Hurry Up Vegan: Black Bean and Quinoa Salad with Quick Cumin Dressing

by Gena on July 15, 2011

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Thank God it’s Friday!

A few weeks back, I presented a recipe that fell into the category of a “hurry up” meal: my white bean and summer vegetable pasta. The idea was to show you that eating vegan doesn’t mean you can’t whip up a nutritious and filling dinner in a pinch: it’s a myth that eating plant based food is twice as time consuming and difficult as eating an omnivorous diet (in fact, given the amount of time it takes to cook certain types of poultry and meat, I’d argue the exact opposite).

This week, I began my new summer course schedule, which goes something like this:

8am – 12pm: Lecture
12pm – 3pm: Lab
3pm – 12am: Complete lab report, do pre-lab for following day, do problem sets, study for quiz

Ah, the joys of summer learning, right?

I’m doing my best to fit it all in (and by “it” I mean that I’m trying to make new friends, get to the gym, enjoy some time to myself, and look after CR as well as be a student), but my time for cooking has been limited at best. So my “hurry up vegan” series isn’t just for you: it’s for me, too.

My second hurry up vegan recipe is even faster than my first, and it’s doubly efficient because it makes for terrific leftovers. It’s a simple quinoa salad, and it samples some of the best of summer tastes and produce in about six ingredients (not including the dressing). I threw it together the other night before dinner with a bunch of my fellow post-baccs, who had considerately warned me that they were planning on seafood, and I should probably bring a vegan option along with me, and it was ready in about 30 minutes with the help of my rice cooker (the active prep time itself took about 10 minutes). It’s fresh, delicious, and so tasty that a few of my friends requested the recipe.

Friends, here it is.

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Black Bean and Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free, Soy free)

Serves 4

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
Dash salt
1/2 large cucumber, diced neatly
1 small bell pepper, diced neatly
1 can BPA free, organic black beans
10-15 basil leaves, chopped into a chiffonade
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

For the vinaigrette:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp agave or maple syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Cook quinoa in salted water till tender and fluffy (use a rice cooker or the package instructions).

2) Add chopped vegetables, black beans, and herbs.

3) Whisk dressing ingredients. Add to the salad, and serve. (If you don’t feel that you need all the dressing, just add as much as you’d like to.)

Could it get any easier?

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This salad is nutrient dense, a very complete protein (the quinoa itself is a complete protein, and the beans only compound its protein power), and a wonderful dish to enjoy either warm or cold. I had leftovers for a couple of days, and the salad seemed to get tastier as time went by.

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Added bonus? It’s awesome with a big scoop of guacamole on top.

Speaking of being in a hurry, the science library is calling my name. Have a great start to the weekend!


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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

kate July 15, 2011 at 9:43 am

I love beans & quinoa together they always seem to fit perfectly, this salad looks delish and so simple!


Jess July 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

I love quinoa. Partly because it’s just so much fun, but also because it packs a great nutritional punch (with beans or all on it’s own). And guac goes with everything!


Natalie S. July 15, 2011 at 9:49 am

Yummy!! I actually made a similar quinoa salad the other day, and I planned on posting it Monday! It’s a bit more Mexican-themed — fresh, raw corn, and some smoked chipotle powder. Yum!


Jen July 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

I love hurry up meals! There’s a small vegan cafe I love that serves a quinoa salad as a side dish, and it looks a lot like yours because it also black beans and peppers. Guac sounds like a great topping, but so does a scoop of hummus!


Christine (The Raw Project) July 15, 2011 at 9:59 am

Wow on the summer schedule, that’s crazy! Impressive, hang in there! But this Black Bean and Quinoa Salad looks like the perfect summer busy dish providing go to leftovers, thanks!


Diana Jones-Ellis July 15, 2011 at 10:02 am

Sounds fantastic! I’m going to make this salad this weekend.


Karen July 15, 2011 at 10:06 am

I’ve been on a quinoa bowl streak myself this summer, mixing it up between the red and white variety, and adding either a legume or edamame plus some light veggies. I find it’s a combo that I can rely on to feel my best after lunch during this summer heat heartier/fattier fare feels too heavy. I’ll be trying your lovely looking creation next!

P.S. I hope you’ll cut yourself some slack in your grueling schedule whenever possible, and not neglect that all-important playtime. Hugs


Shelly July 15, 2011 at 10:07 am

I have been researching quinoa recipes and came across this one… Looks very tasty. Cant wait to try it!!


JoLynn-dreaminitvegan July 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

Looks great! Most anything rice is used in you can replace it with quinoa.


Bianca- Vegan Crunk July 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

Quinoa and black beans were meant to be together!


Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles July 15, 2011 at 10:26 am

Yum! I loved your last hurry up vegan post and I expect this to be just as delicious! I have my last container of Summer Veggie Pasta for lunch, so I’ll be whipping this up soon!


Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) July 15, 2011 at 10:54 am

My summer schedule has been crazy as well, so this looks like the perfect quick meal for me! I definitely will be trying it! Good luck with your summer classes!



Kelsey July 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

I’m a huge fan of this hurry up series. This sounds delicious–and what a tasty vinaigrette!


Angela July 15, 2011 at 11:41 am

My rice cooker is such a time and life saver! I look forward to seeing more quick, easy, rice cooker friendly recipes. Keep up the good work!


Bridgeen July 15, 2011 at 11:52 am

This looks great!
ps. Wakame with your peanut tomato sauce is my favorite pack and bring along lunch! Sometimes I put strawberries on top. Yum! Keep inspring me with your awesome ideas! Happy Friday =)


Wendy (Healthy Girl) July 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm

My 11 year old mostly vegan daughter comes home from sleep away camp on Sunday. Yipee!!! Thank you Gena for reminding me that it’s time to ramp up some of the simpler vegan delights–any whole grain+bean+chopped veg+a little seasoning is a phenomenal recipe for vegan success in my house!


J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) July 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm

That sounds so good! I’ve never actually had quinoa with beans, but it has been on my must-try list for awhile. Yum!


Emilia @ Namaste Gurl July 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm

This quinoa mexican salad dish looks amazing! I’m always looking for more vegan crowd pleasers, so this will come in super handy. Can’t wait to make it!

Good luck with classes- i’m sure you’re doing great!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm

“The idea was to show you that eating vegan doesn’t mean you can’t whip up a nutritious and filling dinner in a pinch: it’s a myth that eating plant based food is twice as time consuming and difficult as eating an omnivorous diet”–


It’s also a myth in the same family of myths that you can’t feed kids vegetables without doctoring them up to no end.

And a myth that you can’t create a largely plant-based dietary path for a family without breaking the bank or spending tons of time doing so. Wrong!

I know I spend far less money and time on what I feed my family than most women and I don’t sacrifice taste!

I would love to try your quinoa salad. And so happy you’re finding things that are easy, great, and suit YOU perfectly.

Have a great weekend, Gena :)


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn July 15, 2011 at 2:27 pm

YESSSS! Quick is mah middle name!


Ali (urbanfruitbat) July 15, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Girl, I really really cannot even kind of believe you are doing all the things you have to do in a day! You are quite literally super woman. Does your BF even get to see you at all? I want to send you some love and encouragement! You are awesome, your blog is awesome, your food is awesome. Just plain awesome. I hope that your M will purchase you a massage or something (;


BIOCHEMISTA July 16, 2011 at 12:41 am

Hey lady! Hope school is going well…Are u free anytime Sunday? I was thinking we could grab coffee/tea if you’re available :)


Kathy Clark July 16, 2011 at 2:20 am

I was just searching for a way to use Quinoa in some great recipes. Thanks for this one, it sounds delicious.

Kathy Clark
Skype: kathyclark1945


Dr. Julie Montgomery July 16, 2011 at 2:21 am

Thanks for this delicious recipe. Love discovering new recipes for Healthy Living.


Katie (quick cook rice) July 16, 2011 at 9:48 am

Yum! This looks lovely. I hope you have time to squeeze seeing me into your new and insanely busy schedule. I’m back this week!


Marisa July 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

I’ve been making a lot of different quinoa recipes lately because my husband is trying to incorporate more whole foods to his diet, so I’ll have to try this one too. Funny story… he tried to make rice and beans the other day so he make the brown rice and then mixed a can of beans with it. Then he wondered why it was so bland! Needless to say, we both need recipes for something to come out tasty!


daphna July 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I like these quick and easy recipes since I don’t have much time either!! From your twitter feed it looks like you’re taking o-chem this summer? Good luck!!! I took physics during the summer and it was brutal but got the job over quickly. Lotsa flashcards helped me in ochem. And fortunately the o-chem on the MCAT is pretty easy. Lots of stuff related to the lab techniques but you don’t have to memorize a million rxns like in the class.


Catherine July 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I’ve been doing a lot of quinoa salads lately, too. And I’ve been adding massaged kale, too, which I’m sure you’d love!


Fresh Equation July 16, 2011 at 3:16 pm

This sounds delicious! I look forward to trying it this week.


claire July 19, 2011 at 7:17 am

Sounds delicious, but if you cook the quinoa, is it really considered raw?


Gena July 20, 2011 at 7:48 am

No, it’s cooked, not raw.


Marie Nicol July 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I love quinoa! Thanks for sharing this recipe! Another healthy and tasty recipe that I found on another blog is the tuna lettuce wrap, very easy: !


Nell July 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Can quinoa be eaten raw?


Kristen July 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Yum, yum, yum. Just made this and it was delicious. Had two servings and felt good about it instead of guilty.


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