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Superfood Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Recipe

black bean quinoa salad recipe

This superfood black bean & quinoa salad recipe is one of my most popular; people love it so much they don’t even notice it’s vegan. It’s also one of the very first things I posted on my first blog four or so years back and one of my own personal favorites. I often make a double batch on a Sunday afternoon and it barely lasts until Tuesday.

Everything in this salad is extremely good for you so fill up on it and your body will thank you. Quinoa has the texture of a grain but is actually a seed, and a complete protein at that. It’s filled with nutrients and along with the other ingredients here this salad is highly nutritious and highly delicious.

This is the perfect dish to bring to a summer party because 1) you can make it the night before (it’s almost better that way), 2) the recipe is easily doubled or tripled, 3) it’s great room temperature or cold, and 4) it’s dairy-free so no worries about leaving it out for a few hours. It’s also inexpensive to make and keeps well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

I hope you all love it as much as I do.

Superfood Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 30 min
Serves 4-8


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa yields about 2 cups cooked)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed, grated or finely chopped
  • Juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 red bell pepper, quarter inch chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 6 green onions, root removed, white and part of the greens chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 handful of cilantro, rough chopped (about 1/3 cup)

Recipe: Prepare the quinoa (see below). While the quinoa is cooking, whisk the olive oil, cumin, garlic, lime, salt and cayenne (if using) together in the bottom of a large bowl to let the flavors marry while you chop the veggies. Rinse and drain the black beans, then chop the veggies; the key is to make the peppers and onions about the same size as the beans. Add the cooked quinoa, beans and veggies to the bowl and gently fold it all together with the dressing. The quinoa can be warm, room temp, or cold when you make the dish. Regardless, I suggest letting it chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes to let the flavors come together. It tastes best served room temperature or chilled.

Preparation Tips:

  • To prepare the quinoa, rinse it well with in a fine mesh colander and let all of the water drain. Add the rinsed quinoa to a pot and add double the amount of purified water or veggie stock (e.g. 1 cup dry quinoa needs 2 cups of liquid). Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed and the little “tail” of the quinoa has sprouted out. Fluff with a fork and reserve for your recipe. I always set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes to simmer because if left too long it can burn. Also, I always make at least double the quinoa I need–it keeps well in the refrigerator up to 5 days for another recipe.
  • There’s a silly myth out there that only the white part of a green onion is good. Not true! When using green onions, remove the root end and peel off the outermost layer if it looks tough. Use both the white part and most of the greens, the last few inches of the greens might be tough so you can discard them, but most of the greens are tender and taste great.

Love + Quinoa,


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  • Joy

    Delicious and very easy!

  • CathyK

    I did a rough calorie count, and with the oil, this recipe is like 600 calories a 1/2 cup serving!

    • Hi Cathy, I did a calorie count on the recipe in MyFitnessPal and it’s about 225 as a side (when split into 8 servings) and 450 as a meal (when split into 4 servings.)

  • John Warren

    This is good, but really oily. And, with 1/2 cup of olive oil for only 2 cups of quinoa, I count 112 grams of fat. That’s a lot of fat… a lot of calories. “Eat all you want guilt-free”? Am I missing something.

  • Mailmam

    Thanks sounds great I will be making this on Friday. BTW although not low in calories olive oil has so many tremendous benefits. But I may try using a bit less Thanks for the tip

  • Lea

    Love this! I just made it and finished a bowl. I added a large tomato to it and only used a quarter of the cilantro suggested (I find it to be a show-stealing herb- too overwhelming in a dish with so many flavours).

    The full half cup of oil made it taste really smooth and creamy, but it was definitely a bit much. For anyone wondering, I think it is going to be just as good with half the amount or less. Just use enough to carry the marinade around- I’m doing that next time 🙂

    • Agreed! Per suggestions I tried it with 1/4 cup oil and it was great so I changed it here.

      • Lea

        Awesome! I threw in some avocado with the leftovers just for fun…soooo yummy =D

  • I’m so pleased I’ve found your blog! I have PCOS so try to eat low GI, but I’m also vegetarian and recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant. I’ve been finding it so hard to figure out what to eat but your recipes have given me loads of ideas already! Thank you!

  • Kendra Porter

    This is amazing! I was looking for a very simple black bean quinoa salad recipe that didn’t require much fuss to assemble & this recipe fit the bill right down to the delicious smell once everything was put together! A fabulous side dish!

  • Shasha Serene

    Very delicious! definitely turned out exactly like I expected. Thanks.

  • Ericka Turner

    I came across this recipe today – made it for dinner- delicious!! Seriously, this will be in heavy rotation. Thanks so much!

  • Nancy

    This looks delicious. I am going to make it today for a lunch tomorrow. I have a question though – I have been cooking quinoa in a rice cooker for ages, never doing the straining over the sieve part at all. I have some vegetarian stew recipes that call for tossing a handful of uncooked quinoa directly into the vegetables – nothing about washing and draining. What is the purpose of this step?