This easy Quinoa and Black Bean Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing makes the perfect healthy lunch or dinner.
During hot summer months, I am constantly making batches of salads to have for quick and easy healthy lunches and dinners and this Mexican-inspired salad with quinoa, black beans, corn, and a creamy citrus avocado dressing is at the top of the list.
The dressing is creamy from the avocado, slightly spicy from the ancho chili powder, and just sweet enough from the orange juice and honey. Then paired with the hearty quinoa, earthy black beans, and sweet summer corn - it makes one delicious salad. When I am really hungry I add some grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, or tofu to the mix as well for some extra protein.
This simple and healthy quinoa black bean salad is a must-try. It incorporates a bunch of healthy and delicious superfoods, such as avocado, cilantro, black beans, and quinoa. It is super flavorful and has grown to be one of my favorite salads to make.
Quinoa salads are so delicious and packed with health benefits. I love to include this plant-based grain in my salads for added nutritional value and texture. Black beans are also staples in my diet due to their high contents of protein and fiber. Both quinoa and black beans are packed with protein. Thus, this hearty vegetarian salad is very filling as an entree or side dish.
These salads are perfect to add to your meal-prep or dinner rotation. They are tasty and can be prepared rather quickly. If you are a fan of quinoa salads like myself, feel free to check out some of our other recipes like this Honey Lime Kale and Quinoa Salad and Southwestern Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad.
Key Ingredients For This Quinoa Black Bean Salad:
This hearty salad is full of healthy, immune-boosting ingredients. Many of these ingredients may already be stocked in your pantry but can also easily be found at your local grocery store.
- Quinoa: This plant-based grain is gluten-free and full of antioxidants. It also boasts contents of Vitamin B, Vitamin E, protein, iron, calcium, and magnesium. I love to add this superfood to my salad since it is very healthy and tasty. It also provides a great, crunchy texture.
- Black Beans: These beans are great topping in salads and are full of protein, fiber, and iron, and Vitamin B6. They have also been known to possess properties that lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Avocado: This superfood is rich in good fats and vitamins like Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. It also contains significant contents of fiber, potassium, and protein. It also allows for a unique variety of textures in this quinoa salad.
- Corn: It contains high amounts of immune-boosting antioxidants and minerals, such as Vitamin B, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Corn, like beans, is rich in fiber. Thawed frozen corn works as well since the vegetable is currently out of season. I love to incorporate roasted corn for this salad if I have any on hand. This elevates the texture and provides a smoky flavor.
- Orange: Oranges add both sweetness and tartness to this recipe. It’s one of those surprise ingredients that make the salad something special. Plus it’s packed with Vitamin C.
- Cilantro: This popular herb is high in vitamins, especially Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. It has also been known to improve blood sugar levels and heart health. It makes a great addition to this recipe based on flavor and health benefits.
- Lime Juice: This sour, versatile fruit is a great feature in this recipe. It also contains properties that have been known to boost metabolic health and provide a great source of Vitamin C.
Recipe Tips & Tricks:
- Add protein: This recipe already contains a bunch of great plant-based protein. Shredded chicken, shrimp, tofu, hard-boiled eggs, and salmon are all possible additions to this salad for added nutritional value.
- Switch up your toppings: I love to get creative with my salad toppings and customize them based on my cravings or current season. This basic recipe only requires a few ingredients so mix and match as you please. More vegetables, such as mushrooms, or seeds make good toppings. Mixed bell peppers also make a colorful and nutritious addition to this dish.
- Make it sweeter: Add honey or agave for some added sweetness in this dish. Honey also has a ton of health benefits and antioxidants. The ingredient has been reclaimed for its benefits on cholesterol and heart health.
- Add greens: Leafy greens, such as arugula, kale, spinach, and romaine, are all great additions to this dish. They also add nutritional value and protein to this yummy salad.
Frequently Asked Questions About This Quinoa Black Bean Salad:
Is this recipe good for meal prep?
This is a great make-ahead salad! I love to make it the night before so that the flavors have plenty of time to develop. It can last in the refrigerator for up to four days in a tightly sealed container. Just make sure to pack the greens, dressing, and orange separately so things don’t get soggy.
Serve as a side dish or mix in some extra protein for a hearty meal that will leave you full for hours on end.
Can I use shortcut quinoa for this salad?
If you are short on time, feel free to use frozen quinoa as an alternative to freshly cooked. Defrost it in the microwave for about half of the cooking time for optimal results. Cooked quinoa can also last in the freezer for up to eight months in an airtight container. Prepare some in advance to keep on hand to whip up quinoa-based salads quickly and easily in the future.
Looking for more healthy salad recipes?
Mexican Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
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- 8 cups mixed greens
- 1.5 cups canned black beans
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup corn (canned or fresh, I roasted mine)
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 orange, segmented
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime, juice
- 1 orange, juice
- 1 tsp. honey (or agave for vegan)
- 1/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
- 1/8 cup cilantro
- 2 tbsp. water (more or less as needed)
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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