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Black Bean Quinoa Salad


We threw this together on a whim last night for dinner. It came together super easy and quick. It’s super healthy and flavorful. It’s totally portable and I’m probably going to bring it to work for lunch everyday. What more could you ask for, really?!?

To top it off, this salad is VEGAN!!! I was a tad skeptical of the “mole” vinaigrette, I don’t usually go for the mole dishes because I like to eat my chocolate AFTER dinner, thank you very much. But overall, the cocoa undertones are subtle and the chipotle gives it a nice spicy kick. This is not your everyday salad, although you may find yourself wishing you could eat it on a daily basis…

Spicy Black Bean & Quinoa Salad with Mole Vinaigrette
adapted from Cooking Light
makes about 6 servings


For the Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 3/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-4 chopped mini peppers (or chopped bell peppers, fresno peppers, etc)
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves


  1. Cook the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa well. Combine 1 cup quinoa and 1 cup water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes until you can fluff quinoa with a fork. Let cool.
  2. Make the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl except for the olive oil; gradually add oil, stirring well with a whisk.
  3. Combine cooled quinoa and all salad ingredients except for the spinach in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Add spinach; toss to combine.