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Mexican-style quinoa salad recipe

Mexican-style quinoa salad recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Grain salad
  • Quinoa salad

This has got to be one of my favourite salads of all time. It's Mexican-inspired, hearty, packed full of protein, monosaturated fats, texture and flavour. My original recipe calls for black beans, but I've also used chickpeas in the past.

13 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 4 - 6 servings

  • 150g quinoa
  • 2 large green peppers, diced
  • 2 medium ripe avocados, diced
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (400g) tin black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • dried oregano to taste
  • ground cumin to taste
  • chopped fresh chilli to taste
  • fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:30min ›Extra time:1hr chilling › Ready in:1hr50min

  1. Cook quinoa according to packet instructions. Chill until cool.
  2. Place the quinoa, peppers, avocados, tomatoes, beans and spring onions into a very large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients – olive oil, lime juice, garlic, oregano, cumin, chilli, and coriander. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Gently toss the salad with the dressing, adjust the seasoning if required and serve, enjoy!

See it on my blog

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(3)

Reviews in English (3)

I loved this recipe! I tweaked it slightly due to the ingredients I had in. I only used 1/2 the amount of quinoa, 1 avocado, 1 red and 1 green pepper (instead of 2 green) and chickpeas instead of black eyed beans. Everything else I kept the same (including quantities of dressing). It was delicious, made a massive portion (enough for 2 work lunches) and plenty of flavour (although had I done the full 150g quinoa it might have absorbed the flavour too much like the other reviewer said). I would recommend going easy on the garlic with it being raw.-23 Mar 2017

Will make this again. The only small changes from posted recipe were, using frozen sweetcorn instead of the black beans and lemon juice as had no limes in the kitchen. All the family loved it and went so far as to ask for it again on the following day.-19 Feb 2017

Sorry not for me. Didn't have enough flavour.-23 Jun 2013

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Lime Dressing

I'm always down to party with fresh, fiesta-style flavors, and this healthy Mexican-inspired Quinoa Salad is no exception. It's light and healthy yet satisfying.

Plus I love the variety of flavors and color in this dish. (Not to mention quinoa is such an awesome nutrient-packed ingredient.)

How to cook Quinoa?

Cooking quinoa is very easy but if it's a new ingredient for you then just take care of the following points otherwise it will turn mushy:

  1. Always rinse quinoa before cooking. Rinsing will remove its outer coating called Saponin which doesn't have a good taste. However, most of the quinoa which you get in the market these days is pre-rinsed.
  2. The quinoa-water ratio for cooking should be 1:2.
  3. Cook quinoa uncovered for 15-20 minutes then switch off the gas and cover the pot with a lid for at least 5 minutes. This will give a perfect fluffy quinoa every time.
  4. Quinoa triples in quantity after cooking i.e. if you cook 1 cup of quinoa you get 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

Mexican Quinoa Salad

Once at a boil cook for 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed and. Pour 12 of dressing over salad and toss.

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Mexican Quinoa Salad. This Mexican style Quinoa Salad is a must-try vegan and gluten-free summer salad. This Mexican Quinoa salad is not only super healthy its also perfect for those with food.

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Mexican Quinoa Salad Health Benefits

Regularly including herbs and spices in your recipes not boosts the flavor, but many of these seasonings also have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It’s no wonder herbs, roots, and spices were the equivalent of antibiotics thousands of years ago, long before modern medicine was introduced.

What better way to take advantage of the health benefits of herbs and spices than by cooking up some Mexican-inspired cuisine?

    Loaded With Antibacterial Herbs and Spices (to Support Gut Health and Immunity)

We’ve ratcheted up the taste and nutrition in this Mexican quinoa salad recipe by using Kettle & Fire Tomato Soup and Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth (which add flavor and eliminate the need for a dressing).

5-ingredient Mexican Quinoa

Okay, hi. I just have to dive right in today and talk about this Mexican quinoa.

5 ingredients + 15 minutes = best dinner ever.

This dish reminds me of the Mexican-style rice you can find at some restaurants. You know the type, it’s flavorful, with a reddish hue, a little crunchy and full of flavor? That’s the one. This quinoa is similar but way better.

Now granted, I’m probably a bit biased (quinoa > rice all day every day.), but I’ve managed to pack in a ton of flavor using just five, super basic ingredients. Plus, there are more goodies in here – think corn + black beans – making this dish a bit more robust and filling.

As I started researching this post, I wanted to find out how they made Mexican rice. As it turns out, it starts with a boatload of oil. Basically, you fry the rice in the pan, then add the stock, tomato sauce, and spices, and let rice cook away. The end result? A big pot of fluffy red rice.

Here’s the thing…when you try it with quinoa it totally doesn’t work. I mean epic failure. I followed a recipe I found online and ended up with a huge pot of mushy quinoa. It was like pig slop. Not good.

So word to the wise: don’t try to make Mexican quinoa the traditional rice way.

Normally, a few failures like that (did I mention I tried it 3 times) would have me abandon all hopes and move on. Not this time though. I was determined to make simple Mexican quinoa that was NOT a glob of mush.

Turns out, it’s not that hard. Should have trusted my instincts and followed the same principle I used for my quinoa fried rice to begin with. Lesson learned.

So here’s the deal with this dish. You really only need 5 ingredients.

White Quinoa (I used Ancient Harvest because it's my fave!)
Black Beans

From there you essentially just mix it all together in a pan and call it a day. How-ev-er there is one trick I have to avoid the mush: start with cold quinoa.

You already know that I like to cook big batches of quinoa and save them in the fridge for my recipes, and this type of recipe is the perfect example. Starting with quinoa that has cooled completely will help it from getting super sticky when you cook it in a pan. (and trust me…I’ve discovered this the hard way)

This recipe couldn’t be more straightforward. You just add your corn and black beans to the pan, cooking them until the corn is tender. Then add your quinoa and cumin. And finally, stir in your salsa and you’re done! I garnished mine with some cilantro because I’m obsessed, but feel free to skip that part.

Most importantly tho…dinner with 5 ingredients in under 15 minutes. Major win!

PS: if you make this recipe (or any others!) make sure to snap a pic and share it on Instagram using hashtag #SIMPLYQUINOA – I want to see your creations!

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Mexican-style Southwest Quinoa Salad is loaded with healthy veggies and tossed in a vegan and gluten-free cumin-lime dressing for an easy picnic or potluck idea!

  • Author:Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1 x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: boil, mix
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Vegan
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 1 cup dried quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 ¾ cup water
  • 1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15oz) sweet corn, drained
  • large handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ½ cup diced red onion or green onions
  • 1 small can of diced black olives
  • 2 limes, juice of (about 2 tablespoons )
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • avocado, diced or sliced (optional)


Quinoa: In a medium pot, add the water and quinoa, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes at a gentle boil. Turn off heat, remove the cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Alternatively, use this Instant Pot Quinoa recipe.

Quinoa dressing: In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Season to taste.

Assemble salad: In a large bowl or pot, the quinoa cooked in, toss together the quinoa, corn, beans, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro with the dressing. Season to taste, adding more lime juice and salt or spices to taste.

Store: Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Oil-free + Low Fat: Skip the oil in the dressing for a virtually low-fat and oil-free recipe.

Nightshade-free: Omit the tomatoes and chili powder. You may want to sub with diced zucchini or radishes.

Did you make this recipe?

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How to make Mexican quinoa

This Mexican quinoa is not authentic Mexican at all, but inspired by Mexican style flavors. It’s something I whipped up quickly before a road trip, trying to use up the last of assorted vegetables in our fridge. It was a very tasty dinner in the car (and I’m not sure how Alex can drive and eat quinoa yet I’m the one in the passenger seat with quinoa all over me…but that’s another story!). The recipe was so memorable that when we returned, we promptly wanted to make it again and share it with all of you. This Mexican quinoa recipe would also be perfect as a side dish to bring to a summer potluck, as well as a healthy lunch idea.

Perhaps there was something addictive in our fajita seasoning, but this Mexican quinoa recipe sticks out as one of my recent favorites. It uses all the summer vegetables that are nearing the end of their season here in Indiana, so it’s a good September salad before we get into pumpkin spice latte season. And it was incredibly nutritious, yet interesting enough to keep our tastebuds satisfied. For a full meal, we’d suggest serving with a green salad and perhaps a side of roasted sweet potatoes. It’s also a great lunch option and saves in the refrigerator well.

The only thing that requires any technique at all in this Mexican quinoa recipe is making the quinoa! Here’s our master method and quinoa to water ratio: How to Make Quinoa Perfectly. It also includes a video so you can see exactly how we do it!

About the Recipe

The girth aka body of this salad is protein-packed, gluten-free quinoa. Quinoa is one of those grains that adopts the flavors it’s cooked with as it doesn’t have much if any of its own. I used tri-color quinoa only for presentation sake. You can use whatever color/style you have on hand. You can cook your quinoa in water as suggested on the package, but for a bit more flavor I cook it in chicken or vegetable broth with a pinch of salt. I find it’s just what it needs for a bit more flavor-flave.

This salad’s veggie component has a distinctively flavorful flair, in large part to grilling the corn. Now, you could go ahead and use frozen corn if you’d like, but you’ll be missing out on the smoky flavor that comes from grilling the corn, and is one of my favorite, crunchy parts.

The dressing is really where you’re going to have to dictate to your individual taste. Chipotle peppers can be hot, hot, hot. The adobo sauce they’re packed in adds the smokey flavor. I tend to go a bit heavy on the spicy and smokey because once the dressing is added to the quinoa (remember how quinoa adopts whatever flavor it’s paired with?) the dressing really mellows out.

That’s why this might be a salad you make once, then adapt the next time to suit your tastebuds.

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram or Twitter with #foodiecrusheats.

Mexican Quinoa Salad Cups with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

A few weeks back John and I went to my sister’s house for dinner. We can all agree on Mexican food, so taco salads it was.

Salsa and sour cream are obvious toppings for traditional taco salads, but for something dairy-free I went with a creamy cilantro-lime dressing that I made up on the spot. It was so good I was inspired to make this recipe and douse it in the stuff. Green gold, I call it.

If you’re in the market for a satisfying vegan and gluten free appetizer or entree, this is the recipe for you.

The whole thing comes together in about 30 minutes and is made with some seriously healthy eats:

Spiced, Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Black Beans
Dark Leafy Lettuce
& Olive Oil

While your sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooking, whip up your dressing!

It requires just 6 ingredients and is SO creamy and flavorful. Avocado provides plenty of healthy fat, fiber and a little protein, and makes the texture super creamy. Flavor comes from sea salt, lime juice, cumin, agave and cilantro. Olive oil adds more healthy fat and a velvety finish.

This stuff is so dang good, and it makes about 1 cup worth! So keep leftovers in a jar for other salads and Mexican dishes throughout the week.

Next comes assembly! Simply arrange your lettuce on a plate and top with quinoa, black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, and a bit of the cilantro-lime dressing.

John and I split these for lunch and polished the plate!

They’re so light, flavorful and healthy, yet entirely satisfying. If you have vegan or vegetarian friends, they’ll definitely love you for making these. But I think they’re filling enough to please even hearty meat eaters.

If you give them a shot, let me know! Take a photo and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram. I’d love to see! Cheers.


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