Quinoa Salad with Black Beans & Corn

Christine Johnson

By Christine Johnson

5 from 1 vote

Are you looking to create an amazing summertime recipe? Check out this fantastic quinoa salad with black beans and corn.

Hearty, healthy, and light, this salad is perfect for backyard barbeques and family picnics. It’s easy to throw together and feeds a crowd.

You’ll love how well the zingy herbs work with the creamy avocado and citrusy lime. The refreshing flavors will help cool you off during the hottest heat wave.

Without further ado, let’s dive into how to make this amazing quinoa salad with black beans and corn.

Vertical image of quinoa salad with black beans and corn garnished with lime wedges and cilantro.

Key Ingredients:

Black Beans. This shiny legume helps bulk up this delicious salad, adding healthy protein and fiber to each serving. Aside from being hearty, black beans can help protect your heart and may strengthen bones. They’re also insanely cheap and easy to buy in bulk.

Quinoa. Did you know that quinoa is a complete protein? This ancient grain contains all nine essential amino acids that we cannot make on our own. Quinoa is also gluten-free and high in fiber, which helps make this salad filling but light.

Cilantro. You either love or hate it, but cilantro helps make this salad refreshing and bright. It blends beautifully with lime, red onion, and jalapeño, creating a zippy aftertaste. 

Jalapeño. This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of this spicy pepper but depending on your heat tolerance, you can add as much or as little as you want. Aside from setting your taste buds ablaze, jalapeños contain high amounts of carotene, an antioxidant that may help prevent cell damage.

Limes. I’m willing to argue that you should always keep limes stocked in your pantry. Fresh lime juice adds so much flavor and doesn’t compare to the bottled preserved stuff. Adding whole lime slices really take this salad to a refreshing new level.

Corn. This recipe calls for 2 cups of corn, adding a nice subtle sweetness to counter the spicy and acidic flavors. Fresh local corn would be ideal, but frozen will also work. Corn may seem like empty calories, but it’s actually rich in fiber, protein, and vitamin C. 

Ingredients for quinoa salad with black beans and corn.

How to Make It:

Ready to take this salad for a spin? Below you’ll learn the step-by-step process that will show you how to make quinoa salad with black beans and corn.

Before you start cooking, give your quinoa a good rinse. This ancient grain often has a natural bitter coating which you’ll want to wash off before cooking.

If you want to reap all the health benefits of quinoa, soak it for a few hours before use. This simple act will deactivate the naturally-present enzymes that bind the nutrients inside.

Cooked quinoa in a saucepan with a fork.

Place your quinoa in a large bowl, then cover it with water. Let it sit for a couple of hours, then rinse thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer before cooking.

Pour the rinsed quinoa into a large pot, then top with 4 cups of fresh water. Bring it to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Cook your quinoa for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat but keep the pan on the burner.

Add the corn to the quinoa mixture and keep covered for 5-10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa and corn with a fork until it’s well mixed. Allow it to cool off.

Black beans, corn, avocado, green pepper, and red onions in a glass bowl.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and gently combine, careful not to break apart the avocado. Add the quinoa and the corn to the bowl, then give it another stir.

Mixing ingredients in a glass bowl for quinoa salad.

Give your salad a taste to see if it needs any more seasoning, then serve at room temperature or chilled.

Recipe Tips/Variations/Substitutions:

Swap in basil for cilantro. You can still enjoy this salad if you possess the OR6A2 gene (aka the one that makes cilantro taste like soap). Simply swap chopped basil for cilantro to add the same fresh herbal flavor.

Substitute spicer peppers. If jalapeños aren’t cutting it, try using a spicer pepper like serrano or habanera. This recipe can hold up against heat, so consider adding more spice if you can handle it.

Use dried black beans. Canned black beans are already cheap, but the dried version is even more affordable. To make this salad even more wallet-friendly, try using dried black beans. Just be sure to soak them for 8-24 hours before use.

Make extra quinoa. Quinoa keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days, so double the amount you need to have some extra on hand for different recipes. 

Storing Leftovers:

Now that you’ve made your delicious quinoa salad with black beans and corn, here’s how to store it.

This salad stays well in the fridge for 4-5 days. Tuck it away in a sealed, airtight container, preferably glass.

Vertical image of quinoa salad with black beans and corn garnished with lime wedges and cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you make quinoa taste good? 

While considered a superfood, quinoa is known to taste a little bland, and some even liken the flavor to cardboard. You need to combine this ancient grain with big, flavorful ingredients for optimal results. In this case, the lime, red onions, and cilantro help bring a ton of brightness to this salad, and quinoa helps tame down the flavoring agents to make them more palatable.

Are quinoa and black beans good for you? 

These two powerhouse ingredients are healthy on their own, but they add even more nutrition when combined. Both sources are high in fiber, protein, and iron. Plus, the two textures pair well together, creating a creamy and chewy consistency.

What are the disadvantages of black beans?

While it seems that beans can do no wrong in the health department, they are high in carbs and not ideal for those following a keto diet. They can also be difficult to digest and can cause intestinal discomfort when eaten excessively. 

Try These Other Quinoa Recipes:

Quinoa salad with black beans and corn, garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans & Corn

This quinoa salad with black beans and corn is filling yet light, and bursts with bright, herbal flavors. It's a great salad to bring to potlucks because it's easy to throw together and it feeds a crowd. It's also great for families since you can snack on leftovers all week long.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: quinoa salad
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 326kcal


  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa soaked for 2-3 hours (optional) and then rinsed thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups corn cut from from approximately 2 ears or organic frozen corn
  • 1 red onion small, diced
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 30 oz black beans two 15-ounce cans or one 28-ounce can, drained and rinsed (or soak and then cook an equivalent amount of dried beans)
  • 2 tbsp jalapeño minced
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro fresh, chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse sea salt and finely ground black pepper to taste


  • Combine rinsed quinoa and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed.
  • Turn off the heat, add the corn, and keep covered for another 5-10 minutes. Fluff the quinoa/corn mixture with a fork and allow to cool slightly.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cooked quinoa and corn when it has cooled and stir to combine.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 666mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 727IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 3mg

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