Cooking for Wellness

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad with "Mole" Vinaigrette

May. 20, 2016

Mole is a type of sauce used in Mexican cooking. There are many variations of mole sauce, but common ingredients include dark chocolate, peppers and spices such as cumin, cinnamon or cloves. This combination of sweet and savory elements results in a rich, deep flavor. In this vinaigrette, combining cocoa, cumin, cinnamon and adobo sauce results in the flavor profile of a mole sauce. You could also make this recipe with brown rice or kidney beans.

To make ahead, leave out the greens and keep the quinoa mixture covered in the refrigerator for up to two days. Add spinach just before serving. The fresh spinach balances the spiciness and richness of the vinaigrette.

black beans quinoaServes

  • 6


  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 3/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (Note: Use 2 tsp for mild spice level.)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature (about 1 cup dry quinoa)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted pumpkin seed kernels (pepitas), toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper or jalapeno pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves


  1. To prepare vinaigrette, combine orange zest, cocoa, cumin, cinnamon, orange juice, salt, red wine vinegar and adobo sauce in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil; set aside.
  2. Combine cooked quinoa, pepitas, cilantro (or parsley), green onions, red pepper and black beans in a large bowl.
  3. Pour vinaigrette over salad ingredients; toss to coat. Add spinach; toss to combine.