Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Sauce

Quinoa salad with cilantro lime sauce is no ordinary salad. This plant-based, Mexican-style meal is deliciously light and filling. Made with quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and a tangy citrus lime sauce. 

A completely plant-based salad that’s full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Make this your go-to healthy lunch or easy, light dinner. 

What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an edible seed that’s classified as a whole-grain. Quinoa is a good source of manganese, phosphorus, folate, magnesium, and vitamin B1. This edible seed is also a complete protein. Meaning that it contains all 9 essential amino acids that our body cannot produce. On top of that, one cup of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. 

Needless to say, this quinoa salad which is made with other real, whole food ingredients contains the perfect balance of macronutrients.

Quinoa Salad Ingredients

You’ll love how easy this salad is to make. Plus, you can use a couple of shortcuts to make it even simpler. 

quinoa salad with cilantro lime sauce

  • Cooked Quinoa– You’ll need about two cups. You can cook your own or use pre-cooked. 
  • Black Beans– Two 15-ounce cans that are drained and rinsed. 
  • Romaine Lettuce- You’ll need 8 cups of torn romaine lettuce. This amounts to about 2-3 heads of lettuce. 
  • Cherry Tomatoes– You’ll need about one cup of halved cherry tomatoes. Grape and Roma tomatoes work as well. 
  • Onion– You can use half of a white or red onion. You’ll need about half of a cup. Also, consider topping the salad with green onions.
  • Avocado– Use half of an avocado to add a dose of healthy fat. 
  • Cilantro Lime Sauce– Made with cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. 

How to Build Your Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad with cilantro lime sauce is perfect for meal prep, especially if you’re looking to cook once and eat all week. It also makes for a wonderful plant-based dinner.

quinoa bowl


You’ll start by cooking 2/3 cup of rinsed quinoa to make two cups cooked. You can use pre-cooked quinoa to save time. Drain and rinse the black beans, cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and slice the onion and avocado. Finally, prepare the cilantro lime sauce

ingredients for cilantro lime
sauce- cilantro and lime
quinoa and black beans


In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa and black beans. Add the cilantro lime sauce and stir to evenly coat. You can either move onto to step three or you can place the quinoa and black bean mixture in the refrigerator to cool for 15-20 minutes or overnight. 

cilantro lime sauce on quinoa and black bean


The next step is to mix in the tomatoes and onions. When ready to serve, fill bowls or top plates with a bed of romaine lettuce and add the quinoa, black bean mixture. Garnish with green onions and place avocado slices on the side. Serve and enjoy! 

salad bowl with quinoa

How Long Does Quinoa Salad Keep?

When properly stored in an airtight container, quinoa salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Store the quinoa and black bean mixture separate from the romaine lettuce.  

Looking For Other Healthy Salad Ideas?

Prep your lunch for a month by giving these additional salad recipes a try.

healthy quinoa and black bean salad

Delicious Quinoa Salad With Cilantro Lime Sauce!

A perfectly balanced plant-based meal that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Tossed in a tangy, citrusy cilantro lime sauce and served on a bed of romaine lettuce.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 people


To Prep Quinoa

  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (You can also use two cups of packaged, pre-cooked quinoa)
  • 1 1/3 cup water

Additional Salad Ingredients

  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, no salt added (Drain and rinse)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (Can also use grape or Roma tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced (Can also use white onion)
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 8 cups romaine lettuce, torn (About 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce)

Cilantro Lime Sauce*

  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, packed (About 1 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup jalapeno, chopped (About 1 large jalapeno. Can substitute with green bell pepper)
  • 1 lime, juiced (About 2 tablespoons of lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt (I used Redmond's Real Salt)

Optional Garnish

  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped


(1) Cook Quinoa

  • Add 1 1/3 cups of water and 2/3 cup of rinsed quinoa to a medium-sized saucepan. Turn the stove to high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender.

(2) Cilantro Lime Sauce*

  • Prep all the ingredients. Place all of the ingredients in a high-powered blender and mix for 30-45 seconds.

(3) Combine Quinoa, Black Beans, and Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa and black beans. Pour in the cilantro lime sauce and stir to coat evenly.

(4) Build Your Salad**

  • Lastly, to the quinoa and black bean mixture, stir in the halved tomatoes and sliced onions. Using bowls or plates place a bed of romaine lettuce down first. Then scoop out 1/4-1/2 cup of the quinoa and black bean salad and place on top. Finally, garnish with green onions and a side of avocado slices. Serve and enjoy!


*You can find the recipe for cilantro lime sauce here.
**You have the option of serving the quinoa salad slightly warm or you can cool it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or overnight. 
Keyword cilantro lime sauce, quinoa, quinoa and black bean, salad

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