Pineapple Black Bean Salad

It’s been sooo dark and dreary here lately. I’ve been putting off cooking because there just isn’t enough light to get pretty pictures, but at some point I’ve got to eat! So, I threw together this salad after work one day, despite the dark skies.

Something happens to me every winter about this time. I get tired of the super cooked down soups, stews, and casseroles and start craving light, fresh food. My body wants something healthy, fresh, and summery! I thought this Pineapple Black Bean Salad would be perfect. Grain salads like these are awesome because they’re full of flavor, color, and texture. You can eat them as a side dish, sort of like a pilaf, or you can give yourself a bigger portion and eat it as a meal.

You can use almost any grain-like starch for this salad, but I chose this whole wheat bulgur (cracked wheat) because that was the best priced option at the store. You could use quinoa, couscous, farro, or even rice instead. Just make sure the grains are cooked and cooled before you add it to the salad.

I kept the ingredients pretty simple for costs sake, but if you want to gussy it up a bit, you could add some avocado, grilled chicken, red bell pepper, or even some red onion. Not a cilantro fan? I’d use some green onion instead. They’re completely different flavors, but both go well with the rest of the ingredients and it’s nice to have at least something green in the salad.

And of course, I topped mine with sriracha. (sriracha+pineapple=together forever)

Pineapple Black Bean Salad

Pineapple Black Bean Salad

4.47 from 15 votes
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Pineapple Black Bean Salad

Sweet pineapple and nutty whole wheat bulgur combine with black beans and a honey lime vinaigrette for a light, fresh, and filling salad.

Total Cost $6.97 recipe / $1.16 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 (1 cup each)

Ingredients

LIME VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 lime, juiced (3-4 Tbsp) $0.33
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 Tbsp honey $0.12
  • 1/2 tsp cumin $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

SALAD

  • 4 cups cooked bulgur or other grain $0.97
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro $0.45
  • 1/3 cup unsalted cashews $2.40
  • 1 15 oz. can pineapple tidbits in juice $1.19
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans $1.09

Instructions

  1. Cook the bulgur or grain according to the package directions.* Allow the grains to cool completely. Place the pot in the refrigerator to quicken the cooling, if needed.
  2. Prepare the dressing by whisking together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Set the dressing aside.
  3. Drain the pineapple tidbits very well. Roughly chop the pineapple into slightly smaller pieces. Roughly chop the cashews. Pull the cilantro from the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Rinse and drain the black beans well. Combine the pineapple, cashews, cilantro, and black beans in a bowl.
  4. Add the cooked and cooled bulgur and the dressing to the bowl. Toss the ingredients together until everything is evenly mixed and coated in dressing. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

*Many grains require a 2:1 water to grain ratio for cooking. For grain salads, I like to use a little less water (1.5:1 or 1.75:1) to keep the grains chewy and prevent them from becoming sticky.

Pineapple Black Bean Salad - BudgetBytes.com

Step by Step Photos

Bulgur

Start by cooking your grains because they’ll need time to cool before you add them to the salad. You’ll need four loosely packed cups once cooked. I happened upon this whole wheat bulgur by chance and am very happy I did. It is quick cooking (20 minutes), has a really great nutty flavor, and is very filling. It was also surprisingly inexpensive. (I’m not getting paid to say this!) Less than $4 for this bag, I only used about 1/4 of the bag, and it made about 6 cups once fluffed. The directions say to use 2 cups of water for every cup of bulgur, but I used 1.75 cups of water to keep the grains nice and chewy. 

Lime Vinaigrette

While the grains are cooking, you can prepare the rest of the salad. To make the lime vinaigrette, whisk together the juice from one lime (3-4 Tbsp), 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. If I make this again, I’ll probably just stir some sriracha right into the dressing! 

Pineapple Cilantro Cashews

Drain one 15oz. can of pineapple tidbits very, very well. Roughly chop the pineapple into slightly smaller pieces. Roughly chop 1/3 cup unsalted cashews, and about 1/2 bunch of cilantro.

Black Beans

Rinse one 15oz. can of black beans and let them drain well. Place the black beans, pineapple, cashews, and cilantro in a large bowl.

Cooked Bulgur

Once the bulgur is cooked, let it cool. To quicken the cooling process, you can place the pot in the refrigerator and give it a stir every few minutes. You definitely want to let it cool before adding to the salad, so that it doesn’t wilt the cilantro. For even better results, cook the bulgur the night before.

Finished Pineapple Black Bean Salad

Add the bulgur and dressing to the bowl with the black beans, pineapple, cilantro, and cashews. Fold the ingredients together until the salad is well mixed and everything is coated with dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Pineapple Black Bean Salad - BudgetBytes.com

Top with sriracha? Yes please!