Fiesta Mango Quinoa Salad with black beans, corn, and chili-lime dressing. This 20 minute quinoa salad is vegan, gluten free, and perfect for entertaining.
Why You’ll Love This Mango Quinoa Salad:
This quinoa salad with black beans has been one of my go-to’s for YEARS. It’s always a hit at potlucks and cookouts, and well-suited for make-ahead lunches. I mean, what’s NOT to love about a riot of texture and flavor in a 20 minute salad?
You can serve this salad as a side dish or the main event. The quinoa and black beans offer enough protein to make it plenty satiating. Not to mention the heart-healthy fats from the olive oil and seeds, which add lots of staying power. Serve it with chicken, fish, burgers, or on its own for a light lunch.
Truly, summer salads don’t get easier, versatile, or more flavorful than this.
- Quinoa: Most think of quinoa as a grain, however it’s actually a seed with an impressive nutrition profile. Quinoa is high in protein plus naturally gluten free, making this salad perfectly suitable for those avoiding grains.
- Black beans: You need one can of black beans for this salad, which offers a one-two punch of protein and fiber. You can also use chickpeas or edamame here, if you prefer.
- Frozen corn: I love using Trader Joe’s frozen fire-roasted corn, however any sweet corn will work. Just make sure you completely thaw it prior to stirring it in the salad.
- Fresh Veggies: This salad also calls for red onion, red bell pepper, and cilantro. I also suggest adding a chopped jalapeño, however that’s totally optional.
- Mango: The star of the salad is sweet chunks of mango, which you can purchase pre-sliced or whole. Also, don’t be afraid to use canned or frozen when mango isn’t in season.
This salad also contains a chili-lime dressing, which only contains 5 ingredients. All you need is olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and some honey.
As far as the toppings, I love adding pumpkin seeds and avocado, however those are totally optional. Trust me, the salad is plenty flavorful and satisfying on it’s own!
This recipe comes together in 20 minutes, and most of it can be made ahead. Here’s how to make it:
Step 1: Cook the Quinoa
Start by combining the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer, covered, until the quinoa is fluffy. This usually takes about 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, and transfer quinoa to large bowl.
Step 2: Add the Mango, Black Beans, and Veggies
Next, stir in the mango, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, red onion, and cilantro. If your corn is still pretty cold from the freezer, the residual heat from the quinoa will warm it up quickly.
Step 3: Prepare the Chili-Lime Dressing
Prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, lime juice, honey, chili powder, and cumin in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until smooth, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 4: Mix the Dressing into the Quinoa Salad
Pour the chili-lime dressing into the quinoa salad, and toss to combine. At this point, you can garnish the salad with pumpkin seeds, avocado, green onion, or more cilantro. And finally, serve!
FAQs About This Recipe:
Is Quinoa Healthy?
Pronounced “keen-wah”, this pseudo seed has an impressive nutrient profile (see below). Quinoa has a rich, nutty flavor and is extremely versatile in cooking. If I’m not using it in a salad or wrap, I use it as a higher protein substitute for rice or couscous.
Health Benefits of Quinoa:
- Plant-based complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids.
- Contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat omega-9, and polyunsaturated fat omega-3.
- Contains antioxidant phytonutrients called flavonoids.
- Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Can Quinoa Salad be Made Ahead?
This quinoa salad with black beans holds up exceptionally well when made ahead. You can prep it up to 3 days in advance, which means it’s 100% meal prep approved. If the salad dries out after being refrigerated for a couple days, just stir in some extra olive oil. Though I can promise you the flavor stays just as bold!
What to Serve with Mango Quinoa Salad:
In short, just about any protein you like! This salad complements grilled fish, chicken, or burgers beautifully. Which is why it’s such a fantastic side to bring to potlucks and BBQ’s. However it’s also filling enough to enjoy on it’s own as the main event.
Do I Serve this Salad Hot or Cold?
This salad can be served warm (right after being prepared), at room temperature, or chilled. For outdoor events, I suggest enjoying it chilled, which makes it even more refreshing. However since it does not include meat, dairy, or anything that will spoil quick, it’s perfectly safe at room temperature.
More Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipes to Try:
Fiesta Mango Quinoa Salad
- Mixing bowls
- Medium saucepan
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen/thawed corn (I like Trader Joe's fire-roasted frozen corn)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
- Optional toppings: pumpkin seeds, chunks of avocado, extra cilantro
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tsp. honey
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until quinoa is fluffy and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, prepare Chili-Lime Dressing by combining olive oil, lime juice, honey, chili powder, cumin, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Set aside.
- Add black beans, corn, bell pepper, mango, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño to bowl with quinoa; gently toss. Pour in dressing and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning as needed, add optional toppings and serve.