to the quinoa and black beans and has zero cholesterol.
- I love meal prepping a double batch of this delicious salad at the beginning of the week and having it ready to go for lunch every day.
- Full of fresh flavors
- Ingredients can be easily adjusted to match what you have on hand.
🍅 Ingredients & substitutions
This healthy quinoa recipe is full of fresh and easy to find ingredients. It only contains healthy ingredients and fresh Mexican flavors:
- Quinoa - both white quinoa, red quinoa and multi colored quinoa work for this recipe.
- Black beans - you can also use pinto beans or white beans. Make sure to drain and rinse the can of beans before adding to the salad.
- Avocado - love adding this for it's creamy texture and full of healthy fats.
- Vegetables & seasonings- I love using red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and sweet corn. Sometimes I will also add either English cucumbers, bell peppers or cooked beets. To season I just use cumin powder and salt.
- Fresh cilantro - fresh herbs really bring a lot of flavor to this dish.
- Fresh lime juice - lemon juice would also work.
- Olive oil - vegetable oil would work as well, but it won't be as tasty as olive oil. I also add salt and black pepper.
- Red onion - green onions or chives also taste great
👩🍳 Recipe tips
Quinoa is has many health benefits because it’s loaded with vitamins, iron, phytonutrients, minerals and it’s and essential amino acids since it's a complete protein.
Quinoa (pronounced Kee-Nwah) will help you feel full without weighing you down and it’s extremely versatile.
Always rinse the quinoa. Quinoa has a coating that makes it taste bitter if you don’t rinse it. Even if you get pre-rinsed quinoa, rinse it.
Cook the quinoa in vegetable broth to add flavor. You can also use veggie bouillon cube or bouillon paste.
For more tips on cooking quinoa, check out my post on how to cook quinoa in the instant pot, rice cooker or on the stove.
Make sure to chop up all of your fresh veggies to about the same bite-sized pieces. This ensures that you will get multiple flavors in one bite, instead of one large chunk of something overpowering each bite.
If you want to cook your own black beans, check out my article on how to cook dried beans from scratch.
Step one: Rinse the quinoa to get rid of its bitter taste. Use a fine mesh strainer.
Step two: Cook the quinoa on the stove or in a rice cooker or instant pot. Cook it in vegetable broth to give it more flavor. Set it aside to let it cool a bit.
Step three: Chop up all of your vegetables. Mix the chopped vegetables in with the cooled quinoa in a large bowl, so you have enough room to stir the ingredients together.
Step four: Lime is what brings this whole dish together, so don’t skip this part. Roll out the lime on the counter to ensure you get the most juice out of it. Then cut it in half and use a citrus squeezer to juice the lime. Add the Olive oil, salt and black pepper and mix well.
You can store leftover quinoa salad in an airtight container for five to seven days in the fridge. It tastes even better the next day after it's had time to marinate.
I've never tried freezing it before but I think this would freeze well. Don't add the tomatoes if you're freezing this, since it will make the tomatoes a little mushy. Just completely thaw it in the fridge before eating.
❓ Recipe FAQs
This salad makes an amazing main dish or side dish. Try serving it with New Orleans Vegan Red Beans and Rice, Couscous Stuffed Peppers, Seitan Vegan Chicken or a Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burger. This also tastes great in a Tahini Kale Salad.
Absolutely! Quinoa is a protein-rich gluten-free grain with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may lower the risk of chronic diseases. Beans are a source of protein, fiber, and vitamins, including iron and potassium, and can improve blood sugar, heart health, and lower cancer risk. Including them in a balanced diet provides multiple health benefits.
The best thing you can do with quinoa is to rinse it in a fine mesh strainer. This will help get rid of its soapy, bitter taste. Next, make sure to cook it in vegetable broth and add a pinch of salt and olive oil. You can also add garlic powder, onion powder and your favorite seasonings.
🥗 More easy recipes to try
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Easy Quinoa Black Bean Salad (High Protein)
- 2 cups uncooked quinoa (rinsed)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 14 ounces black beans (drained and rinsed)
- ½ avocado (diced)
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- ½ red onion
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn (rinse under warm water)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 limes (juiced)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- Rinse off the quinoa to help get rid of the bitter coating on the quinoa.
- Put quinoa and vegetable broth in the pressure cooker and cook on high for 4 minutes. Quick release when done (directions for stovetop and rice cooker in notes section below)2 cups uncooked quinoa, 2 cups vegetable broth
- Let quinoa cool for 10-15 minutes. While you wait, move on to the next steps.
- Chop up your tomatoes, onions and avocado into the same bite-sized pieces. Chop up cilantro and rinse frozen corn under warm water to thaw.
- Add the cooled quinoa to a large mixing bowl, then add all of the rest of the ingredients to the quinoa and stir well, adding the avocado last so it doesn't get smushed. Salt to taste.14 ounces black beans, ½ avocado, handful of cherry tomatoes, ½ red onion, ⅓ cup chopped cilantro, 1 cup frozen sweet corn, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 limes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- Tastes great by itself, or over chopped romaine lettuce or kale massaged with some avocado and salt.
Bring to a simmer and keep the lid off. Cook until water is absorbed - about 10-15 minutes.
Turn off heat and cover with a lid and let it sit for 5 minutes to fluff up the quinoa To cook quinoa in a rice cooker: 2 cups of quinoa, 4 cups of water and 1.5 teaspoon of veggie bouillon paste (or ½ teaspoon of salt)
Close the lid and let the rice cooker do its magic.
Let it sit for 5 minutes in the rice cooker after it's done to fluff up the quinoa Tastes great by itself, or over chopped romaine lettuce or kale massaged with some avocado and salt. Add in some cooked beats for even more flavor and nutrients I also sometimes love adding english cucumber, bell peppers or olives
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.