Attentive readers might notice that this has been a summer of mango and cucumber and black beans. It isn’t over ’til it’s over, y’all, so here is a recipe for black bean mango quinoa salad that contains all three!

This recipe goes out to my Canadian aunt. My family isn’t particularly close, but I’ve always thought she was one of my coolest blood relations. She’s always had amazing photography skills, and has been nonchalantly whipping up inventive, healthy meals from scratch as long as I can remember (i.e. way before it was cool). In short, she’d probably make a much better food blogger than I do. But I digress! She’s younger and crunchier than my parents, and when she and her family were living in Ithaca in the late 80s, she gave my mother a cookbook from Ithaca’s renowned vegetarian(-ish) Moosewood Restaurant. I’m convinced that this cookbook, which my mother actually loved, was the only reason she even remotely tolerated my going vegetarian in 2001. Familiarity breeds comfort, after all!

When my aunt caught wind of my having a vegan food blog several years ago, she asked if I had any good recipes for quinoa. At the time, I was fresh out of college, and I kind of thought quinoa was revolting. You see, the only exposure I’d ever had to this humble grain was at house dinners inside the veg* co-op where I lived in college. Every few nights, someone would cook up a monstrous pot of plain quinoa, and it was always, always burnt. If you don’t know already, believe me when I tell you that burnt quinoa is utterly repulsive. Of course, I had never eaten quinoa anywhere else, so I just thought that was how quinoa tasted. Regardless, I felt crappy for not having some awesome vegan recipe up my sleeve to give my aunt.

I might’ve learned how to cook quinoa properly in the ensuing years, but I was weirded out by the whole quinoa-loving-veganskill-babies scam*, and only started eating it regularly this very year. Consequentially, I think it is pretty much the perfect grain, and have been putting it in everything, from overnight oats and breakfast porridge to smoothies and granola. It’s perfect in cold salads because it’s a hearty base that soaks up whatever flavors you throw at it, and doesn’t harden when chilled like some grains do. Everyone should have at least one good quinoa salad recipe up their sleeve, so without further ado, here is one of mine!

Black Bean Mango Quinoa Salad
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4 servings
  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 c water
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped
  • ¾ c cooked black beans, rinsed well
  • ⅓ c cucumber, diced
  • ¼ c red onion, finely chopped
  • ⅓ c cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ¾ tsp salt
  1. Combine quinoa and water in a small, lidded pot over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until quinoa is tender and has absorbed all the water. Remove lid, fluff, and set aside to cool.
  3. When quinoa is mostly cool, combine it in a serving dish with the remaining ingredients. Toss well.
  4. Serve immediately, or well-chilled.


*I don’t mean to be too pat about this. Please check out the linked articles (and, y’know, Google!) if you’re interested in learning more. But it’s a fact that the media (and throngs of guilt-ridden omnivores) had an absolute field day lambasting vegans over quinoa consumption. Of course, I found this exceptionally infuriating at the time, as the only people I knew who loved quinoa were health-conscious omnis!