Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

Alternate post title: The greenest dressing in all the land.

Alternate post title #2: That time my pretty quinoa salad got slimed, Nickelodeon style.

You out there, 90s kids?

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

Before we get too off topic, please don’t dismiss this dressing because it’s so very, very green. This dressing is based off of a dip I’ve had at a Mexican restaurant near my house. A dip into which I plunge crispy and creamy deep fried avocado egg rolls, which happen to be the key to my heart, but that’s a different story for a different day.

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

The combination of lime + honey + cilantro makes this vinaigrette tart but sweet but herby, and the perfect complement to a fajita-style quinoa bowl made with black beans, sweet bell peppers, red onion slices, and avocado. If you want the salad to be vegan, use agave in place of honey. If you’re not concerned with keeping it vegan, you should definitely consider crumbling a bit of feta on top. Yes.

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

I’ve eaten this salad cold and warm, and after much consideration I’ve decided that I prefer it chilled. That could be because the Minnesota humidity has started to kick up over the past week, and someone keeps turning the AC off when I’m not looking. Tricky.

Whether eating cold or warm, I highly recommend you eat this quinoa with a handful of tortilla chips. I’ve had some serious feelings for tortilla chips lately, meaning they’ve made their way into most of my eating situations. While some may argue that they’re out of place on the side of my pizza, or as an “appetizer” before my morning oatmeal (yikes), they’re totally appropriate here, so crush, crunch, and scoop to your liking.

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette | Veggie and the Beast

See? Thoroughly, deliciously slimed.

Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette

A simple quinoa salad packed with flavor and fresh veggies, and then drizzled in a tangy-yet-sweet cilantro lime vinaigrette.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


Black Bean Quinoa Bowl

  • 2 teaspoons non-gmo canola oil
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 red onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin slices
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Optional toppings: sliced avocado, feta (if not vegan), crushed tortilla chips

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey (or agave, for vegan option)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 1 1/2 tbsp) and zested
  • 2 tablespoons non-gmo canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste


  1. Heat 2 tsp of canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped red onion and cook until starting to soften, 2-3 minutes. Pour in the dry quinoa and toast, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and salt, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Set aside.
  2. Toss together the cooked quinoa with the black beans, thinly-sliced red onion, red bell pepper, and yellow bell peppers in a bowl.
  3. To make the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.
  4. Pour the vinaigrette over the quinoa and toss well. Serve with corn tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and feta (if not vegan). Can be eaten hot or cold.


18 Responses to “Black Bean Quinoa Bowl with Cilantro Honey Lime Vinaigrette”

  1. Taylor @ greens & chocolate — June 3, 2014 @ 7:33 am (#)

    What is this restaurant with the fried avocado egg rolls?! I need them in my life Also this quinoa will be happening very very soon….I am obsessed with that green dressing! Oh and the white balance in your pics? Spot. On. :)

    • Katie — June 3, 2014 @ 7:40 am (#)

      hahaha, probably because of all that white balance research Ryan did :) The restaurant is Rojo in Southdale and West End – the other food isn’t great, but those egg rolls show up in my dreams. Great to meet you last night!

  2. Isadora @ she likes food — June 3, 2014 @ 8:57 am (#)

    I love your alternate recipe titles! The dressing really is so green and beautiful! I also put chips on everything and eat chips all of the time. Unfortunately, my husband has some weird aversion to the sound of people crunching chips, but instead of give up chips all together so we can live a harmonious life together, I choose to go in the other room, close the door, and crunch my chips in peace. This black bean quinoa salad looks like the perfect chip dipping salad :) And, I’m kinda obsessed with this green dressing!

    • Katie — June 3, 2014 @ 9:07 am (#)

      haha, that’s so funny about your husband and the sound of crunching chips. Ryan is the same way, but about bananas! I usually turn on music, or turn up the TV so he can’t hear me. So very, very strange :)

  3. Brittany — June 4, 2014 @ 10:27 am (#)

    This quinoa bowl looks delicious! And as a 90’s girl, I definitely think you should have went with the “slimed” post title. :)

  4. Angel @ OrganicPowerFoods — June 17, 2014 @ 5:18 am (#)

    Great recipe with quinoa, Katie. I’m just in love with all kind of recipes with quinoa, it’s so delicious and healthy!

  5. Jess — June 24, 2014 @ 7:43 pm (#)

    Hey there! How long do you thing the sauce will last in the fridge?

    • Katie — June 25, 2014 @ 9:07 am (#)

      I would guess 3-4 days? I’m not great at guessing, so I tend to err on the safe side :)

  6. Maggie — July 28, 2014 @ 11:07 pm (#)

    Hi Katie! I made this for dinner tonight and it was great! Just a couple of notes – my dressing did not thicken very well with just 2 Tbsp of oil, so I added more. Did I do something wrong? Yours looks thicker in the photo but mine was more the consistency of the lime juice. Also, do you dress it all before chilling, or do you store the salad and dressing separately and mix just before serving? PS the chips, avocado, and feta were key – loved it! Love your blog and recipes! Thank you!

    • Katie — July 29, 2014 @ 10:11 am (#)

      Hi Maggie! Glad you liked it! I’m not sure why your dressing would be thinner – did you measure out the lime juice to 1 1/2 T? If you just juiced the whole lime, maybe yours was bigger and resulted in extra liquid being added to the dressing? That’s my best guess – did the extra oil help? How much did you need to add?

      If you’re not eating all of it right away, I would recommend storing the dressing and quinoa separately. Quinoa has a tendency to soak up all the liquid around it over time, so the dressing will be more flavorful if it is mixed with the quinoa right before serving. Hope that helps!

  7. Pingback: Tex-Mex Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette | Daily Dose of Greens


  9. Katie — April 16, 2015 @ 8:28 pm (#)

    This was soooooooo good! I’ve not had cold quinoa salad before (even though I’ve pinned many of them). It was super crunchy, flavorful, and easy to make. I especially loved the mexican mixed with feta. Such a keeper for a veggie nightly meal! 

  10. Pingback: 20 easy and healthy quinoa recipes

  11. Pingback: 15 Mexican Quinoa Recipes for Cinco de Mayo - Simply Quinoa

  12. Meghan — November 18, 2015 @ 9:18 am (#)

    This is such a great recipe!! I make it all the time.  Though, I always rinse the quinoa first and thus it doesn’t toast up.  Do you ever find that you get that bitter saponin taste with the dry quinoa? It’s been so engrained in me to rinse it that I’m nervous to try it without a pre-wash! 

    • Katie — November 18, 2015 @ 9:52 am (#)

      Thanks for the comment! I hardly ever rinse my quinoa. I know that’s kind of a faux pas, but I haven’t experienced the bitter taste before. If you’ve made this without toasting the quinoa and liked it, I’d just stick with that. Toasting adds a little nutty flavor that I like, but it’s not necessary.

  13. Pingback: 25 Vegan Recipes for Summer – Honey Lune Hivery