This corn and black bean quinoa salad combines fluffy quinoa, black beans, lots of colourful veggies and a simple dressing. With plenty of texture and flavour, this easy quinoa salad recipe is delicious on its own for a quick lunch or fantastic paired with a main for a satisfying dinner.
This easy quinoa salad is definitely a favourite in our home. Not only does it tastes delicious, it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge so it’s ready when that hunger bug strikes (which, if you’re like me, happens pretty regularly).
This recipe came about one day when I had a bunch of ingredients I wanted to use up and, of course, it had to taste good.
These days, I make this corn and black bean quinoa salad on the regular. We just love it so much!
Fan of quinoa? Check out this butternut squash and quinoa salad recipe.
- Dressing: The quinoa salad dressing includes olive oil, lime zest and juice, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper.
- Quinoa: Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions. Typically, quinoa triples in size once cooked. This recipe uses one cup of cooked quinoa, so to yield that amount you’ll need about ⅓ cup or so of dried quinoa.
- Canned black beans: Rinse and drain well before using.
- Canned corn: Drain before using so you don’t water down your salad. Instead of canned corn, you can grill some fresh corn and remove the kernels to use in the recipe.
- Bell pepper: I used a red bell pepper, but you can use whatever colour you prefer or have on hand.
- Cilantro: If you aren’t a fan of cilantro, you can use parsley. Of course, it won’t have the same flavour, but will add freshness and colour to your quinoa salad.
- Pickled red onion: This really adds a nice vinegary tang to the salad. Bonus, homemade pickled onions are really easy to prepare.
- Green onion
- Jalapeno pepper: Remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeno or leave them in, it’s up to you! By removing, your salad will be a tad less spicy. If you’re a fan of spice, you can use more than one jalapeno pepper or a spicier variety.
- Tomato: I prefer to use a Roma tomato because they’re nice and hearty.
- Queso Cotija cheese: This is optional. Sometimes when I make this salad, I’ll add cheese, other times I’ll leave out. If you can’t find queso cotija cheese, you can use feta cheese. While not quite the same, both cheeses are crumbly and salty and will add another flavour to the salad.
- Salt and black pepper
How To Make It
Here is an overview of how to make this corn and black bean quinoa salad (full details are in the recipe card below):
- Make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, zest and juice of lime, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper in a bowl. Rather than using a bowl and whisk, you can shake up the dressing ingredients in a covered jar.
- To make the salad, combine the quinoa, black beans, corn, bell pepper, cilantro, pickled red onion, green onion, jalapeno pepper and tomato in a bowl. Pour over the dressing and mix to combine,
- If you’re using cheese, stir it in, then season with some salt and black pepper if you feel it needs it. That’s it! Flavour-packed, zesty quinoa salad, ready to be devoured!
Can I Make This Salad Ahead of Time?
Definitely! One of the great things about this corn and black bean quinoa salad is that you can enjoy it as soon as it’s made or make ahead for later (which is why it’s wonderful for meal prep).
If you’re not enjoying right away, properly store the salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3 to 4 days.
Make It More Substantial
This quinoa salad is quite hearty on its own. However, you can make it more substantial by mixing in some canned tuna (drained well first) or some cooked chicken.
You can also mix in some diced avocado, which add a lovely creaminess and flavour. If making the salad ahead of time, though, I wouldn’t add the avocado because it will oxidize (turn brown).
Alternatively, try serving some of the quinoa salad on a lettuce wrap or tortilla with your favourite protein (rotisserie chicken is my favourite) and a little drizzle of sour cream or salsa.
What To Serve With It
If you want to serve this corn and black bean quinoa salad with a main, it pairs yummy with grilled chicken breast or steak, baked fish (like cod or salmon) or stuffed double baked sweet potatoes.
More Yummy Salad Recipes
If you make this corn and black bean quinoa salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
This recipe was originally published in August 2015. It was updated in June 2019 and further updated in March 2023.
Corn and Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 lime, zest and juice (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Corn and Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup COOKED quinoa, about ⅓ cup or so of quinoa before cooking (cook according to package instructions)
- 1 (19-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (12-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
- 1 bell pepper, diced (whatever colour you prefer)
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ⅓ cup pickled red onion
- 4 stalks green onion, chopped (about ⅓ cup)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds and ribs if desired)
- 1 roma tomato, seeds removed and diced (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup crumbled queso cotijo cheese, optional
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, zest and juice of lime, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper until well combined. Set aside.
- Make the salad: Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Let cool slightly. To a large bowl, add cooked and cooled quinoa, black beans, corn, bell pepper, cilantro, pickled red onion, green onion, jalapeno pepper and tomato. Pour over the dressing. Give everything a stir until everything is nicely incorporated.
- Stir in crumbled queso cotijo cheese, if using. Season to taste with a salt and black pepper, if desired. Serve and enjoy!Note: Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 3 to 4 days.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
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