Recipe creation is a funny thing. There are those moments when no amount of testing produces the result I’m looking for. I’ll put so much work into a recipe, only to have it fall short after hours (or days) of work. Vegan baked goods are notorious for being fussy at times, especially when trying to make something wholesome without sacrificing flavour. I usually toss the recipe into my reject pile, in case I’m ever crazy enough to dig it out. Sometimes I am. Other times, I don’t want anything to do with it. ever. again.
Then there are moments, like this salad recipe, that come together effortlessly. With no real plan or guide, I just follow my instincts and taste buds. That’s the best kind of recipe! Summer dishes shine like this which is why I love creating new dishes this time of the year. Things are more simple and the fresh ingredients speak for themselves.
On Friday, we were rushing to get out the door for a weekend at the in-laws and I had a small window of opportunity to throw some food together. I usually try to bring a big batch of Vegan overnight oats, some snacks like hummus and crackers and fruit, and a hearty grain and bean salad. Booze, to balance it all out. Thankfully, I had some cooked quinoa in the fridge and then from there I pulled out a few ingredients from the crisper, decided on an overall flavour, and then whisked together a simple dressing to pour on top.
Black beans. Quinoa. Green onions. Carrots. Cilantro. Cumin. Lime. Love.
Oh, and don’t forget to shoot some quick photos before throwing it into a container and flying out the door!!
Fresh. Delicious. Ready in the amount of time it takes to cook a batch of quinoa. I’ll take it!
If you’re looking for a simple salad to prepare for a road trip, picnic, or just a light lunch, I hope you’ll give this a try! I like to make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. I have a few more family gatherings this week due to some very special visitors and I already plan on making it at least two more times this week. What can I say, when I like something I want to make it all the time.
Tangy Cilantro-Lime Quinoa Salad
This black bean quinoa salad is so fresh and tangy! It's delicious paired with creamy avocado and fresh pita bread or crackers. If you're not as big of a fan as I am of tangy/acidic dressings, feel free to reduce the amount of lime juice called for.
For the salad:
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can black beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots, julienned (about 1 1/2 cups) or 1 large chopped and roasted sweet potato
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- Fine grain sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Lemon-Tahini Dressing (optional)
- Sliced avocado (optional)
- Endurance Crackers, pita bread, or crackers of choice (optional)
For the dressing:
- 5 to 5 1/2 tablespoons (75 to 82.5 mL) fresh lime juice, to taste
- 4 tablespoons (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure maple syrup, or to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
- To prepare the quinoa: Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Add into pot along with 1.5 cups (375 mL) water or veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium, and then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 14 to 17 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat and steam with the lid on for 5 additional minutes. Fluff with fork and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss the quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, cilantro, carrots (or roasted sweet potato), and green onions.
- Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl or jar. Adjust to taste if desired. Pour onto salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste until everything pops.
- Spoon into bowl and drizzle on some Lemon-Tahini Dressing. Top with sliced avocado and serve with Endurance Crackers, if desired.
- The flavours tend to mellow when this salad sits in the fridge, as the quinoa absorbs the dressing a lot. I recommend giving it a "refresh" by adding a squeeze of lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and more seasonings to taste. Stir it all together, and taste.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
Another thought – this would also be fantastic with diced avocado and/or mango! Summer tomatoes too. Have fun playing around with the recipe…it’s a good one to adapt.
Soooo delicious! And really easy to make too – too good to be true!
I just made this salad and it is hands down the best quinoa salad I have ever had!! Thank you so much for posting :)
I made this today and it was just perfect. I added a cucumber and grape tomatoes (just cause I had them on hand) and because I was short on quinoa, used amaranth for half the grain. I toasted the cumin before grinding it and adding it to seasoning and that was a nice special touch to what was already the perfect blend. Thank you so much Angela!
Love this salad, especially with the lemon tahini dressing! I’m making it again now for the second time. Delicious!
Just made it for lunch and it was awesome! I absolutely loved the combination of the flavours; thank you so much for the recipe!
it says lime-tahini dressing. Should there be tahini in it?
Always looking for good vegan, gluten free recipes…. And this one is delicious! Not too salty, not too sweet, just right. Pop goes my taste buds! Love it…keep ‘Em coming.
This was absolutely fantastic and so flavorful. I made the lemon-tahini dressing to go with it, and it really added a great extra kick. Plus, it was quick and easy to make. I’ll make this again for sure!
Oh my gawd, this salad, with the tahini sauce and side of hummus, is absolutely to die for. Don’t skip the tahini sauce! It’s worth every scrumptious bite. Thanks so much!!
This has become one of my most favorite recipes!! The flavor combination is seriously mind-blowing!!! Keeping this forever and ever!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for such an incredible recipe!
I made this salad a few days ago and it’s fantastic. I also made the endurance crackers. Unbelievably delicious ! I brought the crackers and salad to work and shared with my coworkers. They were equally impressed. The cumin dressing is so good and with a drizzle of the tahini dressing, it put the salad over the top. I just made another batch of the crackers . I’m addicted !!!! Thank you !!!!
This looks so fantastic, however everyone in my house despises cilantro. :/ Is there anything I can substitute for that ingredient that would ‘work’ with this recipe??
All of the flavors in this salad are absolutely delicious! And so filling with great plant based protein with the black beans and quinoa. The tahini-lemon dressing to drizzle over is excellent in it, really adds that extra flavor and earthiness, I highly recommend using it. Also, a good end note about leftovers. The quinoa definitely absorbs the dressing in the fridge. Luckily it’s easy to zest it back up the next day — a squeeze of lime, a little more cumin, a drizzle of olive oil and it’s back again. Loved it :)
Thanks so much for the lovely comment, Michael. I’m so glad you enjoyed the salad!!
Just made this (with lemon, did not have lime)…it is a amazing! Thanks for your great recipes!!
This salad is de-lish! I made it exactly as written and it is awesome. My husband has heart disease (those pesky bad genes!) so we are trying a plant-based diet to see if it works any better than medication alone. It is scary changing so drastically – so finding a slam-dunk so early in my search for good recipes is really encouraging. Thanks for this! I will definitely be trying more of your recipes.
Hi Tracie, It’s so great to hear the recipe was a hit! Transitioning to a new diet can definitely be daunting, and I hope as you explore my blog more you find even more recipes to enjoy and love. I’m sending your husband tons of well wishes for good health!
I’m excited to make this, but I have a question about the “Lemon Tahini” dressing mentioned in the Salad Ingredient list. Is that a separate recipe or another dressing option? I got confused because the dressing recipe listed for the salad doesn’t call for lemons or tahini.
Hi Claudia, great question! The Lemon-Tahini dressing is an optional, additional dressing you can drizzle over top of the salad, if the mood strikes you! It can be found here.
I love to make a similar salad and add corn (from a can if in a hurry) and chopped cucumber too. The flavours are so good together!! Thanks for the recipe!
I made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious! I didn’t have any black beans on hand so I used chick peas and that worked great.
This salad is awesome! So easy, great flavor and healthy – all in one!
This looks amazing! How long would the dressing last for in a fridge?
Hey Charlotte, Thank you! It should be fine in the fridge in an airtight container or jar for 5 to 7 days. Hope this helps!
I made this last night, and I’m having it for lunch right now. It is FANTASTIC! I just found your website on recommendation of my vegan friend, and I can now say that I will be preparing many more meatless dishes in the future!!
Hey Anne, Wonderful news, thank you! I hope you enjoy many more recipes to come :)
It says lemon-tahini dressing but there is no tahini??? Am I missing something?
Oh I’m so sorry, that dressing is supposed to link to this dressing: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/05/12/lightened-up-protein-power-goddess-bowl/
It’s nice drizzled on top, but it’s optional! :)
I love your recipes, Angela! Thanks for helping me discover that vegan cooking can be so easy and delicious.
Can’t help noticing that the lemon-tahini dressing has no lemon in it but instead lime :)
Giving this recipe a try for lunch this week.
Oh thank you so much for the kind words about my recipes! Really happy to hear that.
The Lemon-Tahini dressing is actually supposed to link to the lemon tahini dressing on my blog! It’s wonderful drizzled on top. I will have to update this recipe :)
This dish is the bomb. I think I could eat it everyday. My husband and I are doing a cleanse which took a lot of things out of our vegan diet (soy, wheat, tomatos, peppers, etc) so we were looking for a dish that would be super tasty and not have any of those things. This is that dish. Luckily, he made extra quinoa, so we’ll whip up another 8 servings right away. So good and so easy to make.
Thanks Stephanie! So happy to hear that :)
I’m traveling out-of-town this weekend, and so excited that I found this recipe!! Looking forward to enjoying this salad, rather than taking the risk and eating at a restaurant. I have been searching for this type of flavorful, salad!! Sounds so delicious!!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this salad! And so does everyone else I’ve made it for ! (Numerous times…) Such a fresh taste, so healthy.. YUMMMM…
Any time I go to a picnic or bbq, I make a double-sized portion of this recipe. It is such a tried-and-true hit every time! Yesterday I was at a bbq party, and people were actually scraping the bowl to get every last grain of quinoa. Three different people asked me to share the recipe with them. Thank you for making such a wonderful recipe!