This Quinoa Salad Is Beautiful Recovery Food

Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan took to social media to find out what people love to pair with quinoa. This salad is the final result!

For this recipe, we went to the drawing board—or more like the social media boards. We asked our followers to share their favorite quinoa salad pairings. The resounding winner was a Mexican-themed salad complete with black beans, avocado, cilantro and lime. We didn’t think anyone would mind, but we also snuck in a few more veggies and pumpkin seeds too.

We found this salad so refreshing and revitalizing that we now call it our Recovery Salad. For vegetarians (and meat lovers too), quinoa is fantastic after a hard workout since it’s one of the only plant foods containing all nine essential amino acids—essential for repairing those sore muscles.

Recovery Quinoa Salad Recipe


Serves 6

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed using a fine-mesh strainer
  • 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt, divided
  • 3 cups loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include the seeds if you like spice)
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1. cups cooked black beans
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (3–4 limes)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated Cotija, crumbled feta cheese or chopped olives


In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil the quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender and all the water has been absorbed, 15–20 minutes.

Transfer to a large salad bowl, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. Once cool, add kale, red bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, black beans, lime juice, oil and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt to quinoa and toss to combine.

Taste and add additional salt, if needed. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with avocado, pumpkin seeds and the cheese or olives.