This “eat the rainbow” black beans and quinoa recipe is packed with plant-based protein & fiber, plus it’s full of flavor and simple to make. It’s vegan, gluten-free, Mediterranean diet, and MIND diet-friendly. If you follow a low FODMAP diet for IBS, check the low FODMAP option in the recipe notes!

Close up shot of a white bowl filled with quinoa and black beans salad.

What could be better than this fresh and flavorful Quinoa and Black Bean Salad for a main dish meal, a healthy side dish, or a super tasty appetizer to bring to your next potluck?

Why You Need to Make this Recipe ASAP!


  • It’s light on calories and packed with nutrition. And flavor!!!
  • You can make it ahead of time. I think it tastes even better the next day!
  • It’s budget-friendly & super versatile. Don’t have all the ingredients? Get creative and make it with whatever yummy veggies, gluten-free grains, and legumes you have on hand!
Overhead shot of a white bowl with black bean and quinoa salad. Forks and limes in the background.

I created this black beans and quinoa salad recipe with summer plus my kids in mind. Big Tex just finished his first year of college and will be here all summer long, eating us out of house and home. SiSi is doing an internship abroad but will be home for one month, and I know this is a great recipe that will satisfy everyone. Even Mr. Spicy. But, honestly, he’s easy to please when it comes to food 🙂

Not to mention, it’s easy to meal prep a double batch ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a quick meal when it’s too hot to cook!

Check out my YouTube Black Bean & Quinoa Salad Recipe Video!

YouTube video

Ingredients to make quinoa black bean salad

You’ll need a combination of pantry and freezer staples plus some fresh ingredients to make this Black Beans and Quinoa Salad recipe.

For the tangy, zesty Cumin Lime Dressing

Overhead shot of the ingredients to make cumin lime dressing.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Or another heart-healthy monounsaturated fat like avocado oil.
  • Fresh lime juice. Lemon juice works in a pinch.
  • White balsamic vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is another good option.
  • Seasonings. Cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper.
  • Optional: Cayenne pepper, chili powder, or red pepper flakes if you like spicy food. Or, maple syrup if you want a hint of sweetness.

For the Black Beans and Quinoa Salad

Overhead shot of ingredients to make a black bean and quinoa salad recipe.
  • Uncooked quinoa. Choose white quinoa, red quinoa, or tri-colored quinoa. No quinoa at all? Brown rice would be tasty in the salad too! Or try any variety of my favorite gluten-free grains!
  • Water. I cooked my quinoa in water. You can also use vegetable broth if you want some additional flavor.
  • Black beans. I used one can of black beans in this recipe, but you can use dried black beans too and meal prep them ahead of time. Or, swap with any variety of beans, like kidney beans or pinto beans.
  • Red bell peppers. Or swap with orange bell peppers. Or yellow. Or green. Or all of the above!!!
  • Onion. Red onion & chopped green onions.
  • Fresh cilantro. Omit it if you’re a cilantro hater. I’m sorry if you are!
  • Tomatoes. Multicolored cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes work well in this salad.
  • Frozen sweet corn. Or fresh corn would be tasty too.
  • Radishes. They add a nice crunch and add a peppery kick!
  • Optional for serving: Avocado slices, queso fresco, or any shredded cheese, tortilla chips, Greek yogurt, or light sour cream.

How to Make Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Four photo collage of the steps for making quinoa and black bean salad.
  1. Cook the quinoa. One cup quinoa (dry) yields ~ 3 cups of cooked quinoa. You’ll need 4 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa for this recipe. I used 2 cups of dry, rinsed quinoa and saved the leftover quinoa in an airtight container in my refrigerator.
  2. Chop all the vegetables and drain and rinse the canned black beans while the quinoa is cooking
  3. Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a mason jar. Give it a few quick shakes, and voilà, it’s ready to pour on top of your salad!
  4. Assemble the salad in a large bowl. Start with the quinoa, and add the frozen corn (it will defrost if your quinoa is still warm) and all the veggies.
  5. Pour the zesty dressing on top and stir well to combine all the ingredients.

How to serve your Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

  • If you’re making this Black Beans and Quinoa Salad recipe as a main course, I suggest some fresh fruit on the side for a light yet satisfying complete meal.
  • Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer. Bring it to your next party, and everyone will be asking you for the recipe!
  • Making this Black Beans and Quinoa Salad as an easy side dish? Serve it with grilled chicken or salmon.
  • For a 100% plant-based meal, enjoy it with some of my other favorite vegan recipes like my creamy, dreamy Avocado Soup or this refreshing Kale Citrus Salad.

Are beans & quinoa healthy? You betcha!

  • One main dish serving has 430 calories and 12 grams of complete protein-all from plants!
  • It’s packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, and fiber for brain health and gut health.
  • Low in saturated fat (3 grams per serving) for heart health and brain health.
Close up shot of a white bowl filled with quinoa and black bean salad.

Eat the Rainbow Black Beans and Quinoa Salad Recipe

5 from 7 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

Cumin Lime Dressing

Black Beans and Quinoa Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 can black beans, 15-oz can
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh kernals
  • 1 bell pepper, red, orange, or yellow
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
  • Cumin Lime Dressing

Instructions

  • Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Fluff with a fork when finished cooking.

Make the Cumin Lime Dressing

  • Juice enough limes to make 1/4 cup of lime juice.
  • Combine lime juice with vinegar, olive oil, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper in a large mason jar. Shake well to combine ingredients.

Make the Black Beans and Quinoa Salad

  • Prep the vegetables: Cut bell pepper into ~ 1/4 inch dice. Loosely chop the cilantro (ok to keep stems). Finely chop red onion. Thinly slice the radishes and cut in half. Slice the green portion of the green onions. grape. Slice the tomatoes into bite-size pieces.
  • Rinse and drain the black beans.
  • Assemble the salad in a large serving bowl. Add warm quinoa to the bowl along with frozen or fresh (cooked) corn kernels. Add all the vegetables and the black beans. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  • Pour dressing on top and stir well. Ssason with additional salt and pepper if desired before serving.

Notes

Low FODMAP Option: Omit the red onion and add extra green onion tops. Swap the black beans for canned, rinsed, and drained lentils or chickpeas. 
Optional for serving: Avocado slices, queso fresco, or any shredded cheese, tortilla chips, Greek yogurt, or light sour cream.
Meal prep: You can make the dressing and cook the quinoa ahead of time. Store prepared salad in the refrigerator in a well-sealed container for up to three days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 652mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1178IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 4mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Low FODMAP Option, Mediterranean, MIND Diet, Vegan, Vegetarian
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Let’s chat! Will you make this Quinoa and Black Bean Salad recipe? Anything you would add or omit? What are your favorite make-ahead meals for summer? If you enjoyed this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating. And, please share this post with your friends and family. Thanks so much for your support!