Southwestern flavors shine in this simple Black Bean Quinoa Salad with tangy cumin-lime dressing. It’s packed with flavor and colorful vegetables for a vegan and gluten free lunch or side dish that tastes amazing and will make you feel the same.
It takes a lot for Cameron to happily dive into a salad as a meal (especially one with quinoa!), but he did so happily and greedily in the case of this southwestern inspired black bean quinoa salad.
This hearty salad is so fresh and colorful, packed with classic southwestern ingredients like cumin, black beans, and corn. It’s the perfect summer recipe – ideal for everything from meal prep for the week (it’s incredibly filling) to a side dish for picnics, potlucks and BBQs.
How to make this southwestern quinoa salad
Quinoa salads are great for meal prep and quick lunches. Quinoa is high in fiber and protein, so tossing it with just about anything will fill you and keep you full. Classic southwestern flavors really shine in this recipe. Black beans add more protein, while a colorful array of vegetables add both punchy flavor and lots of vitamins.
- Thoroughly rinse the dry quinoa, then combine with two cups of water in a small sauce pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.
- Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
- Combine the black beans, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, and oregano. Toss well, then set aside and allow to marinate at room temperature while the quinoa cooks.
- Combine the cooked quinoa with the black beans (and any residual dressing), bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, corn, scallions, and cilantro. Toss, then taste for seasoning. Adjust with salt and pepper to preference.
Is quinoa gluten free?
Yes, quinoa is gluten free. While technically a seed, it’s typically classified as a grain and used in place of a variety of grains in gluten free salads and side dishes.
Do you have to refrigerate this salad?
Because it contains no dairy, this salad can stand at room temperature for 2-3 hours, making it an ideal dish to take to potlucks and picnics or to serve at a BBQ.
Is this quinoa salad healthy?
This is pretty much a superfood salad. It’s high in plant based protein and fiber from the quinoa and black beans, plus it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals from the colorful veggies. It’s completely vegan and gluten free, and with all the right elements for a delicious but well balanced meal.
Tips for Making This Recipe Perfectly
- Rinse the quinoa well before cooking it. It’s natural coating can be bitter if it’s cooked without rinsing.
- Take care not to overcook the quinoa or it will become mushy.
- Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes after cooking. This helps to dry it out so it’s not clumpy.
- Cut down on prep time by using pre-cooked quinoa.
- Dice and chop the veggies into small evenly sized pieces so that they combine well and are easier to eat.
Make it Your Way
It’s really easy to customize this recipe to your tastes with extra add-ins and substitutions.
- Frozen corn is quick and easy, but fresh corn really amplifies the flavor, especially grilled corn. Substitute two ears of fresh, grilled corn as available.
- Add heat: add a minced jalapeno or small red chili pepper for heat. Feel free to substitute the bell pepper for one with a kick like a poblano or serrano pepper.
- Use red or tri-color quinoa for an even more colorful salad.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Healthy No Mayo Potato Salad
- Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Sunbutter Sauce
- Orange Chicken Salad Meal Prep Bowls
Did you make this this Southwestern Quinoa Salad? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- Small Sauce Pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- 1 c quinoa
- 1 14.5-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp oregano
- 1 medium orange bell pepper, diced to ½”
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 c frozen corn, thawed
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- ⅓ c chopped cilantro
- kosher salt, to taste
- cracked black pepper, to taste
- Make the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a mesh strainer then rinse under cool running water until the foam subsides. Combine the rinsed quinoa with two cups of water in a small sauce pot. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low. Cover and cook 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Remove the pot from heat and allow the quinoa to sit an additional 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
- Combine the black beans, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, and oregano. Toss, then set aside and allow to marinate at room temperature while the quinoa cooks..
- Combine the cooked quinoa with the black beans (be sure to scrape any marinade into the bowl), bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, corn, scallions, and cilantro. Toss, then taste for seasoning. Adjust with salt and pepper to preference.
- Thoroughly rinse the dry quinoa to remove it's natural coating, which can taste bitter.
- Let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes after cooking. This helps to dry it out so it doesn't clump.
- Substitute 2 cups black beans cooked from dry.
- Storage: in the fridge in the tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.
- Serving: this salad can stand at room temperature for 2-3 hours.