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Recipe for quinoa, avocado, tomato and black bean salad with chipotle lime dressing {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Quinoa and vegetable salad with chipotle lime dressing.

If you don't already own a rice cooker, promise me that you will buy one. (You can buy a cute model that sings when the rice is done, or one that doesn't sing. It won't matter.) You will make great rice with it, of course, and you'll make the best quinoa ever. I didn't cook quinoa very often before learning the super-easy rice cooker method from Karina, the Gluten-Free Goddess. This salad combines quinoa with avocado, tomato, cucumber, black beans and onion, tossed with a dressing that gets its kick from canned chipotle chiles in adobo. Start with one chipotle, and add a second one if you dare.

Quinoa and vegetable salad.

Quinoa, avocado, tomato and black bean salad with chipotle lime dressing

From the pantry, you'll need: quinoa, canola oil, lime, agave nectar, chipotles in adobo, yogurt, canned black beans.

Inspired by a recipe for quinoa taco salad on Gluten-Free Goddess, this recipe serves 4 as a vegetarian main dish, or 8 as side dish with grilled fish, beef or chicken.


1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup canola oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo
1 Tbsp plain yogurt
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 avocado, cut into large chunks, tossed with lime juice to keep it from discoloring
1/2 large English (seedless) cucumber, cut into large chunks
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup cooked (or canned and drained) black beans
2 cups chopped fresh tomato (2 large tomatoes)
Sprigs of fresh cilantro or chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)


Place quinoa in the rice cooker with 2 cups of water. Set the cooker to COOK, and let it do its thing. (If you don't have a rice cooker, put the rinsed quinoa and 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked.)

While the quinoa is cooking, add the oil, lime juice, agave nectar, 1 chipotle chile, yogurt and salt in a blender, and process until smooth. Taste, and if you want more heat, add a second chipotle. Set aside.

When the quinoa is finished cooking, open the lid of the rice cooker to let it cool slightly. Add the quinoa to a mixing bowl, and fluff with a fork. Gently mix in the chopped avocado, cucumber, onion, black beans and tomato, and stir in almost all of the dressing (you might need it all, but maybe not, so start slowly). Taste, and add salt if needed.

Serve right away, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Quinoa salad with tomato, feta and parsley
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey-lime vinaigrette
Quinoa turkey meatloaf
Chickpea, quinoa and spinach salad with preserved lemon vinaigrette
Couscous salad with herbs

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa, from 101 Cookbooks
Quinoa vegetable paella, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Black bean mango quinoa salad, from Eclectic Recipes
Quinoa tabbouleh salad with parsley and mint, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Japanese inspired quinoa, from Chocolate & Zucchini

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Need more ideas for how to create salads with pizzazz? Get Dress Up Your Salad, my e-book packed with easy mix-and-match recipes, full-color photos and a few fun videos. Exciting salad recipes from everyday ingredients can be just one click away, on any computer, tablet or smart phone, with the FREE Kindle Reading app. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I just read the ingredients of the salad to my husband, and he said: "You are so making this tomorrow"! Lol! All I need is an avocado!
I usually get three "I don't know"s when I ask what I should prepare for dinner. Thanks for helping me! (Yes, there will have to be a small portion of animal protein, but that's the easy part)!

This is exactly what I pay a fortune for at Whole Foods and I am sure this is 100 times better!

This recipe looks fantastic, Lydia! I especially love quinoa dishes when they are colorful and loaded with other "goodies" as well. :-)

OK - I need to learn how to cook the best quinoa ever. I have been making it in the microwave, but the results can be mixed. Still, not sure I need another kitchen appliance, although if it sings, that might be cool.

For a super quick and easy quinoa breakfast, I like Cocomama. It's pre-cooked and in a single serving size... https://www.cocomamafoods.com/

I never thought much about rice cookers until I got my Zojirushi one (and yes it sings!) but it was well worth the investment. So wonderful to be able to make perfect grains without any watching them. This sounds like a perfect summer salad. I love every ingredient you've used!

Lana, a few chunks of cooked chicken, or some shrimp, would be a delicious addition. Go for it!

Maris, not to take anything away from the market, but this is soooooo easy to make at home. The rice cooker method has changed my life, but quinoa is easy to cook on the stovetop, too.

Shirley, quinoa seems to be a natural with the beans, tomatoes and avocado in this recipe. I love the slightly spicy dressing with it, too.

TW, usually I'm not an advocate of buying more kitchen equipment, but using the little (and mine is really little) cooker for rice, quinoa, barley, etc. has made it absolutely worthwhile. I'm going to try it with kamut, too.

LC, thanks for pointing it out. New to me.

Kalyn, I think we have the same little rice cooker. It's my first fuzzy logic one, after years, of buying less tricked-out cookers, and I love it. I usually make extra quinoa to keep in the refrigerator or freezer.

Lydia - this quinoa salad sounds right up my alley. In fact, I've been making a tomato black bean avocado corn salad similar to this for my little guy and I'm going to try tossing it with the quinoa I have in my fridge. All I need is to add some chipotle chilies and a bit of yogurt - yum, can't wait to try!

this looks sooo good~! love the idea of combining yogurt + tomato sauce together :D

Jeanette, one thing I love about the rice cooker method of making quinoa is that I can easily make extra and keep it on hand. I'm sure I eat it more often because of that.

Junia, combining yogurt with the chipotles works really well to make a creamy dressing that doesn't use cream.

This looks so good. I will have to pick up some yogurt and an avocado and give this a try.

THANK YOU for another way to use my beloved rice cooker!!!

My mom has always been after me to get a rice cooker and a steamer. I never have picked either one up, but you have me tempted!
Thank you for a wonderful salad... my family loved everything about it and it will become a regular in our rotation. Thanks also for your comment! My friend is a cilantro-hater as well, she can't even stand the smell. Thanks again!

It is so ironic that this week I decided to go try some gluten free recipes for my health and also I stumbled upon your cooking website. What a happy coincidence. Looking forward to trying some of these recipes

BAH, this was so good. We made it tonight and I ate the entire recipe myself. No shame.

I know this is way after the original posting but I found this linked to the black bean cakes recipe and had the ingredients on hand. It was so delicious - most especially the dressing! Wow! And pretty healthy to boot. Thanks Lydia!

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