A gorgeous Spiced Pinto Bean Salad on top of baby spinach with homemade Creamy Avocado Dressing that is ready from scratch in 15 minutes. Perfect easy healthy meal for the summer!
This Spiced Pinto Bean Salad with Homemade Creamy Avocado Dressing was created in partnership with Randall Beans. I am excited to create recipes for them and share the recipes here with you. This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure.
This gloomy weather we've been having in New Jersey was seriously getting me down. I was so ready for summer - I put away all my winter clothes, took out the sandals, checked whether I have enough summer dresses (Aldo would argue 'yes,' but I think I could always use more 🙂 ). But mother nature was like, NOPE! NOT YET.
So while we were waiting for the sun to come back out, I wanted to share this Spiced Pinto Bean Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing that I created for Randall Beans that just screams 'Summer' to me!
This pinto bean salad has lots of crisp delicious vegetables, tender avocado, toasted spiced pinto beans, and tasty queso fresco cheese. It is topped with an easy creamy (but healthy!) avocado dressing.
I can see this salad being my go-to dinner this upcoming summer - it takes about 15 mins to put together from start to finish, and this includes toasting yummy pinto beans AND making the dressing. It's perfect for a no-fuss healthy meal so we can eat and get outside....if it ever warms up.
How to make this pinto bean salad:
You'll start by quickly cooking the pinto beans in a skillet - just a couple of minutes. You'll add Cajun seasoning to the pinto beans and toss them in the spice mixture. This will give them a wonderful flavor and make them nice and warm for the salad.
Side note: if you prefer, you can use chickpeas in this recipe instead of pinto beans - just follow the same instructions.
Then you chop up all the veggies: cucumber, tomatoes, half an avocado (save the other half for the dressing!), and red onion. Chop the queso fresco (a type of white cheese similar to feta cheese), or you can also use crumbled feta cheese for this salad. Dice the scallions and/or cilantro for garnish.
Then you'll arrange everything on a plate: layer all the veggies, the spiced pinto beans, and the cheese on top of baby spinach. Drizzle the creamy avocado dressing on top.
Of course, you can also toss everything together in a bowl. I just think these layered salads make for a gorgeous presentation.
How to make Creamy Avocado Dressing:
You know that other avocado half you didn't use for a salad? Throw it into a small food processor (or a magic bullet type of personal blender) with plain Greek yogurt, some water, lime juice, garlic, scallion, salt and pepper and process until smooth.
It's simple and so delicious.
What you'll need to make this spiced pinto bean salad:
- Cajun seasoning. Try to find Cajun seasoning that doesn't have any added salt. This way you can add the salt separately and really control the flavor of your spiced pinto beans.
- Lime juice. I recommend squeezing fresh lime juice for the avocado dressing. This gives the dressing a much fresher flavor. It only takes a few seconds to squeeze a lime and I think it's so worth it. I love this citrus squeezer and use it almost daily.
- Garlic: Again, use fresh garlic for the avocado dressing. Its flavor works much better for this recipe than dried garlic powder. I have this garlic press that my mom gave me almost 13 years ago when I moved out on my own, and it's been going strong ever since. It makes it easy to mince fresh garlic.
- A small food processor or personal blender. This will make sure that your avocado dressing is super smooth and creamy. I personally prefer the magic-bullet type of personal blender for the dressing because it's such a small amount. A small food processor works equally well though.
You might also love these other delicious salad recipes:
If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below! And don't forget to save it for later on Pinterest:
Spiced Pinto Bean Salad with Avocado Dressing
- 1 15-oz can pinto beans , drained and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon Cajun spice (taco seasoning will work great too!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large handfuls baby spinach
- 1 cup grape tomatoes , halved
- 1/2 avocado , diced
- 1 medium cucumber , thinly sliced
- 1/2 small red onion , thinly sliced
- 4 oz queso fresco (or feta), chopped or crumbled
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 tablespoons plain low fat yogurt
- 1/4 cup water
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 scallion , roughly chopped
- Salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon), pepper to taste
- In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the pinto beans and Cajun spice and cook for 3-4 minutes over high heat, stirring constantly. The beans will crisp up and start popping. Remove from heat and allow to cool as you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Prepare the dressing in a small food processor or magic bullet: Add all the ingredients and process until smooth.
- Arrange the salad: On a large platter (or 2 large dinner plates), arrange the spinach, topped with rows of Spiced Pinto Beans, halved grape tomato, cucumber slices, onion slices, cubes of queso fresco, and chopped avocado. Top with Avocado dressing.