Thanks to lots of vegetables and quinoa, this easy black bean salad is ultra satisfying, hearty, and absolutely delicious. This black bean salad recipe is vegan, easy to make, and lasts for days in the fridge.
How to Make the Tastiest Black Bean Salad
Black beans are a staple in our pantry. We buy them canned and dried and love knowing that if the fridge is empty, there will always be some black beans standing by for us to use. We add them to veggie burgers, breakfast wraps, soups, and love to use them in our vegetarian tacos.
We also love adding them to salads. We’ve already shared this simple black bean and corn salad, which has a smoky lime dressing. It’s perfect served as a fresh salad or even as a salsa. We love it so much that it inspired us to make an even heartier black bean salad. We took everything we loved about that salad and added even more vegetables and quinoa. This black bean and quinoa salad is hearty, healthy, and delicious.
The salad is very simple to make and is pretty adaptable to whatever you have in the fridge. You can use canned or home-cooked black beans. When using canned, I prefer to drain and rinse the beans before adding to the salad.
Here’s another recipe featuring black beans and quinoa: Delightful Vegetarian Chili
As for the quinoa, you can use precooked or cook it yourself. Quinoa takes about 20 minutes to make. Here’s our tutorial for making fluffy quinoa at home and if you’re looking for more quinoa salads, I love this quinoa salad packed with superfoods like chickpeas, bell peppers, baby bok choy, herbs, and cucumber.
The dressing we add to this black bean salad is one of my go-to dressings, especially when making bean or grain salads. I start with a combination of apple cider vinegar and fresh lime juice. You can use one or the other, but I love the flavor when the two are mixed together. Then we add a little spice with chili powder (use our homemade blend, if you can) and cumin. Finally we finish the dressing with a good amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. It tastes pretty bright by itself, but when you toss it with all the beans, quinoa, and vegetables, it works perfectly.
Once you have the black beans, cooked quinoa, and dressing, all you need to do is decide on what vegetables you want to add. We add the following, but you can always substitute and add based on what you love:
- Red onion
- Bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red Cabbage
- Canned Hatch chili peppers (these are optional, but add a lovely Southwestern flavor — I love using the Hatch brand.)
How to Serve the Black Bean Salad
This simple salad is perfect for making in advance and keeps in the fridge for a few days. It’s such a great make-ahead salad that I actually prefer it on day two! There are so many ways to serve this salad.
- Serve the salad on its own. One cup has just over 7 grams of protein and over 5 grams of fiber so there’s some major sticking power here.
- Serve it as a side next to meats or roasted vegetables. I’ve already served it next to these baked chicken breasts with tomato and basil, these vegetarian stuffed sweet potatoes, and this cilantro lime roasted cauliflower.
- Add feta cheese, avocado or Adam’s favorite, grilled or pan-fried halloumi cheese on top.
More Easy Bean Salads
- Smoky Black Bean and Corn Salad — Perfect as a side salad or salsa for chips, this black bean salad has fresh corn, tomatoes, onion, and lime.
- Lemony White Bean Salad with Prosciutto — This Mediterranean inspired bean salad has creamy white beans, salty prosciutto, parmesan cheese, peppery arugula, and a punchy lemon dressing.
- Kale and Bean Salad with Tahini Dressing — Thanks to a creamy tahini dressing, the salad is plant-based, vegan and ultra-satisfying.
- Easy Green Bean Salad with Crispy Shallots — This flavorful, crunchy cold green bean salad is one of our favorite ways to enjoy green beans.
- Herby Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas — Thanks to a light lemony dressing and lots of fresh herbs, this simple cauliflower salad tastes surprisingly delicious and lasts in the fridge for days.
- Ridiculously Easy Bean Salad — This classic bean salad is perfect for picnics, barbecues and make ahead meals.
Black Bean and Quinoa Salad
Thanks to a variety of colorful vegetables and a bright and zesty dressing, this black bean salad with quinoa is hearty and delicious. Enjoy this salad as a side or as a main dish. The salad will keep for a few days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Over time, you may find that the color from the red cabbage seeps out into the salad (it actually looks quite pretty).
You Will Need
1 cup (190 grams) uncooked quinoa, rinsed (about 3 cups cooked)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder, or more to taste, see our homemade blend
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (half small onion)
1 orange, yellow or red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 cup finely chopped red cabbage
2 ears of corn, shucked, or 1 cup of defrosted frozen corn
1 (4-ounce) can Hatch green chili peppers, chopped, see notes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Optional add-ins: chopped avocado, crumbled feta or queso fresco
- Cook Quinoa
1Combine the rinsed quinoa, water, and 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, until the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa, 10 to 15 minutes.
2Move the saucepan off of the heat and cover for five minutes. This extra time allows the quinoa to steam and “fluff up.” Uncover, and then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- Make The Salad
1In a large bowl, whisk the apple cider vinegar, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt, chili powder, cumin, and a pinch of black pepper together. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking until blended.
2Add the quinoa, black beans, red onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, corn, and chili peppers. Toss to combine, and then season to taste with additional salt and pepper as needed.
3Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If after a day or two the salad seems a little dry, add an extra squeeze of lime juice and a small drizzle of olive oil.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Canned green chili peppers are often sold next to salsas in most grocery stores. There are a variety of brands including Ortega, Old El Paso, and Hatch. When we can find it, we love the Hatch brand.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.