Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Before tomatoes completely disappear, along with the sun and warmer temps, make this festive, easy and complete-protein salad for your next back-deck barbeque or weekend picnic in the park.  Simple, stores well, and is equally delicious served warm, cold or at room temperature.

Adapted from Quinoa and Black Bean Salad, Gourmet, July 1994


Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed (or about 1, 15-oz can)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked corn, cut from about 2 large ears (grilled or roasted corn makes it extra special)
  • 1 large or 2 small bell peppers (about 3/4 cup), diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (wear gloves!)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  • 2 and 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chile powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. In a large bowl wash quinoa in two or three changes of cold water, rubbing grains and letting them settle, until the water runs clear. Drain in a fine sieve and transfer to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat in salted water to cover by 1 inch; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain quinoa and rinse under cold water. Bring about 1 inch of clean water to boil in the saucepan, with quinoa in a steamer basket above. Steam quinoa until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Add corn, bell pepper, jalapeños, tomatoes and cilantro and toss well.
  3. Once fluffly and dry, toss and fluff quinoa with a fork. Add to beans. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and drizzle over black bean quinoa mixture. Mix well, taste and adjust seasonings. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Serves 8 – 10 as a side.


  1. Like most salads, this is easily adaptable; the quinoa, dressing and cilantro are really key to the flavor of this dish, but most of the vegetables can be swapped out for whatever is on hand and seasonal. I eliminate tomatoes out of season and sometimes add shredded carrot or multiple colors of bell pepper for color and crunch.
  2. The key to this dish is the cooking method of the quinoa, which yields a fluffy texture that is not obtained by either boiling or steaming alone. Don’t skip this step!


Keeps well in the fridge for about 3-4 days.


Summer, although if you omit the fresh tomatoes, you can make this year-round with frozen vegetables and cilantro pesto.


  1. Oooh, that looks delicious! I have a very similar recipe but I had completely forgotten about it until I saw this. I love the lime in the dressing, it tastes so good, and it’s so summery and refreshing 🙂

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