Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Cumin Dressing
5 from 1 vote

This black bean quinoa salad is so simple to make, but it packs a big flavor punch! It’s also loaded with plant-based nutrition from whole grains and protein-rich legumes. The salad is easy to make ahead and pack or store for easy vegan lunches.

A white, fluted plate is piled with a colorful salad of quinoa, black beans, and assorted diced vegetables.

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

A few weeks back, I presented a recipe that fell into the category of a “hurry up” meal: my white bean and summer vegetable pasta. The idea was to show you that eating vegan doesn’t mean you can’t whip up a nutritious and filling dinner in a pinch. It’s really a myth that eating plant based food is more time consuming and difficult than other eating styles.

This black bean quinoa salad is proof of how accessible quick vegan lunches and dinners can be. If you prepare the quinoa ahead of time, it takes only ten minutes to prepare. The salad keeps really well in the fridge, so you can enjoy the leftovers for days to come. I love them as part of a packed lunch box.

Lately, I’m doing my best to fit it all in. By “it,” I mean that I’m trying to make new friends, enjoy some time to myself, and look after this blog as well as be a student. My time for cooking has been limited at best. So these fast, straightforward recipes are what I need most.

I’ve already shared this make-ahead vegan grain salad with friends and fellow students, and people always ask me for the recipe. Friends, here it is.

An angled image of a colorful quinoa black bean salad, which has been piled onto a fluted, white ceramic plate. The plate is on a white surface.
A white, fluted plate is piled with a colorful salad of quinoa, black beans, and assorted diced vegetables.
5 from 1 vote

Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Cumin Dressing

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


For the salad

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed)
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped

For the cumin dressing

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Place the rinsed quinoa in a medium sized pot and add 1 3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the quinoa for 13 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork, and let it sit for 5 minutes. The quinoa can be prepared up to two days in advance of making the salad and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Add the chopped vegetables, black beans, and herbs to the quinoa.
  • Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Add the dressing to the quinoa, beans, and vegetables. Toss to combine. Taste the salad and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve or store. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.

Could it get any easier?

A white salad plate with a fluted rim has been piled with a plant-based grain salad. The salad is full of colorful vegetables and fresh herbs.

This salad is nutrient dense, a very complete protein (the quinoa itself is a complete protein, and the beans only compound its protein power), and a wonderful dish to enjoy either warm or cold. I had leftovers for a couple of days, and the salad seemed to get tastier as time went by.

Added bonus? It’s awesome with a big scoop of guacamole on top.

Speaking of being in a hurry, the science library is calling my name. Have a great start to the weekend!


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Categories: Main Dishes
Ingredients: Quinoa
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free

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Recipe Rating

  1. Yum, yum, yum. Just made this and it was delicious. Had two servings and felt good about it instead of guilty.

  2. I’ve been doing a lot of quinoa salads lately, too. And I’ve been adding massaged kale, too, which I’m sure you’d love!

  3. I like these quick and easy recipes since I don’t have much time either!! From your twitter feed it looks like you’re taking o-chem this summer? Good luck!!! I took physics during the summer and it was brutal but got the job over quickly. Lotsa flashcards helped me in ochem. And fortunately the o-chem on the MCAT is pretty easy. Lots of stuff related to the lab techniques but you don’t have to memorize a million rxns like in the class.

  4. I’ve been making a lot of different quinoa recipes lately because my husband is trying to incorporate more whole foods to his diet, so I’ll have to try this one too. Funny story… he tried to make rice and beans the other day so he make the brown rice and then mixed a can of beans with it. Then he wondered why it was so bland! Needless to say, we both need recipes for something to come out tasty!

  5. I was just searching for a way to use Quinoa in some great recipes. Thanks for this one, it sounds delicious.

    Kathy Clark
    Skype: kathyclark1945

  6. Girl, I really really cannot even kind of believe you are doing all the things you have to do in a day! You are quite literally super woman. Does your BF even get to see you at all? I want to send you some love and encouragement! You are awesome, your blog is awesome, your food is awesome. Just plain awesome. I hope that your M will purchase you a massage or something (;

  7. “The idea was to show you that eating vegan doesn’t mean you can’t whip up a nutritious and filling dinner in a pinch: it’s a myth that eating plant based food is twice as time consuming and difficult as eating an omnivorous diet”–


    It’s also a myth in the same family of myths that you can’t feed kids vegetables without doctoring them up to no end.

    And a myth that you can’t create a largely plant-based dietary path for a family without breaking the bank or spending tons of time doing so. Wrong!

    I know I spend far less money and time on what I feed my family than most women and I don’t sacrifice taste!

    I would love to try your quinoa salad. And so happy you’re finding things that are easy, great, and suit YOU perfectly.

    Have a great weekend, Gena 🙂

  8. This quinoa mexican salad dish looks amazing! I’m always looking for more vegan crowd pleasers, so this will come in super handy. Can’t wait to make it!

    Good luck with classes- i’m sure you’re doing great!

  9. My 11 year old mostly vegan daughter comes home from sleep away camp on Sunday. Yipee!!! Thank you Gena for reminding me that it’s time to ramp up some of the simpler vegan delights–any whole grain+bean+chopped veg+a little seasoning is a phenomenal recipe for vegan success in my house!

  10. This looks great!
    ps. Wakame with your peanut tomato sauce is my favorite pack and bring along lunch! Sometimes I put strawberries on top. Yum! Keep inspring me with your awesome ideas! Happy Friday =)

  11. My rice cooker is such a time and life saver! I look forward to seeing more quick, easy, rice cooker friendly recipes. Keep up the good work!

  12. Yum! I loved your last hurry up vegan post and I expect this to be just as delicious! I have my last container of Summer Veggie Pasta for lunch, so I’ll be whipping this up soon!

  13. I’ve been on a quinoa bowl streak myself this summer, mixing it up between the red and white variety, and adding either a legume or edamame plus some light veggies. I find it’s a combo that I can rely on to feel my best after lunch during this summer heat heartier/fattier fare feels too heavy. I’ll be trying your lovely looking creation next!

    P.S. I hope you’ll cut yourself some slack in your grueling schedule whenever possible, and not neglect that all-important playtime. Hugs

  14. I love hurry up meals! There’s a small vegan cafe I love that serves a quinoa salad as a side dish, and it looks a lot like yours because it also black beans and peppers. Guac sounds like a great topping, but so does a scoop of hummus!

  15. Yummy!! I actually made a similar quinoa salad the other day, and I planned on posting it Monday! It’s a bit more Mexican-themed — fresh, raw corn, and some smoked chipotle powder. Yum!

  16. I love quinoa. Partly because it’s just so much fun, but also because it packs a great nutritional punch (with beans or all on it’s own). And guac goes with everything!

  17. I love beans & quinoa together they always seem to fit perfectly, this salad looks delish and so simple!