Cilantro’s Meal-Prep Quinoa Salad

It’s not every day that you hear about a runner eating quinoa.

Just kidding.

Although it’s not the hot pseudo-grain that it was a few years ago, it’s still a pretty popular not-grain (because it’s actually a seed! ย Who knew?) in part because it is high in protein, while still delivering the carbs runners need. And, of course, quinoa is delicious. For this installation in our Salty Running in the Kitchen series, I’ve adapted a few quinoa recipes to create a quinoa salad that is quick to make and keeps well in the fridge for up to a week. It keeps well because there isn’t a dressing โ€” but you won’t miss it, as long as you have a favorite hot sauce and avocado handy!

Cilantro’s Quinoa Salad

(4 main dish servings, 8 side dish servings)


1 c quinoa (cook as directed, remembering to rinse the quinoa prior to cooking)

2 c black beans, rinsed

1 red pepper, diced

1/4 c red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c fresh cilantro, minced (dry won’t do in this recipe. It’s gotta be fresh!)

1 cucumber (scoop the flesh out and dice)

1 avocado, cubed

1 T hot sauce of choice (I choose Frank’s Red Hot)


  1. Put all ingredients except the avocado and hot sauce in a bowl.
  2. If you are eating the salad now, add the avocado and hot sauce just before serving, and stir. The avocado and hot sauce, mixed together, are a smooth dream that far exceed any dressing you could make.
  3. If you are eating a portion, measure out how much you’d like to eat, and top with 1/4 avocado, diced, and hot sauce to taste. Refrigerate the rest. Without dressing, it’ll keep in your fridge up to a week.
Cilantro’s Meal Prep Quinoa Salad

I make this every weekend and portion it into 2-cup servings for weekday servings. I just bring an avocado to work on Monday, and cut out my portion every day. In a pinch, you can substitute olive oil for avocado, and I like it almost as well. I do like my food very spicy, but if you are not a fan, substitute 1 T apple cider vinegar + 1 t salt for your dressing in lieu of the hot sauce.


Ultrarunner, adventurer, academic, and feminist. Running Across the USA in 2021 to raise money for Girls on the Run. Next challenge: Collegiate Trail Loop FKT. I write about ultrarunning, adventuring, and the intersection of endurance athletics and life.

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