Zesty Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Zesty Black Bean Quinoa Salad

This is a great recipe to use up some of that produce from your summer garden. Want to sneak in some yellow squash or zucchini, done.  Realize that your cilantro bolted so you sub out parsley, done (that may or may not have happened, I plead the 5th). 

This is one of my favorite make ahead recipes when having friends over, you can make it earlier in the day, or even a day ahead and just give it a quick toss when you take it out of the fridge.  It works well cold or at room temperature. 

Not a lot of crazy ingredients needed for this recipe. Instructions to cook the quinoa on the stovetop are in the recipe below.  Want to cook it in your instant pot?  Not a problem, pop over to Quinoa- Stovetop vs. Instant Pot. Also, don’t forget that quinoa freezes really well so feel free to make extra of that and save for later.  One cup of raw quinoa makes about 3 cups cooked. 

If you are starting with already cooked quinoa from your freezer, you just mix everything together

And voilà, you have Black Bean Quinoa Salad.  Enjoy!

Zesty Black Bean Quinoa salad

Quinoa in a zesty vinaigrette that works as a main course or a side dish. A favorite to make ahead for a potluck.
Course Grain, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish


  • 1 cup quinoa see note on rinsing quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 limes juiced approximately ¼ cup juice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional - add more or less depending on desired heat
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 cups cucumber sliced and quartered
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans
  • 1 cup chopped celery optional
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup Cilantro Ok to substitute with parsley if cilantro is not your jam
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Bring quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed. Set aside to cool. Want to cook the quinoa in your instant pot, here is how.
  • Once cool, in a large bowl combine quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, celery, and green onions.
  • Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper flakes if using. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and toss gently to mix. Gently stir in the cilantro (or parsley).
  • Either serve immediately or cover and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Can make 1 day ahead. Works well to double the recipe for a large crowd or to have leftovers for a quick lunch.


Note on rinsing the quinoa: Quinoa has a natural outer coating called saponin that is very bitter. Several brands offer pre-rinsed quinoa where the outer coat has been removed for you.  Check your package directions to see if it specifies that you should rinse or if it is pre-rinsed. When in doubt an extra rinse won't hurt.
To rinse your quinoa, you need something with a fine sieve.  A standard colander has holes that are too large and the quinoa will fall through. Rinse under cold running water for 30-45 seconds. Allow excess water to drip out for a few seconds are you are good to go.  No need to adjust the water in the recipe if you rinse or not.
Tip: Quinoa freezes really well.  Make a bunch extra and stick some in the freezer for next time.  One cup of raw quinoa makes approximately 3 cups cooked.  Feel free to substitute 3 cups cooked quinoa for the raw quinoa and water listed in the recipe. 

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