Black Bean & Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is one of my favorite foods – and not just because you can eat it on Pesach! For the uninitiated quinoa (KEEN-wa) is a protein-packed berry, which substitutes nicely for rice or couscous and is perfect in both hot and cold dishes.

I make it often during the week, cooking it up just as I would rice, sauteeing a bit of onion and carrot and then adding quinoa, water (2:1 ratio) and some spices. On Shabbat, I like to serve it as stuffing in chicken or as a pilaf with a saucy brisket or stew.

One of my absolute favorite ways to serve quinoa, though, is in this flavor-packed and oh-so-simple Black Bean & Quinoa Salad. It doesn’t hurt that I’m also a huge fan of cilantro – and lime, both of which this recipe features liberally.

Note that I prefer to use a fork to stir in the dressing rather than a wooden spoon, to keep the quinoa kernels in tact.

Serves 4, so I usually double or triple the recipe for Shabbat.

What’s your favorite quinoa recipe? Please share it in the comments section – or link up to a post on your blog if you have blogged about quinoa.


  1. I make a VERY similar salad — not surprising, since Mara is the one who directed me toward this recipe in the first place. I use

    Soaking the quinoa can be helpful, but I think that the steaming/drying is what actually makes this recipe perfect.

    1. I use canned corn instead of fresh.
    2. Dried coriander (in a much smaller quantity than fresh)
    3. Only once have I included the bell pepper, and to be honest, I think it ruined the recipe. 🙁
    4. I don’t use jalapenos.

    • I have no doubt that the drying helps… but time-consuming, no? Fortunately we don’t have stomach issues from it, I guess.

  2. I also really like quinoa but stopped buying it because I found it much more expensive than other whole grains like brown rice, bulgur or barley. Any suggestions for getting it cheaply?

    • Costco

      It also helps to remember that quinoa is in a different category than rice, wheat, or barley. Quinoa, because it is so high is protein, can be served as a main dish (or main dish substitute for vegetarians). Compared to tofu or seitan, quinoa is quite cheap.

  3. Mara,

    I love, love, love this recipe. I am right now trying to figure out how I can make it today in the frantic hour and a half between coming home from work and the beginning of Shabbos. I want that salad!

    • Did you manage to make it? If you weren’t so far, I’d have offered you some of ours! Fortunately all you “have” to do before Shabbos is boil the quinoa and drain the beans. (Do you have zest the lime, too, maybe?)

      • Sigh, no. I didn’t get a chance to make it. We had seven guests staying with us for the weekend, and when I got home from work, things were so crazy that I forgot to cook the meat that we were supposed to have for lunch. (Plus side of over cooking for Shabbos–even without the meat or the quinoa, there was plenty to eat.)

  4. I heart this recipe! 🙂

  5. I adapted my favorite pasta salad to use with quinoa
    cook quinoa as you normally would
    let cool to room temperature
    mix in:
    chopped cucumber
    chopped scallion
    lemon zest (if you’re feeling fancy, or really like the lemon kick like I do)
    lemon juice to taste
    olive oil
    pine nuts (I often omit)
    feta cheese (obviously you can leave this out and have a perfectly delicious parve dish)
    black pepper

    I don’t have amounts on this, because I just use what I have on hand, and make it how I like it.

    • I love a lot of lemon, too! And lime! This looks yum – and simple, which is a win-win in my book. Thanks for sharing, Amy.

  6. Hi Mara,
    There’s a great quinoa recipe on the wholefood website on their recipe index.
    The quiona is made with white wine and the recipe calls for broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and cashews. It’s amazing and kosher for Passover!!!

  7. Cheeseless (Parve) Vegetable Quiche in Quinoa Crust

    1 c Quinoa
    1 c Vegetable stock
    1 c water
    2 Tbsp Earth Balance (margarine)
    2 Tbsp flour

    Cook quinoa in vegetable stock and water. Mix cooked quinoa with marg and flour to make ‘dough’. Pack into oil-sprayed 9″ pie pan, bake uncovered at 350 until brown & a little crispy. Use in place of a crust for any quiche recipe.

    Optional: mix in some basil, thyme, or both, to give it a bit more flavor.

    1 cup eggs (~4)
    1/2 cup egg whites (~5)
    1 1/3 cups soy milk
    1 tablespoon Earth Balance (margarine)
    1/8 teaspoon each: nutmeg and white pepper

    2 tablespoons Earth Balance (margarine)
    1/4 cup diced onions
    1 [4 ounce] can sliced mushrooms
    1/4 cup diced green pepper
    10 ounce baby spinach
    1/2 cup diced tomatoes (seeded)
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon white pepper

    Combine all ingredients for the egg mixture filling; blend well and set aside. Melt margarine in large skillet. Add onions, mushrooms and pepper and saute until lightly golden. Add remaining ingredients; blend well and continue cooking over low heat for about 5 minutes.

    Place vegetable mixture into Quinoa Crust, followed by egg mixture. Dot with margarine. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Remove and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

  8. Is the quinoa at Costco kosher? I am using it a lot more than previously and I don’t mind saving money.

    I just made a quinoa dish with roasted corn and black beans and it was delicious, if I say so, myself. I served it on Shabbos and it was plenty festive.

    • It is, Chaya. I can’t remember what hechsher it has, but I know it was on our va’ad-approved list.

      Did you link up to your quinoa dish? I’d love to read about it!

  9. Sweet and Easy

    Put quinoa, cinammon, craisins in water. (1 to 2 ratio of quinoa to water)
    cook as usual.

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