5-spice black bean salad w/ rocket greens + citrus dressing / by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

call it a sensory issue or something, but up until last summer i never ever ate beans in their whole form, meaning i would eat them mushed, but never actually chomped a bean other than a chickpea. however, after honeymooning in costa rica last august my bean-thinking mind did a 180ยฐ! almost every meal was served with what the costa ricans call, gallo pinto (rice + beans), and they were some of the most epic pieces of food to ever enter my mouth.  i think the mixture of rice with the beans all together helped me get over my irrational fear of the the black bean, but also the red pepper, cilantro and in some cases chili pepper that was all super subtle but extremely tasty.  frank and i still dream about gallo pinto, and i hope one day i'll have more luck recreating it.  

this salad really just started out as an easy lunch for the entire week.  a lot of dishes/salads i make usually last me for a good 3-4 days; things that i can pack away in the fridge as leftovers and put them together easily the next day.  this salad has been my absolute favorite for a number of reasons: 1.) i cheat and use canned beans because i'm too lazy for the overnight soak sometimes. 2.) the 5-spice combo is insanely tasty, mixing savory and sweet spices to give the beans some serious depth of flavor. and 3.) all the flavors are super bright; mixing the spices with some citrus, acid, slightly bitter/peppery greens and sweetness from the mango all make it super well-rounded and packed with flavor.  i hope you enjoy as i seriously look forward to this easy little meal each day :)

5-spice black bean salad w/ rocket greens + citrus dressing (gf + v)

| makes 4 servings |


  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (preferably no salt added + bpa free lining - i like Eden Organic brand) 
  • 1 small-medium red onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, separated
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 mango, peeled and sliced
  • 5 ounces wild arugula
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from half of a lime
  • sesame seeds + hemp seeds to taste

easy citrus dressing

  • juice from 1 orange (navel, blood, cara cara, etc.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • big pinch of salt
  • a few cracks of black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  • in a small saucepan, combine the quinoa with 1 cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, bring to a boil, stir and cover; reduce heat to low and cook for 12-15 minutes.  remove from heat with lid on the pot, set aside for later

make the beans

  • in a medium-sized sautรฉ pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the onion, cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft and fragrant.  add the garlic and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. add the black beans and stock, bring to simmer.  add the 5 spices (cayenne optional) and salt and stir to combine.  let the beans simmer until half the liquid has cooked down, about 12 minutes.  turn off heat and set aside

citrus dressing

  • in a jar fitted with a lid, combine the fresh orange juice, vinegar, salt + pepper; secure lid on the jar and shake vigorously for a couple minutes.  take lid off and add olive oil, shake vigorously again until all ingredients are incorporated.  set aside if using right away, if not store in the fridge until ready to use

assemble salad

  • portion each of the 4 bowls with equal amounts beans, quinoa, greens, and mango.  drizzle dressing over the greens, and give the mango a good squeeze of lime juice; garnish with a healthy dose of sesame + hemp seeds