Mexican Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


Mexican has become my favourite cuisine since Beach Burrito Company opened up in Australia.

Americans are always outraged when I tell them the best Mexican I’ve tried is in Australia.

In fairness, BBC is run by Californian surfer guys who migrated to Australia. It’s not like two Aussie bogans set up shop thinking they were experts in South American food.

And it also should be pointed out, as North Nomad had to explain to me when I was quite disappointed with Mexican food in America, that the sort of Mexican I like is actually “Tex Mex”. It favours black beans over pinto or refried beans, there’s the healthy brown rice and whole wheat tortilla options, and grilled veggies and tofu are normal add-ons.

I learnt this the hard way in Las Vegas, when we were trying to find dinner one night. The host at a Mexican restaurant looked at me like I’d spontaneously sprouted a second head when I asked what options there were aside from meat.

“What else would you eat?” she asked me, quizzically.

We left, and had Subway instead. We’d just had our passports, keys, and credit cards stolen. I wasn’t in the mood for a lengthy discussion about what you could and couldn’t eat.

I’m in the process of learning how to make Tex Mex meals at home to my own liking, with and without certain ingredients. Sometimes it’s just easier and tastier to do it from home!


  1. 1 cup of cooked quinoa (1/4 cup of uncooked quinoa)
  2. ½ can of black beans
  3. Home made salsa (made with a tin of crushed tomatoes, one whole tomato, garlic, cilantro, white onion, salt, lime juice, and a jalapeno if you have any handy) or store bought if you don’t have the ingredients
  4. Home made sour cream (made with silken tofu, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and sugar) again, store bought is fine if you don’t have the ingredients handy
  5. Generous amount of lettuce. I used ½ head of iceberg, but feel free to use whatever lettuce or greens mix you have in your fridge
  6. ½ large tomato
  7. ¼ small red onion
  8. 1 tbsp of lime juice
  9. Handful of cilantro
  10. ½ tbsp of cumin
  11. ¼ tbsp of ground coriander/cilantro
  12. Splash of red wine vinegar
  13. Handful of Cheese (I use daiya cheese)


  1. Start with your quinoa so you can do everything else while it cooks and save time.
  2. Rinse your quinoa and drain the water. Boil 1 cup of water and when it’s hit the boil, add your quinoa, lowering it to medium heat, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  3. While your quinoa is on, prepare your salsa and sour cream. If you don’t have the ingredients handy, feel free to use store bought salsa and sour cream.
  4. Finely chop your tomato and red onion. Put aside in a bowl and cover with your lime juice and let it sit.
  5. Cook your beans in a splash of red wine vinegar. If you don’t have a non stick pan, use a bit of oil here. Add your cumin and coriander. Toss the beans in the spices, and let it cook on low to medium heat until you are ready to add it to your salad, giving it the occasional stir.
  6. When your quinoa is ready, take it off the heat and drain any last bits of water from it. Give it a quick fluff with a fork and shake any last drops of water out.
  7. Now the fun part starts – layering your salad. Start with your lettuce, then add your quinoa. Add your beans, then your salsa. Add your tomato and red onion mix, your cilantro, and your sour cream. Finally, sprinkle your cheese on top.


Mexican Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


This serving is just for one – if you want it for two, just double the ingredients. Between the salad, quinoa, and beans, it’s reallllly filling.

Prep time: ½ hour if you need to start everything from scratch. If you already have your quinoa cooked, you can knock off about 15 mins or so.

You can connect with South Nomad, Jessica, over at Google+.

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9 thoughts on “Mexican Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

    • Thanks Betsy! What are you marinating your tempeh in? We are going to the Garlic Festival in Gilroy on Friday, so I think some garlic tempeh may be in order soon. 🙂

  1. Sounds fantastic jess. Nice work. I love quinoa although it’s probably going to be hard to find here in Thailand!

    • Yep, I suspect rice will be your staple grain where you guys are! I saw the crackdowns on visas in Thailand recently. Are you two doing education visas to prevent worries around the 60 day tourist visas?

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