Not gunna lie, sometimes I love a good Chipotle bowl.
Especially on the go, or when I’m too tired and lazy to cook. Brown rice, black beans, bell peppers, corn, salsa, lettuce, a lil’ guac – what’s not to love? I know they (unfortunately) have a lot of oils but once in a while, I give in… balance right? ♥ It was only a matter of time before I shared my recipe for this Spicy Kale and Quinoa Black Bean Salad because it tastes THE SAME as chipotle, and without any oil whatsoever.
You don’t need the oil, I promise.
Cooking without oil can take some getting used to but now that I think of oil as pure fat, I do my best to eliminate it completely.
This spicy salad is crunchy, savory, bursting with flavor and totally addicting. A crowd-pleaser for sure. It’s the perfect salad for any occasion and can be customized to your “spiciness” liking.
With kale, quinoa, black beans, corn, onion, savory spices, cilantro, hot sauce, lime juice… I mean, you gotta love it. And you gotta try it. For anyone weary of kale, you won’t notice the 6 cups of green goodness in this giant bowl – the yummy spices and other ingredients overpower the kale while the dressing softens it – what does that mean?
THE KALE GETS BETTER, my loves.
Not that you always want to overpower the kale taste, personally I’ve grown to crave it, but there are days where a salad just doesn’t sound appealing, am I right? This recipe will change that 🙂
It can be eaten warm or cold – either way is absolutely delicious. A cold salad for lunch or a warm salad for dinner – your choice! All you do is cook the quinoa, then add the black beans and corn to the pot. Mix it up. Add heaps of kale and some red onion to a giant salad bowl. Add the quinoa mixture over the kale. Mix up the spicy dressing. Pour the dressing over the chipotle-like “way healthier” salad. Mix again.
That’s it! In under 30 minutes you have a filling, nourishing, absolutely delicious meal for 4-6 people. Or leftovers for yourself.Print
Spicy Kale and Quinoa Black Bean Salad
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30
- Yield: 5-6 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Mexican
Spicy Kale Salad with Quinoa, Black Bean Beans and a Spicy Dressing. Similar to a Chipotle Bowl but without the added nasty oils. This is a crowd-pleaser!
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 6 cups chopped kale, de-stemmed
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup corn
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1/4 cup hot sauce of your choice (I used a chili pepper sauce)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium sized pot, combine 2 cups of water with 1 cup of quinoa and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
- In a large salad bowl, add the kale and the onion.
- Once the quinoa is done cooking, add in the black beans and corn to the pot. Mix it up. You could just add these over the kale but I wanted to warm up the beans and corn. Add the quinoa mixture over the kale and mix.
- Prepare the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix and enjoy!
- Stays fresh in the refrigerator up to 2 days.
- Can replace quinoa with rice and add any additional veggies you like. Bell peppers, tomato, avocado etc.
- Serving Size: 4
Keywords: spicy, kale, salad, quinoa, black bean, spicy dressing, spicy, sauce, chipotle, lime, corn, mexican salad, hot sauce, healthy, plant based
This has been one of our go-to recipes since finding it! I end up making it every few weeks 🙂
I give it 2 stars as it’s a good base recipe. But as anyone with a palate knows, fat = flavor, and most people don’t want to eat food with no deliciousness. After adding 2 chopped avocados, it came to life with more texture and satiety. Also drizzled olive oil. This recipe does not taste anything like eating chipotle, there is no complexity to the flavors (which you get from slowly braising meat, letting complex salsas meld together, steeping you’re rice in aromatics like cilantro and lime, etc), it’s more like a riff on cowboy caviar, ala open some cans and dump into bowl. But with some modifications it’s a great way to use up an aggressive patch of kale in the garden and feed a small group some healthy superfoods!
I disagree! It’s a simple recipe, yes, but this sauce was surprisingly Soo delicious! Why did you even bother to make itgiven the recipe doesn’t include any “complex” flavor building??
This recipe is from 5 years ago when fat was not as popular. Always check the date of the recipe before. I would absolutely add avocado nowadays. That’s the beauty of recipes online… you can modify to make them your own, especially if they are from 2015! I don’t necessarily agree that fat equals flavor, I think it’s more that fat helps with satiety but to each their own.
No rating since I didn’t try this recipe. But I agree that fat = flavor, and was happy to see that avocado is now a recommended topping by the author. It’s also important to remember that there are fat-soluble vitamins in leafy greens, so a bit of fat goes a long way in making sure you’re getting all the nutritional goodness from the kale.
I made this for dinner tonight and yumm! My husband doesn’t like kale or quinoa *insert eye roll here* so it’s difficult to find healthy recipes he’ll actually eat. He loved it! So easy to throw together and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day! I’ll be making this again and again. Thanks for sharing.
georgie @ georgieeats
This looks completely epic!!! I have put the ingredients on my shopping list for next week, cant wait!! Thanks for the inspo xxx
I wanted to meal prep this salad, should I keep the dressing on the side and add it with each individual meal when I’m ready to eat it? Or should I mix the dressing into the salad and keep it like that? I wasn’t sure if it will get soggy
Everything is good except the kale. Is it suppose to be tough and bitter? We are cooking it down in hopes wilting it will make it edible! Wish I could taste yours as it looks so good!
Kale is one of the easiest things to grow. When fresh it’s always crisp and tender. I added fresh diced mango and a can of sweet corn to this. I served it over warm quinoa rather than mixing it together. It was divine!
I made this salad today. OMG!!! Freaking fantastic! I used a 5 Grain Blend I had already prepared and needed used up and added some carrots for shiggles. This is going to keep well for the entire week for me which is a huge PLUS. I have already told my sister, I am taking this to the family reunion this year! LOL
There was an earlier comment from someone concerning fats in our diets, A,D,E & K being fat soluble vitamins….they are absolutely right HOWEVER, Dr. Dean Ornish (author of Reversing Heart Disease) and Dr Robert Pritikin (author of The New Pritikin Program) have done extensive studies showing we do NOT need additional fats in our diets. Almost every single food item we put in our mouths have fat, at some level in them. For example, take an apple…fat free right?? WRONG! 0.8g of fat in each apple. After a day of eating a plant based diet, minimal dairy, we generally consume about 12 – 15g of fat a day, all from plants! Depending on your height and weight (me for example, I am 5’6″ and weigh 197lbs) will determine your fat intake for the day. I am permitted a total of just 22g of fat a day! If I am already consuming 15g a day….I only have 7g to work with!! READ YOUR LABELS. A typical processed veggie burger can have anywhere from 8 – 15g of fat in just ONE burger…lets not even talk about the bun!
I have been following the Ornish plan to help my sister (she had a heart attack 4 months and had 2 stints placed). I have never felt better or had so much energy in my entire life (57 years). The Ornish plan was PRESCRIBED by her cardiologist. She attends class for 4 hours twice weekly, they talk nutrition, they exercise and meditate. This no fat way of eating is approved and adopted by many hospitals across the USA….insurance companies completely cover the program. So I totally disagree with your comment about nutritional deficiencies. Look into the Ornish plan and see what you think. I highly recommend you read his books and explore his recipes.
I came across the recipe when googling BGood Spicy avacado and lime, kale & quinoa salad. Anyone know if this recipe taste similar to that one?
Wow…..One of the best salads I’ve ever had. This salad is full of flavor with just the right amount of kick from the chili sauce. My son whom is a very picky eater really enjoyed it and I’ve had to pull myself away from the bowl. The only change I made was instead of maple syrup I used light Agave nectar. Definitely give this salad a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Any way to make it not spicy??
Leave out the hot sauce.
I used sriracha and lemons for the sauce along with some cilantro stalks, crushed garlic, and Stevia and it came out great. I have to tell you that I actually put some meat on top, but it was so filling that I really could’ve eaten it without the meat. The sauce is what made the meal. Great job on the recipe, it’s very flavorful. It made me feel like Bobby Flay 🙂
This is a brilliant salad! So full of flavor without added oils – perfect for anyone following the Forks Over Knives plan. I was honestly surprised that a dressing made without oil was sooooo good. Thank you!
This is an amazing salad! I have just made my second batch in less than 2 weeks 🙂 I made a couple of changes this time.
1. I used olive oil instead of water, i felt it was too watered down and I missed the fat
2. I had some left over red pepper and cucumber in the fridge so I threw it in too. I seeded the cucumber.
I am sitting in front of the screen eating a bowl and it is fan-frickin-tastic!
I’ve made this a couple of times but forgot to comment until now. I’m not the biggest salad fan, so I’m always excited when I find good recipes–and this one is so yummy–thanks for sharing it!
What type of hot sauce did you use?
I used Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce and it was awesome.
Found this recipe while looking for kale salads. I am concerned by the comment that people don’t need any fat and that you try and eliminate all fat. Please keep in mind that several required vitamins needed to maintain good health (namely A, D, E, and K) are fat soluable vitamins–which means they need fat in order to be processed and utilized by your body. If you eliminate all fat from your diet, then all the wonderful vitamins A and K that you get from kale is wasted. There are many healthy fats–olive oil, avacado, nuts–just to name just a few. If you eliminate all fat from your diet, you are going to run into some severe deficiency problems after a while.
I understand your concern. I too love avocados and whole food fats like hemp seeds, sprouted nuts, shredded coconut etc. but extracted oils such as coconut oil or olive oil are completely unnecessary and are not a whole food!
I made this today…OMG…it is delicious!
I just came across your site looking for kale recipes. Looks like a beautiful website.
I noticed you saying now that you think of oil as “pure fat” you try to eliminate it, but
I hope as I look at more of your stuff you are not anti-fats, but just those which are rancid or improperly processed.
With cooking, one has to be very selective with fats, but with dressings there are many nutritious options such as avocado, walnut, EVOO, coconut. When you said, “you don’t need it” that isn’t actually accurate. The fat will help the body absorb the vitamins
in the other nutrients in the salad which require fat to be absorbed.
Also another writer asked about freezing this- you can’t freeze greens/lettuces unless you want to eat gross mush once thawed.
You can freeze kale…although I’m not sure you can eat thawed kale without
I didn’t know this was a vegan site/recipe so I don’t mean to be offensive! I added feta and grilled chicken, omitted the quinoa (out of pure laziness), and subbed red onion for scallion! This is the perfect work day lunch!
Yum! I just made this and am eating it right now! This recipe just so happened to be made out of ingredients I had on hand… Plus some left over quinoa. I also added some avocado
I just found your site today! I am a fairly healthy eater, and avid runner & yogi.. but am really looking to tone up for summer time. I haven’t tried any of your recipes quite yet, but this upcoming week is going to be a cleanse of all (most) packaged foods.. & I am excited to have found your site! Thank you!!
When you say “hot sauce”, do you mean like a jar salsa like a Tabasco type hot sauce?
Yes, like Tabasco. Not salsa.
I’ve made this a few times and would love to feature it on my blog (with link and credit of course!). Great salad! I’ve also used the leftovers for a breakfast burrito and added a poached egg.
That is fantastic and full of flavour. Didn’t use the syrup and it was still amazing. Thanks
This salad certainly is delicious! I made it to go as a side with himemade bison burgers and sauted brussel sproits in garlic infused olive oil. Paired up well 🙂
Although I am curious as to what the calorie count is for this salad. Do you have thus information?
my favorite salad when I sick 🙂
agree with everyone else…ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!!
Any idea what the calori count would be for this? I’m new to clean eating and still counting my calories.
Thanks for sharing the recipe.
This recipe is truly amazing! I made it for a family gathering this past weekend. It was a huge hit! Even those that don’t like Kale loved it!
Oh my gosh Shannon this salad is amazing! I am a brand new vegan as of yesterday so this was only my second plant based dinner. It was just the pick me up that I needed to feel inspired to keep going. Obviously you know how rough it can be when you are just starting out. But if every vegan meal that I have ends up being just half as good as this one, I know I have nothing to worry about lol. Thank you so much for the recipe!
This salad is AMAZING! I am not a huge fan of kale but tolerate it because it is so healthy…. but after making this salad… this is a wonderful way to enjoy it. Thank you for a wonderful recipe I will come back to again and agin. Absolutely Delish!!
Oh my word! This was SO GOOD! I didn’t have corn or black beans – so I used Chicken (i’m not vegan) Otherwise followed the recipe to a tee – and used Siracha for my hot sauce – and it was RIDICULOUSLY amazing! I could easily eat this EVERY DAY for lunch – and dinner too (like tonight!) Thanks for a great recipe! I have kale growing out of my ears in my garden and have always struggled with bitter taste – well I couldn’t tell at ALL about the bitter taste. Best Kale recipe EVER!
Hey Lindsay! YAY I’m so so happy to hear that 🙂 This recipe is definitely a winner, makes it so much easier to get in extra greens!
Thanks for sharing,
do you know how this would freeze?
Hi Sara, I haven’t tried it but I’m guessing it would freeze just fine.
What would you say is the best substitute for the black beans? It seems I’m out of them!
Hi Claire! I’d say any other kind of bean would work fine, maybe try kidney beans!
This was delicious. My family of teenage boys agreed! We topped with some avocado and salsa!
I saw this recipe this morning and knew I had to make them for dinner tonight. We love homemade burrito bowls as well as those from Chipotle and Moe’s but like you said, the resturant versions are studded with excessive amounts of oil. I’m sure this recipe will be a hit with my husband and three little ones. Keep up the amazing work and take care.
Hey Heather – yay! I hope you and your family loved them 🙂 thanks so much!