Simple Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Avocado, lime wedges, and lime vinaigrette next to a bowl of our Southwest quinoa black bean salad

Whether you’re a party person, a meal prepper, or a picnic lover, we’ve got a salad that can do it ALL! This fresh, crunchy Southwest-inspired quinoa salad features corn, black beans, cilantro, tons of veggies, and a zippy lime vinaigrette. BIG TIME deliciousness, friends! 

It keeps well, making it perfect for BBQs, picnics, or quick lunches throughout the week. Simple ingredients and just 30 minutes required! Let us show you how it’s done! 

Salt, olive oil, lime, black beans, corn, quinoa, bell pepper, cilantro, tomatoes, red onion, and maple syrup

How to Make Black Bean Quinoa Salad

This SIMPLE black bean and quinoa salad begins with: quinoa! We often have this nutrient-packed pseudo-grain (it’s actually a seed) cooked and ready to go in our fridge, whether we’re using it to make breakfast cookies, fritters, stir-fries, or power bowls.

For this salad, you can use quinoa that you’ve made ahead, or make a fresh batch when ready to make the salad. Quinoa cooks in about 15 minutes on the stovetop and is also very easy to make in the Instant Pot (a great option for beating summertime heat!).

Saucepan of freshly cooked quinoa

Next, we chop up fresh, crunchy veggies (cherry tomatoes + bell pepper + red onion) and add corn for sweetness and cilantro for an herby touch. If you don’t like cilantro, you could leave it out or try fresh dill and/or parsley.

Then it’s on to the other main component of this salad: black beans! They boost the fiber and protein content, making this salad quite the nutrient powerhouse.

Cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, black beans, and red onion

The final component is the lime vinaigrette, made with lime juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and sea salt. To keep things super simple and ensure a 1-bowl, 30-minute situation (once your quinoa is made), we add the dressing ingredients directly into the salad and give it a stir.

After that, it’s ready to enjoy right away on its own…or topped with avocado and pepitas to make it extra filling.

Pouring a lime vinaigrette over fresh cilantro, quinoa, and vegetables

We hope you LOVE this quinoa black bean salad! It’s:

Meal prep-friendly
& SO delicious!

This protein and fiber-packed side is a great make-ahead dish for summer picnics and BBQs, lunches throughout the week, or when it’s too hot to cook!

More Grain & Bean Salads

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowls of our Southwest quinoa black bean salad topped with avocado and chili lime pepitas

Prep Time 30 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Servings 8 (~1 cup servings)

Course Side

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Southwest, Vegan

Freezer Friendly No

Does it keep? 2-3 Days

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  • 2 ½ cups cooked and cooled quinoa (3/4 cup or 138 g dry quinoa yields ~2 ½ cups or 460 g cooked)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (1 pint yields ~2 cups or 315 g)
  • 1 cup orange or red bell pepper, finely diced (1 medium bell pepper yields ~ 1 cup or 115 g)
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red onion (1/2 small onion yields ~1/3 cup or 50 g)
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed (or ~1 ½ cups homemade)
  • 3 ears fresh corn*, kernels removed (3 ears yield ~1 ½ cups or 225 g corn kernels // or sub 1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 4-5 Tbsp lime juice (2-3 limes yield ~4-5 Tbsp or 60-75 ml juice, depending on how juicy they are)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1 ¼ tsp sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • If you don’t already have cooked quinoa, prepare it at this time. In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup (138 g) dry quinoa and 1 ½ cups (360 ml) water (this will make ~2 ½ cups cooked quinoa — adjust amounts if altering default number of servings). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and continue cooking for ~12-15 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy and has expanded. Remove from the heat, stir, and set aside (covered). The quinoa will get even fluffier as it sits!

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, drained and rinsed black beans, corn, and cilantro. Toss to combine.

  • Add the cooked and cooled quinoa (it’s okay if it’s not completely cooled) along with the lime juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt and mix well. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more salt for overall flavor, lime juice for brightness, olive oil for richness, maple syrup for sweetness, or cilantro for herbiness.

  • Serve at room temperature or chilled. Optionally, garnish individual servings with diced avocado and pepitas. Leftover salad (without avocado/pepitas) keeps well in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Not freezer friendly.

*We tested this recipe with fresh, frozen, and canned corn. Fresh had the best flavor and frozen was also good. Canned corn (drained and rinsed) was okay and works in a pinch, but it’s not our preferred choice.
*Prep time/total time assumes the quinoa is already prepared. Making the quinoa will add an additional ~15 minutes.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Serving: 1 (~1 cup serving) Calories: 202 Carbohydrates: 33.8 g Protein: 7.2 g Fat: 5.4 g Saturated Fat: 0.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 374 mg Potassium: 466 mg Fiber: 7.2 g Sugar: 5.5 g Vitamin A: 162 IU Vitamin C: 30 mg Calcium: 45 mg Iron: 2 mg

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