This flavor-packed healthy vegetarian Mexican Black Bean and Quinoa Salad combines gluten free quinoa and hearty black beans with sweet corn, red bell pepper, queso fresco, and Hatch green chile. This hearty salad gets tossed with a zesty chipotle and citrus vinaigrette that you're sure to love! Serve as a vegetarian main dish, or as a side dish... It comes together in about half an hour! Delicioso!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
It's summer in the south Texas' Rio Grande Valley, and salads are so appealing! Every year I try to come up with a few new ideas like quinoa a la Mexicana, grilled panzanella salad, and Peruvian lima bean salad.
This year, Hatch green chiles were "calling my name." I'm returning to my beloved New Mexico in a few days, and hope to return with as many of the flavorful green pods as Southwest Airlines will allow! While Hatch green chiles are not easy to find in south Texas, I can find them. With that in mind, I started working on this Mexican black bean and quinoa salad. I hope you like it as much as we do!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- black beans - You can use either rinsed and drained canned black beans, or cooked dried beans, but you must start with fully cooked beans.
- quinoa - Most quinoa (that I'm familiar with) requires about 10 minutes cooking time. Follow the instructions on your specific quinoa package for liquid amounts and cooking time. I highly recommend thoroughly rinsing, and toasting the quinoa in a dry pan prior to cooking.
- green chile - If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you may be aware of my love affair with Hatch green chile. I can't always get it. I have used roasted, peeled, and seeded poblano chile, and they're great.
- bell pepper - Do you eat with your eyes like I do? I use red or orange bell pepper to maximize the colors in the quinoa salad!
- cheese - I specify queso fresco, but feta and cotija are good too.
- corn - On photo day, I grilled my corn, and when I have time, this is my preference. However, frozen and thawed corn is fine.
- fresh orange juice - The freshest ingredients yield the best results! Squeeze an orange (any variety)!
- olive oil
- vinegar - My "go to" choice is sherry vinegar. White or red wine vinegar, and champagne vinegar are great too.
- smoked paprika
- ground chipotle powder
- dijon mustard
- shallot or red onion
- Thoroughly rinse the quinoa to remove the saponin. Quinoa has a coating called saponin that can make the cooked quinoa taste bitter or soapy.
- Add the rinsed quinoa to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast the quinoa in a dry pan for about 2 minutes. This step enhances the nutty flavor of quinoa.
- Add liquid, salt, and quinoa to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook quinoa until liquid is absorbed - about 10-20 minutes. NOTE: Liquid can be water or broth/stock. Check package directions for more accurate cooking time.
- When liquid is absorbed, remove from heat. Keep it covered, and allow the quinoa to steam for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and allow to cool.
- While the quinoa cooks and then cools, prepare the dressing and the other salad ingredients.
- Grilling your corn? You may want to start the grill, and grill the corn before making the quinoa. It's a toss up timewise.
- Make the dressing - Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Prepare the remaining ingredients - Rinse and drain the black beans, chop the green chile and bell pepper, cube the queso fresco, prepare the corn.
- Assemble the salad - Add the prepared quinoa, veggies, and cheese to a salad bowl.
- Dress the salad - Pour the dressing over top, then toss thoroughly to combine. Garnish with fresh lime and cilantro as desired. Enjoy!
To make the best quinoa, thoroughly rinse the quinoa, AND, toast it in a dry saucepan before adding the liquid.
If you can't find Hatch green chile, substitute roasted, peeled, and seeded poblano chiles.
Yes! You can store it in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days, and it tastes great. I love it for lunch the next day!
This black bean and quinoa salad stands on its own as a light and nutritious vegetarian meal. However, it also makes a great side dish. If you're not following plant-based diet, try it with grilled tajín chicken breasts or Mexican grilled shrimp.
After years of cooking quinoa, and having a less than "fluffy" result, I started using 1 ¾ cup liquid to 1 cup quinoa. Most quinoa packages specify a 1:2 ratio.
🧂 Useful Stuff
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I'm cooking for two, so we enjoy this salad twice. It retains its flavor and texture for a couple of days, so I'm thinking it might be "meal prep" worthy. I'm going to give it a try, and will update when I do!