Food / Salads / Vegetarian

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad With Chipotle Vinaigrette

Quinoa is seriously one of my favorite things and it pains me when people refer to it as “boring”. But then I think back to the first time I made it. I simmered it in hot water (because I didn’t know any better) and yeah. That… was pretty humdrum.

Luckily it was nothing some flavorful broth and a few spices couldn’t fix. Ever since that one muck up, I’d like to believe that my quinoa is far from a snore ;)

Whether you’re a newbie with this grain, or simply a skeptic with a few bad experiences under your belt, I’m confident this quinoa and black bean salad will change your mind. It’s chockfull of healthy goodies and fantastic textures, and it’s tossed in a smokey chipotle vinaigrette—one that always leaves me drizzling it over everything I eat for dayyyys.

If this chipotle vinaigrette seems a bit familiar to you, that’s because it made an appearance in my Shrimp Fajita Salad. (Which you should also totally make and devour, because duuuuuuude.)

I like making a batch of this good stuff at the beginning of the week and keeping it in the fridge for an easy summer side, a substantial lunch, or a mid-afternoon snack. It’s not uncommon for me to stroll to the fridge with a spoon and just stand there, shoving this good stuff into my pie hole, unashamed.

The best part? With wholesome quinoa and heart-healthy goodies like black beans, avocado, spinach, and pepitas, this salad is as good for you as it is flavorful.

You will end up with some leftover dressing, but hey. That’s just an added bonus. Go ahead and make some killer salads with it, cook chicken in it, drizzle it over tacos… whatever your little smokey chipotle-loving heart desires.

If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3

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5 from 5 votes

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad With Chipotle Vinaigrette

Wholesome quinoa and heart-healthy black beans are brought together in this nutritious salad with avocado, tomatoes, pepitas, and a smokin' chipotle vinaigrette.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6
Author Dana Sandonato



  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander (optional)
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Chipotle Vinaigrette.

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1-2 TBSP chipotle hot sauce adjust the amount to your taste/heat preference
  • 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 3/4 cup olive oil


  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pepitas, toasted* you can substitute pepitas for sunflower seeds or slivered almonds
  • 1 cup ribboned baby spinach
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in halves
  • Freshly chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish



  • Place quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse the grains thoroughly. Transfer the quinoa to a medium saucepan and toast the quinoa over medium heat for a minute or two.
  • Add the vegetable broth to the saucepan, then sprinkle in the garlic powder, cumin, coriander, and salt. Stir the quinoa to give it a quick mix and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover the quinoa and let it simmer until it's tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes). When it's done, fluff it with a fork and set it aside.

Chipotle Vinaigrette.

  • Add all if the ingredients—from the red wine vinegar to the lime juice (leave the olive oil out for now)—to a blender and blend on low until smooth. While the mixture is still blending on low, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream. This prevents the mixture from separating. Transfer to a bottle or container and set aside.


  • Add the cooked quinoa to a large bowl along with the black beans, toasted pepitas, spinach, avocado, onion, and tomatoes. Add half of the dressing and toss to coat. Taste. If you feel it needs more dressing, add more to your taste. Reserve any leftover vinaigrette for other salads* throughout the week.
  • Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve as a side or keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days as a light lunch option or snack.


Toasting pepitas: Place the pepitas in a dry skillet and heat over medium-low heat, shaking/stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the seeds are aromatic and turning slightly golden in color. This should take about 3-5 minutes; keep a close eye on them.
*Not sure what to do with the leftover chipotle vinaigrette? Try my Shrimp Fajita Salad! (


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  • Cathy Brak
    August 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    5 stars
    I made this for lunch today, and we really enjoyed it. I used my Instant Pot, first to toast the pepitas (on saute setting), then to toast the quinoa. After that I added the other quinoa ingredients and cooked them while I prepared the vinaigrette. It worked great!

    • Killing Thyme
      August 6, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Hey Cathy!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this salad. It’s one of my favorites. I love that you used the Instant Pot—good to know that worked well for this recipe since I’ve been trying to get more acquainted with mine. Thanks for taking the time to stop by with feedback!

  • Nicoletta @sugarlovespices
    June 20, 2018 at 10:22 am

    5 stars
    Love the different textures and flavors in this salad. And yes, it’s choke-full of nutrients and far from boring!!

  • Cheryl
    June 19, 2018 at 11:08 am

    This sounds absolutely delicious, Dana! Our family is a bunch of quinoa nuts, I think this might become our go-to summer salad!

  • Yvonne Langen
    June 19, 2018 at 10:52 am

    5 stars
    Definitely making this for my lunch next week! Thanks for sharing – I’m always looking for a new take on the quinoa salad.

  • Jessica
    June 18, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    5 stars
    OMG yummmmm! I absolutely love chipotle and have always wanted to find a delicious recipe for a chipotle dressing and here it is! Can’t wait to try this salad out this summer!

  • Cathy
    June 18, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    5 stars
    I’m also a fan of quinoa. It’s so versatile and nutritious! This is a recipe I certainly must try!


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