Sweet and spicy come together in this Quinoa Mango Black Bean Salad with a scrumptious Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette and Smoky Pepitas. Make ahead ready and perfect for lunch, dinner, potluck or picnic. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free.
~ This recipe was updated with new photos and recipe notes 5/20 ~
A Hearty Salad for Lunch or Dinner
Vibrant color, flavor, texture and so hearty!
During the warmest of days, salads for lunch and dinner are made weekly around here. Too, I love having them on the ready should a picnic kind of mood strike. For this salad, there’s only a bit of cooking involved, and if needed, any of the cooked components can be made ahead during a meal prep sesh so it’s easy to pull together when dinner time comes.
This Mango Black Bean Salad is simple to make, packed with good for us ingredients that are filling and so satisfying. Suitable for a variety of diets, it’s vegetarian, vegan and gluten free which makes it easy to share.
There’s plenty going on in this salad to make mouths happy and tummies full.
How to Make Quinoa Mango Black Bean Salad
Use canned or homemade cooked black beans in this salad, whatever fits your schedule. Look for ripe mangos and avocados that give just a bit when their skin is gently pressed. They need to be softish, yet still firm. In summary, here’s how to make the salad (see recipe card below for full recipe):
- First, put the quinoa on to cook. When done, transfer to the fridge to chill.
- Second, toss the pepitas with salt, paprika and olive oil, then toast in the oven.
- Meanwhile, chop the spinach, onion, cilantro and dice the mango.
- Next, make the chipotle lime vinaigrette in a food processor.
- Last, put all the ingredients together, toss and top with sliced avocado.
If making ahead, hold out the avocados and add just before serving. Otherwise they tend to brown a bit.
How to Cut that Mango?
I’ve struggled with knowing how to cut a mango. So I did a bit of searching for mango kitchen hacks and found a video on YouTube that shows several mango cutting techniques. My world will never be the same! Finding it easier to get to the good stuff, I’m enjoying mangos more often.
With my newfound knowledge of mango cutting, a batch of homemade black beans and fresh spinach from the Farmer’s Market, this salad was next on my agenda.
A Few Recipe Notes
- This salad’s flavor improves with a bit of time. If holding the salad in the fridge before serving, add the avocado just before sharing as it tends to brown a bit otherwise.
- The chipotle lime vinaigrette calls for chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. Look for cans on the Mexican food isle of your grocery store, gluten free if needed. It’ll last for weeks in the fridge, and store for months in the freezer. Use your leftovers in black bean dip or easy homemade chipotle salsa.
- For meal prep, the quinoa can be made up to two days in advance, and the toasted pepitas, up to a week in advance. Cook homemade black beans up to a week in advance and freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
More Hearty Make Ahead Salads to Love
- Forbidden Rice Salad with Mango and Coconut Curried Dressing
- Spinach Brown Rice Salad
- Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
- Summer Quinoa Veggie Salad
- Lemon Orzo Salad
Quinoa Mango Black Bean Salad with Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
- 1 C (195g) Quinoa rinsed under running water
- 1 3/4 C (420g) Water
- 1/2 C (70g) Pepitas
- 1/2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt divided
- 1/4 tsp Smoky Paprika
- 1 3/4 C (300g) Cooked Black Beans rinsed, drained, about one 15 oz can
- 3/4 C (70g) Purple/Red Onion small diced, about 1/2 an onion
- 2 C (330g) Mangos diced, about one mango* (see note)
- 2 C (90g) Baby Spinach chopped and packed
- 4 Tbs Cilantro finely chopped
- 2 Avocados diced just before serving
For The Dressing (makes 1/2 C):
For the Salad:
- In a small saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil, turn to low and simmer uncovered for 13-14 minutes. Remove from heat, stir, cover and let set for 5 minutes. The quinoa is ready when all the water is absorbed, and the quinoa is tender with it's 'tails' showing. Remove lid and place in refrigerator while the rest of the salad is being prepared.
- Preheat oven to 325F (163C). Toss pepitas with olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and paprika. Toast pepitas for about 8-9 minutes. They'll be slightly golden and fragrant when ready. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl combine the chilled quinoa, beans, onion, mango* (see note), spinach, cilantro, pepitas and the remaining 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt. Set aside.
For the Dressing:
- In a food processor, combine the apple cider vinegar, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, lime juice, salt, cumin and cilantro. With the processor on, pour in the olive oil. Process until smooth. Set aside.
- If time is available, dress the salad about an hour before service. The flavors will come together as it sets in the fridge. Drizzle 3/4 of the dressing over the salad and toss well. Taste to see if more dressing is desired and adjust as needed. Add a few twists of fresh ground pepper and adjust salt as needed.
- Just before serving, dice the avocado and gently toss into the salad. Store the salad in a lidded container for up to two days in the refrigerator. Longer and the mango tends to get a bit soggy.