Hearty Tropical Black Bean Mango Quinoa

Don’t you just love recipes that you can make over and over again, but never get sick of?

Vertical image of a black bowl with a quinoa side dish and a fork, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

That’s how this recipe fits into my life.

It’s made its way into my weekly meal rotation for my meatless goals that I set this year, and I am never going to get rid of it.

I know that some people feel that the idea of “Meatless Mondays” is a little overrated or played up too much, but as a serious carnivore, I really love the idea.

Vertical image of a forkful of a grain salad in a dark bowl next to a lime half and beverage.

It gives me a chance at least once a week not only to cut out meat, but to get a little creative with my dinners. I can feel good about getting my protein from alternate sources, but I can also use the opportunity to experiment with flavors I might not usually try.

That’s why this dish really stands out and has made it into the rotation on a weekly basis. Who would think that mango could really bring out the best of a dish made with quinoa and black beans?

I love the combination of all the hearty and zesty ingredients that you’ll find in every single bite. You get the heartiness from the pseudograin, and the rich black beans. Plus, they both contain plenty of protein.

Vertical image of a fork holding some grain salad, with two bowls of the same salad in the background with beer.

Then there’s the combination of seasonings. I use simple ones like garlic powder and cayenne pepper that you’ll already find on your spice rack. They might seem small, in quantity at least, but they are truly mighty. The mix brings a balance to the other ingredients in the recipe, plus a hint of spice.

And the juicy mango and the lime really wake everything up.

This side or vegetarian main is citrusy and tangy, so you don’t just get a big bite of hearty richness. There’s a balance to this dish, and that’s the most important piece of the dinner puzzle.

Vertical top-down image of a black bowl with a quinoa salad on a white napkin with silverware, limes, and a bottled beverage.

You want to make sure you are getting those sweet, salt, acid, and heat elements in order to make the recipe taste well-rounded. And the magic of this dish is that it’s also quite versatile.

You can eat it on its own, but it also works really well as a filler for burrito bowls, or straight up burritos. You can add it to tacos, whip up creative enchiladas with the leftovers, and eat it straight up for lunch the next day. I’ve even used it as an interesting and hearty garnish on top of black bean soup.

This recipe serves two as a main dish, but it can also serve four as a side. And if you decide that this won’t be a meatless meal when you’re figuring out how to use up leftovers, trust me when I say that it works as a great round-two recipe alongside a grilled meat like chicken or pork.

Horizontal image of two black bowls with quinoa salad on a light napkin, in front of two beverages in glass bottles.

You can also make this recipe as part of your weekly meal prep because it lasts really well in the refrigerator when it’s stored in airtight containers. Again, you can get creative with how you eat it, or you can simply eat it straight out of the bowl.

What could be easier than that?

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Horizontal image of a grain bowl with legumes and fruit.

Black Bean and Mango Tropical Quinoa

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


Grain dishes don’t have to be boring. To prove it, make this hearty and tropical black bean mango quinoa recipe this week.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium mango, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse well with water.
  2. Place 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and add rinsed quinoa and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked through and water is absorbed. Set aside for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork..
  3. Place olive oil, mango, black beans, lime zest, juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne into a large bowl. Add cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Add cilantro and stir again.  
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: vegetarian, gluten-free, quinoa, pseudograin, mango, black bean

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

Horizontal top-down image of assorted ingredients in clear glass dishes on a dark wooden surface.

Peel mango and remove the flesh from the pit. Dice the fruit and set it aside.

Strain the black beans in a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain well and set aside.

Zest enough lime until you have 1 teaspoon. I used about 1 small lime for this, and made quick work of it with my microplane.

Use the same lime to get the 2 teaspoons of lime juice that you need.

Chop enough cilantro leaves until you have 1/4 cup total.

Measure out all remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Cook Pseudograins

Horizontal image of cooking pseudograins with water in a black pot.

It’s true, quinoa is actually a seed. But it’s often used like a grain in cooking, and is what’s commonly referred to as a “pseudograin.”

Add it to a fine mesh sieve. Rinse it well with water to remove the bitter saponins that naturally occurs on each seed. You only need a quick rinse to accomplish this. Check your package, since it may already be pre-rinsed.

Add 2 cups water to a medium saucepan. Add rinsed quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.

Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until soft and cooked through.

When all of the water is absorbed and it is tender, remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with the fork.

Step 3 – Finish and Serve or RefrigerateHorizontal image of a bright blue bowl with assorted ingredients.

While the quinoa is cooking, add the olive oil, mango, black beans, lime zest, juice, remaining salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne to a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Stir in the cooked quinoa until combined. Stir in the cilantro and serve immediately.

Horizontal image of a grain bowl with legumes and fruit.

This dish can also be stored for a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Make-Ahead for Easy Lunches and Weeknight Meals

If you want to make this ahead of time for weekly meal prep, or perhaps you have some leftovers you would like to eat another time, it can definitely be stored and saved.

Horizontal image of two black bowls with a grain salad and metal forks.

All you have to do is store the dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The mixture will last for three to five days that way, making it a nice option to make in bulk for weekly lunches.

Do you want to explore additional new ways to make quinoa? Here are some of our favorite recipes:

Will you eat this dish for dinner or for lunch? Or maybe both? Tell us in the comments below. Be sure to rate the recipe as well to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on July 5, 2012. Last updated: January 6, 2023 at 10:00 am.

*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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