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.
This sounds delicious! Cumin is a favourite of mine:)
Oh, wow, this one looks like a filling salad! I’ve been searching for something like that since the unbearable heat over here in Germany makes it impossible to eat something else in the office but a salad.
The pictures look gorgeous considering you took them on the way out the door!
I’m just started to try to develop recipes on my own and it’s so much harder and more frustrating than I could have ever imagined.
I love the simplicity of this salad. It’s kind of similar to one you’ve made before that I’ve made several times and love, so I know it’s good!
Mmm, cumin is probably my favourite spice! I don’t use it enough. I know what I’ll be having for lunch tomorrow!
I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has recipe ‘disasters’ :-)
I can only imagine how perfectly that dressing compliments the dish! Such wonderful summery flavors to make a filling, yet not too heavy meal. My relatives just might be seeing this at the next family get together :)
What an amazing flavor combination! Such a perfect summer salad.
What a beautiful salad! It’s so summery and I love the combination of flavors.
I love the combination of cumin and lime! And the grated carrot on the top is so pretty :) I agree with you re: vegan baked goods. A while ago, I wanted to make a vegan pink lemonade cake and I had to make (and throw out) 2 different cakes before I finally came up with something decent. Salads and dressings are much easier…with fresh ingredients you know which flavors really pop together and you can build on that.
This looks great. Can the oil be left out for an oil free option?
You probably could, but you’d have to rework the dressing a bit (likely add more sweetener to make up for the zip of the lime juice)
I also wanted to go oil free in the dressing so I omitted the oil and substituted some tahini and water until I had the right flavour and consistency. It was delicious!
Will try this for sure with the tahini and water substitute
I love cumin! It’s one of those spices that reminds me of my childhood. My mom used a lot of it and I love the addition of lime and with the beans. Mmmm. I bet this is tasty and it looks so hearty & healthy!
Love this, especially because it can be made ahead. This would be perfect for work lunches!
Quinoa and black beans are two of my favorite things! That dressing sounds light and summery as well. Love salads in the summer.
Recipe development is a tricky thing. It can go so right, or so so wrong. Baking is so much more difficult for me than cooking. Cooking comes so easy to me and I have no problem pairing ingredients and flavors. Baking.. is a whole other story. It is like a science experiment, and it is so much harder to get the perfect recipe when you are subbing vegan ingredients.
I do something really similar with avocado, roasted corn and halved cherry tomatoes added. The dressing however is completely different and this one sounds amazing…hmmm, cumin is one of my faves! Looking forward to making this!
This sounds awesome! Thank you for this great recipe (and all your other recipes)!
I agree with Lauren. This is definitely going to be my work lunch for a few days next week. Thank you for my future yummy lunches.
This is perfect! I was trying to think of what to make for lunch today with what little is in my fridge and cupboard… but I have all of this! Thanks Angela. :)
This was soooooo good! I saved leftovers and tomorrow I’m going throw some mango and avocado on there. :)
Yummy! You can’t go wrong with quinoa and black beans :) Thanks for sharing!
I definitely need to try this :)
yum — this looks like the perfect summer salad and now I’m craving it for lunch. I bet the carrots give it a perfect sweet crunch. and quinoa, black beans, and cilantro are always winning ingredients in my book!
Looks delicious! Cumin and lime pair so well together! I always use them when I make mexican inspired dishes!
This is really similar to my favourite go-to quinoa salad! http://thedomesticblonde.com/2013/04/05/julias-favourite-go-to-quinoa-salad-with-honey-lime-dressing/
Gorgeous looking salad!
I could not agree more with the frustrating side of vegan recipe creation. Over the weekend I made a lemon cake with raspberry coconut cream frosting and everything tasted perfect except for the cake’s consistency was off. The coconut cream frosting also had an odd sweetness to it. Instead of throwing my scribbled recipe away, I switched up the ingredients, nixed the frosting and came up with a pretty amazing flourless lemon cake!
I love the sound of this! Awesome idea!
Wow, just made this….so yummy and satisfying….making the almond butter cups this afternoon. Thanks for great recipes:))))
Wow, that was fast! Thanks for trying it out :)
Quinoa salads are great, but the problem is the dressings… Most quinoa recipes lack any real sauce or dressing and end up quite boring. The flavors of your cumin/lime dressing and the ingredients in the salad sound so good together — I can’t wait to try this combo!
Thanks Andrew- hope you enjoy it!
Do you think swapping out the black beans for lentils would be an okay substitution?
Sure, why not! Black lentils might be a nice addition in particular because I love their slightly crunchy texture and they hold together very well.
I’m back in Toronto now. You should fly out to visit me. xoxo
I saw you are back!! promise I’m not stalking you on instagram ;) Hope to see you soon
that combination of ingredients sounds awesome!
Anything with black beans and lime and salad, I will definitely try. I love them in combinations for summer. Thanks for sharing! It’s next on my list.
Great salad! I’ll make this today after a quick trip to the farmer’s market. Fresh sweet corn may make an appearance too!
I’ve made about six or seven of your recipes, Angela, and I’ve loved them all! Thank you so much, not only for these amazing dishes, but for being an inspiration on being healthy and happy:)
(Just made the Raw Almond Butter Cups last night…they are almost gone already!)
Hey Beth, So happy to hear the recipes are being enjoyed so much! That makes me a happy girl. :)
Love quick and easy recipes, especially involving cumin, beans, and quinoa! ;)
Oooh this reminds me of that tasty quinoa black bean mango salad from Veganomicon which I love so much and had actually planned to make tomorrow :) Your pics are so pretty, I especially love that pouring shot.
This looks absolutely beautiful – I’m going to try it tonight with the avocado you mention at the end. I’m in love with your Green Monsters, too, by the way. Thanks for all you do on this site – I’m constantly inspired to try new recipes!
Thanks Allie, I appreciate it :) hope u enjoy the salad!
The picture of your food resembles the quinoa salad available at Trader Joe’s but a million times more fresh, clean, and delicious looking. I can only wish to create such a dish, so I shall live vicariously through your pictures and keep buying my lame version at TJ’s. Your talent is incredible. Thank you for sharing!
This is EXACTLY how I make your black bean avocado lime salad! (I make the dressing differently, just lime cumin olive oil, salt, plus garlic and shallots). I started adding quinoa to make it something a little more than just beans. Love it!
This sounds so good Ange! I’m on a huge lime and cilantro kick right now, and this dressing sounds perfect. Sometimes the best recipes come as a result of not having a plan at all, and I think that’s why I tend to opt for salad creations most often. It’s hard to go wrong with all that colour!
This sounds delicious! Such a great combination of flavours, and so filling! Can’t wait to try this salad!
This looks so delicious and simple as well!
I made this earlier today for dinner tonight and it is delicious! I bet it tastes even better tonight once all the flavors meld. The only substitution I made was using red onion because I didn’t have any green onion on hand. I’m so glad I doubled the recipe so we can have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Will definitely make this again!
I’ve been looking for a new salad recipe to serve at my sister-in-law’s baby shower next weekend and this is now it! I made this to tonight and it is amazing! My sister-in-law hates cilantro so I substituted it for parsley and arugula. I also added jicama and diced avocados – seriously the best salad I’ve eaten all summer!!
Love your subs! Will have to try that this week :)
Oh my, this looks delicious! I love the lime/black bean/quinoa combination. So simple yet I’ve never tried it. Your dressing looks amazing too. I’m pinning it and making it soon.
What a delicious salad! Love the mixture that you made for it. :)
I just made this and loved it! It has the perfect balance of flavours. Thank you, this is a keeper!
Thanks Angela! Perfect recipe just in time for me to use all the cilantro I have! I added avocado since I had one on hand. Loved the dressing.
Quinoa salads are the MOST amazing! Thank you for sharing!
This looks delicious. So fresh, light, summery and a perfect meal for lunch or dinner. I love pairing lime with a spice (black pepper) so I bet you really hit the spot with cumin. I can always count on you for creating delicious recipes and I think this salad might be appearing for tonight’s dinner! Great addition of qunioa – it’s my favourite grain.
This looks really yummy, thanks!
Angela, we love your website and recipes! Dr. Scott and Kristen Stoll would love talk with you sometime! Contact us anytime. A one hour conference call would take less than 1% of your month but might make a lifetime of difference. Thanks again for all your great recipes! Keep them coming!!
Wow! Another hit…I had all the ingredients & had to whip it up. Easy & delish!
I stumbled on your site 4 days ago & have already made the Rad Pad Thai (twice), almond bites and this dish. Oh my so good! We are actually not vegans, but you are giving me a great start towards transforming. Planning to make your lentil loaf soon.
Thank you for following your passion and sharing with the rest of us!