Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups | Simple Bites

Eat Seasonal: Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups

There’s a sunny spot on my bedroom dresser on the second floor of my house and I’m growing two flats of seedlings in its warmth. If it wasn’t for the perky tomato shoots and the sprouting chives growing there, it would be hard to find a single sign of spring anywhere around for miles.

We woke up to more snow and plummeting temperatures on Easter weekend. I wore fuzzy leg warmers under my flowered-print dress and the children ran their easter egg hunt in full snowsuits. There wasn’t a crocus to be seen all holiday long, although the cold didn’t stop us from having a string of lovely gatherings.

During this confused weather, my cooking has featured a melding of the seasons: the requisite hearty cold weather comfort foods enhanced by a few spring delicacies. Today’s Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups are a good example of such a marriage. A sturdy black bean and quinoa salad topped off with a crunchy mix of cucumber, mango, jalepeno, radish and avocado; good enough to forget all about the snow – for a few minutes.

Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups

We won’t be seeing any local asparagus or spring spinach around here for quite some time, so I’m celebrating a few tropical fruits that happen to be in season. Although they can be found in stores all year round, both the Ataulfo mango and the Hass avocado come into season around this time, and combined with radishes, jalapeno, cucumbers from local greenhouse growers, they make a salad that delivers crunchiness, creaminess, sweetness and heat.

Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups | Simple Bites

The quinoa-bean mixture can be prepared a day or so in advance, but the fruit and vegetable topping should be made and enjoyed right away. Leave out the jalapeno if you’re serving the salad to small children, otherwise toss it in for a bit of heat to balance out the sweetness of the mango.

For a lighter version of this salad, toss a few spoonfuls with equal amounts of baby arugula and enjoy immediately.

Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups
5.0 from 2 reviews
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 6 servings
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 English cucumber, washed
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 ripe Ataulfo mango
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado
  • 8-10 young radishes
  • 6 red cabbage leaves, for presentation (optional
  1. For the vinaigrette: Whisk together orange juice, red wine vinegar and crushed garlic. Drizzle in the olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine quinoa, black beans and cilantro. Add 2 Tablespoons of the vinaigrette and mix well.
  3. Cut the cucumber into small chunks. Thinly slice the jalapeno, discarding the seeds.
  4. Peel the mango, slice on either side of the seed, then cut into 1 cm cubes. Cut the avocado in half, remove pit, peel, and cut into 1 cm cubes. Thinly slice the radishes.
  5. In another medium bowl, combine cucumber, jalapeno, mango and radishes. Drizzle with 2 Tablespoons vinaigrette and mix well. Add in cubed avocado and toss gently.
  6. Divide quinoa mixture among the red cabbage leaves. Top with a generous helping of the tangy spring mango-avocado salad. Finish with a little more orange vinaigrette. Enjoy at once.

Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad | Simple Bites

Of course, you can always jumble all the ingredients into a jar and enjoy the salad for lunch another day.

Eat Seasonal

I’m back in the loop with the Eat Seasonal bloggers and we’ve got another beautiful round-up of inspiration for your April eats.

April Eat Seasonal Recipes

Thanks as always to Becky for organizing our little group; be sure to visit Vintage Mixer for the complete guide to seasonal produce in April!

April Eat Seasonal

What seasonal ingredients are on your plate this month?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Oh man. Wicked cold here too this weekend. Where is Spring? I can’t take this any longer! These salad cups are just gorgeous. The colors make me happy!

  2. You guys just keep getting pummeled with snow! Hopefully some signs of spring will begin to creep in…soon. These salad cups are simply lovely and perfect for celebrating the flavors of spring.

  3. So lovely and appetizing! I am so excited spring is here for all the fabulous veggies and fruit – as well as the warmer weather! 🙂
    I can’t wait to make these salad cups! Yum!

  4. I am going to send some spring sunshine you way ASAP! Now, these salad cups look amazing!! Love all the veggies!

  5. I almost died when I saw your IG of the kids egg hunting in snow! It’s still chilly here, so comfort food combined with spring ingredients is exactly what I need.

  6. Ugh it’s not looking much like spring here, either. We had flurries on and off all day yesterday. Asparagus–what’s that? :-). These look beautiful and seasonal and like a great way to take the edge off of a nasty “spring”.

  7. No sign of spring produce here yet except for a few pea shoots. I’m so ready for the snow to just melt! This salad looks perfect for these hoping for spring days.

  8. These look so good. I love making quinoa salads. It’s finally warming up here in NY.

  9. My dinners lately have also been a clash of winter meets spring like my broccoli stuffed shells! But I’m all about a little winter comfort with spring green.

    I love your idea of quinoa in cabbage cups! What a perfect spring appetizer.

    And I love the mental picture I’m getting of your kids egg hunting in snow suits 🙂

  10. Delicious! This is my kind of dinner!!

  11. I love the idea of throwing all the ingredients into a jar- simple and delicious!

  12. Great post! I’ve never used red quinoa before. Is it necessary to use it or cammi use the plain ol quinoa I
    have on hand?

  13. Great cooking i liked

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