Spicy Quinoa Salad recipe

Spicy Quinoa Salad

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Quinoa is a complete protein, making it a perfect choice for those who want to reduce the amount of meat in their diet. It’s also a very versatile ingredient to cook with because it has such a nondescript taste. It’s almost like a blank slate that you can build up with flavor. To get the most out of it for this salad, we start with a spicy, sweet-tart dressing. Apple cider vinegar and honey, along with canola oil and a little chile powder, give this mild-mannered seed a personality of its own.

While the dressing adds a lot of flavor to the quinoa base, this salad also features canned black beans, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, and cucumbers. Not only is it a hearty salad that can serve as a meal in itself, but it’s also full of high value, nutritional ingredients. The health benefits of black beans alone are just as impressive as those found in quinoa.

This is one of those salads that’s easy to put together and tastes even better the next day. It would make a great side dish, a main course, or a make-ahead lunch to take to work.

Ground Chile vs. Chili Powder

The word chile, when spelled with an e, refers to ground dried chile peppers with no other additions. When it ends with an i, as in chili, it’s a mixture of ground chile peppers and other spices and herbs, such as cumin, oregano, garlic, and salt.


We use red chile powder in our dressing, either New Mexico mild red chile powder or California. We don’t like to use chili powders that contain a mixture of spices because it changes the flavor of the dressing.

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Spicy Quinoa Salad

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons New Mexico or California mild red chile powder – Explore The Spice House | Shop Now
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


Place the quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear. Add to a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Refer to the directions on your quinoa package. Remove from heat. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until cool.

In a small bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the quinoa and toss to thoroughly coat. Add the beans, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro, and toss again. You can serve this right away, but the flavor is even better if you let it set at least 15 minutes.

It tastes delicious the next day too.

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