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Southwest Mango Black Bean Salad With Quinoa

Southwest quinoa mango black bean salad makes a delicious main course or side dish. This easy recipe make is gluten free, dairy free, and plant-based. 

Looking for more summer salads? Try my Italian green bean saladzucchini corn salad, or peach panzanella salad.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Fresh – The combination of fresh ingredients with whole grains is what makes this delicious salad so good.
  • Colorful – This healthy salad has colorful fruit, veggies, and protein. This makes it both visually pleasing and satiating.
  • Customizable – One of my favorite ways to customize this black bean and mango salad is by using whatever seasonal ingredients I have on hand. It can also be served more as a loaded corn salsa with tortilla chips.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this mango quinoa salad:

  • Quinoa – a gluten-free grain full of plant-based protein.
  • Canned black beans.
  • Ripe mango – any variety. I used fresh mango, but you can also use thawed frozen mango.
  • Red bell pepper – I love the contrast against the other colors, but feel free to use another color such as an orange or yellow bell pepper.
  • Corn kernels – for even more flavor you could use skillet blackened corn.
  • Fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Dressing: extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, raw honey, shallot, ground cumin, chili powder, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.

How to Make Mango Black Bean Salad: Step By Step

Here are some quick visual instructions. The full instructions and ingredient list will be in the printable recipe card below!

1. Cook the quinoa with the spices until it’s absorbed all the water and has a fluffy texture.

2. Make the dressing. Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper.

3. Mix all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Let chill for 30 minutes before serving for the best flavor.

Helpful Tips

  • Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer. This helps remove any bitterness and assists in cooking the quinoa more evenly.
  • The intensity of the raw shallot mellows out as it sits in the red wine vinegar.
  • Don’t want to clean a blender? Make the dressing in a mason jar with a tightly sealed lid. Finely dice the shallot and vigorously shake the jar to emulsify the dressing.
  • Let it chill. This simple salad has the best flavor when it’s served cold.

Quick Tip: Check the doneness of the quinoa by fluffing it with a fork. Using a fork helps keep the quinoa light and airy, without it getting mushy.

Storage

Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this black bean mango salad recipe using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No quinoa? – use brown rice for a similarly nutty flavor and chewy texture or couscous if you tolerate gluten.
  • No black beans? – kidney or pinto beans can be subbed.
  • No bell pepper? – use other crunchy veggies such as sugar snap peas, cabbage, julienned carrots, jicama, etc.
  • Don’t like fruit in salad? – you can leave out the mango and add another 1/2 cup of corn or another vegetable.
  • Don’t like cilantro? – sub sliced green onions.
  • No honey? – use maple syrup.
  • No shallot? – you can also use red onion, though its flavor is more pungent.
  • Add-ins – lime zest or fresh lime juice, fresh jalapeno peppers or red pepper flakes to make it spicy, cherry tomatoes, avocado, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are chili pepper flakes and red pepper flakes the same thing?

Different countries call them by different names, but they’re the same thing. If you want to add red pepper flakes to this quinoa mango salad, add them to the dressing before blending.

How do you pick out a ripe, juicy mango?

Look for fruit that feels heavy, has a pleasantly sweet aroma, and will give slightly to the touch. Don’t rely on the color of the skin for ripeness, because ripe mangos have varying skin colors depending on the variety.

More Summer Salads

I hope you love this Mango Black Bean Salad! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment & a star rating so I know how you liked it!

Southwest Mango Black Bean Salad With Quinoa

5 from 5 votes
Three bowls of quinoa mango black bean salad next to a cut mango half and a bowl of fresh cilantro.
This Southwest Quinoa Salad is bursting with flavor and loaded with plant-based protein making it a great main or side dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Serving Size 6

Ingredients
 

Salad

  • 1 cup dry quinoa white or tri-color
  • ½ teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt use ¼ teaspoon if using any other kind
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup canned black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup diced fresh mango or thawed frozen mango
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • ½ cup corn see notes below
  • ½ cup cilantro minced

Dressing

Instructions

  • Rinse the quinoa under with cold water in a fine mesh strainer, then add to a medium saucepan with fresh water, and ½ teaspoon each of kosher salt, cumin, and chili powder. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a gentle simmer (medium-low heat) and cover with a lid. Cook for 18 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork and put the lid back on to steam it for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a blender until smooth. Some texture from the shallot is fine. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Add the cooked quinoa, mango, bell pepper, black beans, corn, and minced cilantro to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Let chill for at least 30 minutes before serving for the best flavor.

Notes

For the corn: you can use fresh, canned, or frozen. If using frozen, make sure to thaw first before using it. If using fresh, cook and let it cool before adding to the salad.
Servings: this recipe makes 4-6 servings depending on whether you eat it as the main course or a side dish.
See the blog post for helpful tips, storage, and FAQs.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No quinoa? – use brown rice for a similarly nutty flavor and chewy texture or couscous if you tolerate gluten.
No black beans? – kidney or pinto beans can be subbed.
No bell pepper? – use other crunchy veggies such as sugar snap peas, cabbage, julienned carrots, jicama, etc.
Don’t like fruit in salad? – you can leave out the mango and add another 1/2 cup of corn or another vegetable.
Don’t like cilantro? – sub sliced green onions.
No honey? – use maple syrup.
No shallot? – you can also use red onion, though its flavor is more pungent.
Add-ins – lime zest or fresh lime juice, fresh jalapeno peppers or red pepper flakes to make it spicy, cherry tomatoes, avocado, etc.

5 Comments

  1. Carrie Peterson says:

    5 stars
    I used brown rice instead of quinoa, cabbage instead of bell pepper, red onion instead of shallot, and left out the mango – delicious! Great savory flavors.

    1. Lindsey Jenkins says:

      Love the changes, Carrie! Sounds delicious! Thanks for taking the time to leave a rating and review! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    We had a gathering of friends at our house last night and I made everything from this website. We had this salad, Butternut Squash Vegan Mac and Cheese and the Lemon Squares. Nothing disappointed; everything was a hit. This salad is beautiful, healthy but most importantly, delicious. I always love Lindsey’s notes and ideas. I’m pretty much a wing it type cook but I would never come up with some of these recipes. Definitely my go to cookbook!

    1. Lindsey Jenkins says:

      Thanks for the love, Frannie! And for the taking the time to leave a rating and review! It means a lot 🙂

  3. Evie Ugrin says:

    Excellent recipe
    Adding chicken and or shrimp makes for a special entree for four adults
    Thanks you Lindsey

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