Vegan Fresh: Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad

Ingredients: garlic, tomatoes, limes, quinoa, cilantro, onion, black beans (photos by Michelle Saunders)

D Magazine intern Michelle Saunders is a health food geek. Her recipes may not be fancy, but they’re simple and easy to make. She brought you this watermelon salad and avocado sandwich last week.

With Cinco de Mayo coming up this weekend, I’ve definitely got Mexican food on the brain. Although I love the robust flavors, I tend to feel heavy (read: bloated) after a meal of refried beans and rice, so here’s my version. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an excellent grain substitute – it contains more fiber, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals than most grains. Although it is technically a seed, it is actually a complete protein that’ll leave you feeling full and satisfied. With a fluffy texture and mild flavor, it can be enjoyed as it is or spiced savory or sweetly to complement many different recipes. I added some of my favorite spices to come up with a Mexican-inspired meal and even added a can of black beans for extra protein.

Jump for the salad.

Step 4: Combine everything together

You will need:

1 c. quinoa
1 can black beans, drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
The juice from 3 small limes
1 Tbs. cumin
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbs. cooking oil (I use coconut)


  1. Bring 2 c. water to boil and add quinoa. Cover with lid and simmer until all water is absorbed (about 15-20 minutes), remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside.
  2. Sautée minced garlic and finely chopped onion in oil until translucent, adding spices.
  3. Add cooked quinoa to sautéed mixture and stir well. Add can of black beans and combine.
  4. Add diced tomatoes and cilantro, then pour lime juice over salad and stir well.
  5. I like to serve mine with avocado slices and tortilla chips, but you could eat this by itself, as a side dish, on top of a salad, etc.…the possibilities are endless!
Finished product served with tortilla strips, avocado slices, and lime wedges