Black Bean Quinoa Rainbow Salad Recipe | Healthy Recipes | PBS Food

Black Bean Quinoa Rainbow Salad

Black Bean Quinoa Rainbow Salad recipe

This black bean quinoa rainbow salad recipe is rich in proteins, vitamins, and antioxidants. (Recipe Courtesy: Aube Giroux of Kitchen Vignettes)


Yield: 4-6 servings


  • For the salad:
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (2/3 cup uncooked)
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (1 1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 mango, cubed
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • 1 medium-large cooked sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 minced jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped (about 2 cups of loose, chopped cilantro)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice (2 to 3 limes)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 medium garlic cloves (3 cloves for the garlic lovers!)


  1. For the beans: If you can, soak and prepare dry beans instead of using canned beans for this recipe. It's cheaper, and they will hold together better and be less mushy. You can use any variety of black beans. To cook the beans from scratch, simply place 1 1/2 cup of dry beans in a bowl of warm water, making sure the water covers them by at least 2 inches. Leave them to soak for about 18 to 20 hours, changing the water about halfway through. Once the beans have finished soaking, rinse them and drain them, then place in them in a medium pot filled with fresh water, covering the beans by at least 2 inches. Do not add any salt to the cooking water or it will toughen the beans as they cook. Bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat down to a low gentle simmer. Depending on the size of the bean, they can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to cook. Be sure to check them often after the initial 45 minutes of cooking, piercing them with a fork or tasting them frequently to make sure they don't overcook. They are ready when they're soft and tender but not mushy or falling apart. Once they're cooked, drain them and let them cool, then place them in a large mixing bowl.
  2. For the quinoa: Most quinoa instructions call for a ratio of one part quinoa to two parts water but this tends to yield an overcooked, mushy quinoa which is not desirable for this type of salad. I find less water results in a more fluffy quinoa that has a nice bite to it. To get 2 cups of perfectly 'al dente' quinoa, rinse your quinoa thoroughly under running water, using a fine mesh sieve. Drain it well and then place it in a small lidded pot, along with 3/4 cup water. Bring the water to a boil on high heat, then immediately reduce to low heat and simmer gently with the lid on for about 8 more minutes, or until most but not all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is very 'al dente'. Remove from heat and keep the lid on, letting the quinoa rest for about 15 minutes to absorb the remaining water and finish cooking. It will be light and fluffy, and nicely chewy.
  3. To assemble: Add the cooled quinoa to the beans, as well as all the rest of the ingredients: the chopped fruits and vegetables, cilantro, salt and pepper. In a small lidded jar, mix the honey into the lime juice, until it begins to dissolve. Place the remaining salad dressing ingredients in the jar and shake it vigorously until the honey is fully dissolved and the dressing is well-mixed. Pour the dressing on top of the salad and toss everything together gently so you don't mash up the beans and avocado too much. Although you can serve it right away, letting the salad rest for about 30 minutes before serving will allow the flavors of the dressing to soak in.
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