Black Bean Quinoa Bowls | Real Food Whole Life

Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

bowl with bell peppers cabbage tomatoes and black beans on white table with striped blue napkin

This Black Bean Quinoa Bowl recipe combines bell peppers, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, corn, pumpkin seeds and cilantro with an easy, healthy cumin lime dressing. Perfect for a light vegetarian dinner, colorful side dish or make-ahead lunch!

bowl with bell peppers cabbage tomatoes and black beans on white table with striped blue napkin

These Easy Black Bean Quinoa Bowls start with a base of fluffy warm quinoa, then come alive with the addition of bright summer veggies, protein-rich black beans, a tangy honey-lime dressing, and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

I love it as an easy vegetarian dinner all on it’s own but it also makes a great side dish to serve with grilled meat or fish too!

quick & easy make-ahead recipe

Quinoa salad is one of those recipes everyone should have in their cooking arsenal. It’s easy to make and is lovely served warm, room temperature, or chilled. It can be packed to take on-the-go and is one of my favorite easy lunches for busy weeks.

I love that quinoa has a quicker cook time than rice & is done in just 15 minutes. While the quinoa cooks you chop up your fresh ingredients, whisk together a quick dressing and your meal is ready in under 30 minutes.

Canned black beans are not just a great source of plant-based protein but are a great recipe shortcut too. They’re a filling & satisfying addition to this light salad but are great in heartier dishes too – like these black bean stuffed sweet potatoes.

Tip: Add your dressing to the quinoa while it’s still warm. It’ll soak up all the flavor and get even more flavorful the longer it sits!

use any veggies or toppings you like

The recipe is very adaptable, so feel free to let your imagination and preferences guide you when it comes to the vegetable combination. Use what’s fresh, what you like, and what you have! 

You can also get creative with extra toppings. If you like feta and you’re not dairy-free, crumbling some on top would be a nice add-on for these bowls. Diced avocado or even grilled veggies, like in these build-your-own veggie quinoa power bowls, would also be delicious.

I hope you’ll make these black bean quinoa bowls at home soon. If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

large bowl filled with colorful salad on white table with striped blue napkin and a side of dressing in small jar

recipe & kid-friendly adaptations

1 | Sunflower seeds would also work in place of the pumpkin seeds

2 | Use maple syrup in place of honey in the dressing to keep this recipe vegan-friendly

3 | Before adding the dressing to the quinoa set some aside. Drizzle with olive oil or add a bit of butter and a pinch of salt. This preparation may appeal to the kids who prefer noodles with butter, and is more nutritious (it’s also messier, but we’ll just ignore that part).

4 | Serve all the veggies separately on the plate, or serve them family-style in small bowls at the table. Let the child serve themselves the veggies, then toss them in the bowl. Again, messier, but surprisingly effective. 

5 | Let them use the seeds as “sprinkles” to top off their bowl masterpiece.

clear glass bowl with fresh colorful salad with two spoons on white table with limes

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quinoa salads shown in two bowls on white table with striped napkins and pink background with navy text
bowl with bell peppers cabbage tomatoes and black beans on white table with striped blue napkin

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Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

Yield 4 as a main dish; 6 as a side dish
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

This Black Bean Quinoa Bowl recipe combines bell peppers, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, corn, pumpkin seeds and cilantro with an easy, healthy cumin lime dressing. Perfect for a light dinner or make ahead lunch!

Ingredients

  • cup quinoa
  • 2 ¾ cups water or vegetable / chicken stock
  • 1 15-oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • ¼ red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 large bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange) chopped
  • 2 ears corn kernels cut off (or sub 1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted)
  • cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

For the Dressing

  • ¼ cup lime juice from about 2-3 limes
  • 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne optional
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • ½ cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse well. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with a tight-fitting lid along with the water (or vegetable / chicken stock). Cover, bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let stand for an additional 5 minutes.
  • While the quinoa cooks make the dressing by whisking the lime juice, salt, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and honey or maple syrup until well combined. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk again until well combined.
  • In a large bowl add the warm quinoa and black beans and dressing. Allow to sit 5 minutes for the quinoa and black beans to absorb the dressing. Add cabbage, tomatoes, bell pepper, and corn, stirring to combine. Top with pumpkin seeds and cilantro, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

recipe & kid-friendly adaptations

1 | Sunflower seeds would also work in place of the pumpkin seeds

2 | Use maple syrup in place of honey in the dressing to keep this recipe vegan-friendly

3 | Before adding the dressing to the quinoa set some aside. Drizzle with olive oil or add a bit of butter and a pinch of salt. This preparation may appeal to the kids who prefer noodles with butter, and is more nutritious (it’s also messier, but we’ll just ignore that part).

4 | Serve all the veggies separately on the plate, or serve them family-style in small bowls at the table. Let the child serve themselves the veggies, then toss them in the bowl. Again, messier, but surprisingly effective. 

5 | Let them use the seeds as “sprinkles” to top off their bowl masterpiece.


did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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13 comments to " Black Bean Quinoa Bowls "

  • misty

    Beautiful blog!!! just gorgeous! I am looking for an easy printable button for these recipes? Am I missing it?

    • Robyn Downs

      Hi Misty,
      No, you’re not missing anything. I publish this blog using Squarespace and there isn’t currently an option to display a printable version of a recipe. I am working on a workaround, so stay tuned!

  • Misty

    JUst made this dish this evening! what a yummy meal!! Thank you for this one! Going on the family favorites list!

  • Jenni .Gerstle

    I copied the recipe into a Word Document and printed from there. I hope that this is OK. I need a print out to follow and remind me of the recipe as I have so many and the computer is not always available. Making this tomorrow night!!

  • allison

    If you add the dressing, can you still save some portions for leftovers or do you recommend adding dressing in only when you are ready to eat it?

    • Robyn Downs

      You can add all the dressing, but the quinoa will absorb it and the leftovers may night be quite as tasty. I usually hold some of the dressing to the side and then dress the leftovers for maximum flavor. Hope you enjoy!

  • Carol

    Do I cook the corn on the cob first?

    • Robyn Downs

      Totally up to you, Carol. Some sweet corn is delicious raw, so it’s really a taste and preference call–either cooked or raw will work.

  • Megan

    This is my favourite quinoa salad recipe… I’m lazy and usually just do the beans/cabbage/tomatoes, the dressing is soooo yummy!! Gonna make it for the 4th time tonight!

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