Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad


Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad combines fresh flavors like avocado, citrus and sweet corn in a salad that’s fresh and flavorful.


Check out this upgrade!


Eloise looks way more expensive than $25 now, don’t you think?


Maybe that’s because she is. :) This afternoon I biked up to Bike World (in 95 degree temperatures – I die!) to purchase a few upgrades for the old girl, starting with new grips.


Apparently they don’t even make those fluffy handlebar covers for bikes anymore, so Bike World hooked me up with soft-but-grippy tape.


Next I traded in my leaky seat for a sleek, high-tech saddle,

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before pedaling to nearby Target so I could get rid of the crappy bike bag I made in 7th grade sewing class and purchase a roomy, sturdier one instead!


Total cost: $49. Unfortunately Bike World didn’t have two of the same replacement tires I need in stock, so I have to go back later this week to complete the transformation. Those should be $42, so the total investment for Eloise when all is said and done, including the purchase price, will be $116. $116 for a perfectly good road bike?!


That is is WELL worth it when you consider the amount of gas I can save this summer by biking to nearby bars, restaurants, grocery stores, Target, etc. AND when you consider the increase in my level of feeling like a kid again each & every time I ride. Plus it’s a mere fraction of the cost of a new road bike!

Sure, I felt like kind of a dope wheeling my cobwebbed, plastic-bag covered geezer-bike in amongst the shiny, new ones at the bike store, but its got two wheels and gets me from point A to point B, which is what really matters. Thank you universe for sending me this bike!

Ok sorry, I promise this blog won’t turn into Iowa Girl Eats & Talks About Her Bike Named Eloise. Onto bigger and better things, like the nearly no-cook supper I made for dinner tonight that I am currently going NUTS for – Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad!


I saw this recipe on Eat, Live, Run last week and have been this excited to make it ever since. It combines some of my favorite, fresh flavors like avocado, citrus & sweet corn into a salad that is eXpLoDiNg with flavor.

Plus there’s only one small cooking component, which makes it ideal for making on stupid-hot days like today


I started by combining the salad ingredients into a large bowl. Chopped red onion,




(I cut off the peel of the grapefruit with a knife, then slice and dice the flesh. Very easy & quick, plus I just hate peeling citrus fruit!)

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black beans,


dried cranberries,


corn on off the cob,


(which is so sweet & tender that you can just eat it raw!)

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diced avocado,


and chopped cilantro.


Look at those lay-ahs of flav-ahs!


Next I added the quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is a complete protein that looks very tiny and innocent, but after simmering in a little water and salt, it “boings” out into a puffy spiral.




You can find quinoa at most grocery stores, but if you don’t like it, or can’t find it for some reason, you could make this salad with couscous, Israeli couscous (that would be bomb) or even brown rice.


Finally I drizzled a zippy, homemade Lime Vinaigrette over top,


tossed everything together, and DOVE IN.


I mean, I just don’t even know where to begin!


The first flavor to jump out at me was the super-sweet corn. Then I noticed the chewy dried cranberries, creamy beans, tart grapefruit and mellow avocado.


Flavor & textures gone wild!


Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad

Serves 3-4


Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad combines fresh flavors like avocado, citrus and sweet corn in a salad that's exploding with flavor.


  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/4 small red onion, minced
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled & diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off cob
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Lime Vinaigrette:
    • 1-1/2 limes
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer. Add to a small saucepan with the water, then bring to a boil. Put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, then simmer for 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Remove from heat, let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  2. Combine red onion, grapefruit, black beans, cranberries, corn, avocado, cilantro and cooked quinoa into a large bowl. Toss with lime vinaigrette, sprinkle with additional salt & pepper to taste, then serve.
  3. For Lime Vinaigrette: juice 1 1/2 limes into a small bowl, then whisk in extra virgin olive oil and season with salt & pepper to taste.


Slightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Then you need to get these…


Mini Blue Bunny Champ Cones – muwahahaha!


Aren’t they adorable?

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Ok I will admit that I miss the nuts on top, like the regular champ cones have…


but these babies are only 140 calories, are a perfect portion controlled dessert and, most importantly, still have the chocolate “plug” in the bottom of the cone. That’s my very favorite part. :)




If you could be on a reality show, what one would it be?

I want to be on the Amazing Race. I can’t watch it because I get too jealous! ;) It is also horrifying to know that I am officially too old to be on the Real World. I always thought that would be cool. Maybe in another life!

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  1. Oh my goodness, sundae cones bring back so many memories of being a kid! My sister would always bite the bottom tip before she was done and it resulted in her cone melting all over her fingers…every.single.time. Oh to be 5 again….

    P.S. I think your bike upgrades are stellar!

  2. Lauren 06.06.2011

    Ah, so ironic, I made almost the same dinner tonight. I made a Quinoa salad too but mine was a Vegetable Bruschetta Salad. I’ve been seeing so many quinoa meals lately and apparently everyone else has the same idea. :) This will have to be my next one.

  3. The chocolate plug is the best! I’m obsessed. Maybe add your own nuts?

  4. WOW! That salad looks amazing. I’ve never cooked quinoa before and I really want to try it. I bet the grapefruit added such a nice flavor…

    As for reality TV shows I’d pick Cupcake Wars (and proceed to hypervenilate when they ask you to make 1000 cupcakes in 2 hours) and/or Road Rules (sort of like Amazing Race except you get to hang out with more than one person? – minus all the drama though!)

  5. Shannon 06.06.2011

    That salad looks great. I love your revamped bike btw. I wish I lived in an area that was a bit more bike friendly. There are lots of hills and mega-busy roads in my city.

  6. I so want a bike, now!!!! I have wanted one for awhile but i’m jelly of your steal! And I wanted to make that quinoa salad as soon as I saw it, too. YUM!

  7. Melissa 06.06.2011

    My God, my dinner looks like nothin’ next to that salad!!!
    Totally digging the Bachelorette, but I’m not really a fan of Ashley’s, either. What is it? Maybe she just doesn’t seem genuine? I don’t know. I agree that everyone on there right now seems pretty boring, though. I mean, if even *I’m* bored on their dates, how could they possibly be having any fun?

  8. Hailey 06.06.2011

    Totally jealous of your bike. Looks great with the upgrades!

  9. Mellissa 06.06.2011

    I think that is a great deal on a bike, I have been checking Craig’s List and have not had much luck. Hopefully soon!

    I always wanted to be on The Next Food Network Star and The Amazing Race. I wonder if there could be a cooking and travel themed one.

  10. Kelly 06.06.2011

    What aisle in quinoa in? I have never been able to find it and not prepared to go to Whole Foods..that place scares me!! :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.06.2011

      It should be near couscous, rice or pasta. If you still can’t find it, I’d just ask an employee or something! :)

      • Kelly 06.06.2011

        Thank you!!! :)

  11. Stephanie 06.06.2011

    Oooo girl I have this quinoa salad on my “to make” list too, it looks so amazing for summer!! All those flavors mmm mmmm, genius. I hate ironing too, don’t feel bad ;)

  12. Kristin from MN 06.06.2011

    Survivor! I wanna be on it SOOOO BAAAD! :)

  13. Caryle 06.06.2011

    I’m going to echo the where in the store question. Is it in the bulk grains section at Hy-Vee?? That looks really good. :)

  14. Yummmmm this is perfect! We have tons of cooked corn in our fridge and ALWAYS have quinoa. Why have I never used grapefruit in a salad?!

  15. jad18 06.06.2011

    Looks great…we had a blueberry/strawberry/chicken salad tonight. I am not really into this season of The Bachelorette either. It is really boring. I would love to be on the Amazing Race b/c I would love to travel all those places.

  16. I totally just made this salad on Friday, and it was amazing!!

  17. My husband just picked up a used road bike at our auction last weekend. He is pumped to upgrade a few things and hit the road!

  18. jad18 06.06.2011

    Oh and I meant to post that I finally saw bridesmaids this weekend based on your review. Loved it!

  19. girliefriend 06.06.2011! Quinoa is the perfect food. I like to keep it cooked up and in the fridge so I always have a quick dish, sweet, savory, breakfast, lunch or dinner. It works all the way around. Love Eloise!

  20. Cristal 06.06.2011

    Hi Kristin! I have been reading your blog for quite a while now. And love it BTW! I was just wondering why you don’t blog about your bfast and lunch anymore?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.07.2011

      I switched jobs back in October and start work at 6:30am. Unfortunately that doesn’t leave much time for blogging in the morning!

  21. Amy 06.06.2011

    I hate ironing. I usually iron *in* the wrinkles instead of out!! My hubs even does mine when absolutely necessary. We try to buy the “wrinkle resistant” clothing!!

    Oh and I wouldn’t ever be on a reality tv show. Maybe The Price is Right but never a reality show!

  22. anna 06.06.2011

    So many things… I NEED to try quinoa. Eloise looks great. I’m jealous of your warm weather (it’s been cold in Reno, go figure! in the desert!). I want salad for dinner now. I agree with you on the Amazing Race! Is Mythbusters considered a reality show? Is Survivor still on? What about Pimp My Ride (haha!)? Hell’s Kitchen! The Next Iron Chef!

  23. amanda 06.06.2011

    The chocolate plug at the bottom is THE BEST part for sure!!!! I’ve been known to eat it first… not the best idea lol

  24. I hate ironing and so does the hubby, so we dry clean, I’ll admit we are likely wasting money, but it is worth it to us not to have to do it haha.

    I would for sure want to be on Amazing Race, hubs and I love it so much we even pick which challenges each of us would do throughout and what not, yes we are dorks!

  25. The salad looks amazing. Perfect summer meal! I love amazing race too. I think I would choose that show or I just saw a commercial for a new one similar to Survivor called Expedition Impossible that looks like quite the challenge.

  26. Jen 06.06.2011

    I am not usually a Bachelor/Bachelorette watcher, but I watched tonight and holy cow did Ashley dodge a bullet with Bentley! What a frickin coward to use his daughter as a scapegoat!

    Eloise looks great, btw!

  27. Michelle 06.06.2011

    I love quinoa. I’m going to have to try this recipe!
    I would love to be on Big Brother. That is my favorite reality show, ever. I think I could outsmart them all and win it!

  28. dmcgirl (Dawn) 06.07.2011

    I am so happy you got new handle bars/wraps, I was completely grossed out thinking you were using those old ones… EWWWWW!!!

    Good job on the makeover, it will be Perrrfectto!

  29. laura 06.07.2011

    i drooled over this recipe when jenna made it & now i see it again, dang i miss summer.

    i always get upset when a cone doesnt have the chocolate ‘plug’, it’s the best part of the ice-cream.

  30. Birgitta 06.07.2011

    Lovely recipe!

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while but this is my first time commenting. I just wanted to say that I hope you’ll get a helmet as well! In my experience (I used to bike to work, 18 miles round trip) people drive their cars like crazy around bikers.

    Ride safely!

  31. Amanda 06.07.2011

    I am going to be making that wonderful salad for our dish to pass for a BBQ this Friday – DELISH!

    If I could be on any reality show, it would be Survivor. I think that I am tough enough to actually show up, and the experience would make me strong enough to make it to the end. I think I could pull it off without turning into one of the girls who follow Boston Rob or Russel. =)

  32. Hope 06.07.2011

    That salad looks delicious! I am totally going to make it! It has two of my favorite ingredients, quinoa and avocado! Yum!

    I totally read Reality Steve too! I’ve been reading him for several years now. I love his site! I have to know what is going to happen on the Bachelorette/Bachelor before it happens. I agree with you on this season. I am not an Ashley fan. She just seems so fake to me.

  33. Ashley 06.07.2011

    Wow! I think I need to make this salad! *Drool*

    I’m not a fan of Ashley at all! However, I did watch it last night. I have to say that I am SO happy that Bentley is FINALLY gone! What a jerk!

  34. Lisa 06.07.2011

    Crazy! I made that salad on Sunday…couldn’t resist after seeing ELR’s recipe.

  35. kEndra 06.07.2011

    This bachelorette season is just so-so… Bentley made me want to slap him across the face every time he talked though.

  36. What a perfect summer meal. New England is about to get hit with your heatwave, so I just might have to bust this recipe out!

  37. Tracy 06.07.2011

    I was comparing your recipe to ELR’s and noticed you halved everything but the olive oil which you more than doubled. Was that a typo or did you really use that much oil? If you did, was it pretty oily? After tasting it, would you recommend using your quantity or Jenna’s?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.07.2011

      No it wasn’t oily at all. I added more oil so it was more of a vinaigrette. I really liked it, but you could do whatever quantities you like best!

  38. AJ 06.07.2011

    I agree that this season’s Bachelorette is not as good as some past seasons. Ashley is WEIRD. I mean seriously, she takes a guy ring shopping on a first date? Then there was the time she told one of the guys that she was flipping a coin to decide if he would get a rose. The look on the poor guy’s face. She seems to enjoy putting men in awkward situations to see how they will react! I’ll keep watching, but I have to wonder why all these hot men really want to be with crazy, ditzy Ashley!

    I have no desire to be on a reality show, ever. I guess maybe one where they redo my whole house for free…. I could deal with that.

  39. Steph @321delish 06.07.2011

    It’s supposed to be BLAZING hot this week here. This will definitely be on my meal menu this week!

  40. Julie S. 06.07.2011

    I’ve been watching the Bachelorette just ‘cuz there’s nothing else on & my daughter gets a kick out of it. I’m not a big fan of Ashley either, but I really hope she found someone she’s happy with ‘cuz after she’s watched all the episodes so far & heard all the awful things Bentley was saying (while she was falling for him), she’s gonna be seriously f&@%ed up! He’s a real pig!

    I just had a chicken salad at Carlos O’Kelley’s this weekend (they have a great lite menu!) that had corn, black beans, green onions, pico, green & red peppers w/ fat-free rasp vinagrette dressing. It was awesome! Just added all those ingredients to my grocery list so I can have it at home!

    I’m headed to KC for the wknd. Any suggestions?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.07.2011

      I actually haven’t been to KC in yeeeears. I do remember some great shopping though! Have fun!

  41. Fun post, lady! I love the upgrades (definitely a nice new bike bag). Bike fixes are spendy! I’m actually planning on purchasing a new commuter bike this month bc when I think about buying an older vintage, it would cost me ALMOST the same (after fixing wheels, handlebars, tune up, etc) that a nice new commuter will be. At the same time, part of me really wants a vintage looking roadie to ride around. Maybe next summer…

    And that quinoa salad with the grapefruit and addition of your homemade sauce sounds delish! PS – I still pronounce quinoa incorrectly about half the time just bc I got so used to saying it the wrong way.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.07.2011

      Hahahaha I do too! I much prefer “qui-no-ah” to “keen-wah”!

      • dmc (Dawn) 06.07.2011

        I never know what people are talking about when they say it incorrectly then I feel badly for correcting them when I finally figure it out! ;-)

  42. Ashley 06.07.2011

    I too am SO glad that Bentley is gone. How did she “fall” for him so quickly… I just don’t get it. I personally have no idea what show I’d like to be on. I’d just love to have Jillian Micheal’s kick my tail….

  43. I must say I was horrified by last night’s Bachelorette episode. I always wondered if men that mean existed. Now, Bentley has helped me to confirm. But still, I’m kind of hooked.

    I too am horrified that I’m too old for Real World. I think that would be my first pick. A while back there was a reality tv show about girls who had an internship at a hip women’s magazine in NYC. I’d love to be on that show!

  44. Stephanie 06.07.2011

    Yum! This looks great! It’s quite HOT in Chicago today and it will make for a perfect dinner! My mom always told me I couldn’t eat corn on the cob without boiling it first because of potential bugs, pesticides, etc…was she just pulling my leg? :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 06.07.2011

      Ummmm, I hope so! ;) No, but really, I’ve never heard that! I mean, the same could be said for any other produce, right?

  45. Melissa 06.08.2011

    I’ve heard “Downy Wrinkle Releaser” is magical stuff, I have yet to try it, a friend of mine swears by it.

    Thinking of avocado and grapefruit together makes my taste buds tingle! :-D

  46. Katie 06.08.2011

    OMG, I love mini-foods. I want those cones!

  47. this looks AMAZING! literally all of my favorite flavors combined. i make quinoa salads all the time with roasted veggies, and bring them all week for lunch. i love this one because of the GRAPEFRUIT….my favorite fruit ever. i cant wait to make this – thank you!

  48. […] Iowa Girl Eats.  I seemed to recall that she’d posted something I really wanted to try ~ a Black Bean, Quinoa & Citrus Salad, perfect for uber-hot days because the cooking elements totalled […]

  49. […] of cilantro already to make this amazing salad recipe I saw on Iowa Girl Eats‘ blog for black bean, quinoa and citrus salad. So good! And like Kristin, I am also fixing up a beater bike these […]

  50. Meaghan 08.14.2011

    Made this early in the morning with plans for it to be my lunch…almost ate it for breakfast too! SO yummy!

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