Quick, healthy, vegan quinoa black bean salad tossed with avocado slices, cilantro and grapes, and tossed in a simple lime juice vinaigrette.
Best of all, this quinoa salad recipe can be ready in under 30 minutes, or ready in about 15 minutes if you have a stash of cooked quinoa on hand.Jump to Recipe
Want to make this recipe perfectly the first time? I want to help with that. So, check out this Table of Contents to see which sections of this post will help you the most.
We all need salads like this as the weather warms up. It's healthy, gorgeous and delicious. Best of all, it comes together in about 30 minutes.
Quinoa is ideal for salads, especially if they have citrus in them or are tossed in a citrus based vinaigrette. For example, this Quinoa Salad with Zucchini and Tomatoes is finished with a squirt of lemon. And this Moroccan Citrus Salad with Quinoa includes oranges as a major ingredient, and orange juice is part of the vinaigrette.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Outside of dicing the onion, the meal prep for this recipe is minimal.
- It's gluten free thanks to the quinoa.
- Easy and quick. If you have quinoa already made or purchase it frozen, this salad can be made in around 15 minutes.
🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
The secret to faster and easier meals often lies in the ingredients. For example, store-bought items and ingredients you make ahead and store in the refrigerator (or freezer) can turn a 60-minute recipe into a 30-minutes meal or less.
For the all of the ingredients, measurements and directions, go to the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
- Vegetable broth - I recommend Better Than Bouillon Roasted Vegetable Base. Otherwise, a good boxed / canned vegetable broth is Swanson's.
- Quinoa - I used white quinoa, but you can also use red or tricolor quinoa. A quicker option is to purchase frozen cooked quinoa, sold in bags in the frozen foods section of some markets.
- Yellow onion - white onion is fine too.
- Black beans - Use either canned black beans or cook your own from dried. If you start with dried beans, follow these instructions for cooking them on the stove, in the slow cooker, or Instant Pot. If you go with canned beans, be sure to look for ones with BPA-free linings and no added salt.
- Red grapes
- Lime juice
- Sunflower kernels
- Nutritional yeast
- Herbs and Spices - I use cumin powder and fresh cilantro
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💡Ideas for Possible Variations
- Use rice in place of the quinoa. If you want to take this path, check out this post on how to make fluffy rice, whether it's brown or white rice.
- Make this a southwest quinoa and black bean salad. To do this, replace the grapes with corn and swap the yellow onion for red onion.
- Exchange the grapes for cherry tomatoes.
⏰ Tips to Simplify and Save Time
- Make the quinoa ahead of time, and store in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Some markets sell frozen cooked quinoa in their freezer cases. It only needs to be steamed for a few minutes to be ready to use.
- If you cook your black beans from dried instead of using canned black beans, make the beans ahead. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Quinoa, Avocado and Black Bean Salad
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa I used white
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- ¾ cup yellow onion diced
- 1 can black beans (or 1 ½ cups black beans cooked from dried)
- 2 garlic cloves minced ( or 1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ cup halved red grapes
- ½ cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped + more for garnish
- 1 avocado pit removed and diced into chunks
- ¼ cup sunflower kernels
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Prep the quinoa by rinsing while rubbing the seed between your palms. This removes much of the saponin from the seeds, which can be bitter. For more details, check out this post on how to make perfect fluffy quinoa.
- Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer in a small pot over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the black beans, garlic, cumin, and grapes, cooking for a few minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat, and add to the bowl. Toss all together.
- Add the cilantro, avocado, sunflower kernels, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Whisk together the lime juice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add it to the salad and gently toss everything together. Add additional olive oil and lime juice if the salad is too dry, and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve garnished with extra chopped cilantro and a couple of lime slices in case anyone wants a small squeeze of fresh lime juice.