Southwest Quinoa Salad

This southwestern quinoa salad is bursting with fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and black beans. It’s got a ton of texture going on and a whole lot of flavor!

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Salads are at the top of my list of things to make during summer. Shocking, I know! While I do love homemade ice cream and no-bake treats, there’s just something about a fresh salad with garden ripe vegetables that can’t be beat! This southwestern quinoa salad is bursting with fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and black beans. It’s got a ton of texture going on and a whole lot of flavor!

It’s also very simple! If you love typical Southwest flavors, you’ll love this Quinoa Black Bean Salad.

If you’re new to cooking quinoa don’t be intimidated. There are just a few quick tips to getting it flavorful (not bitter) and cooked perfect every time.

Southwest Quinoa Salad

How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly:

  • Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve to remove dirt
  • Toast in olive oil to help enhance the nuttiness and remove bitterness
  • Boil in broth for added flavor

For this particular recipe we also toasted the seasonings and spices which really enhanced the flavor. Unlike rice, I have to get a little creative when it comes to how I season quinoa to get my kids on board. They love it when it’s mixed with other ingredients and has been seasoned properly.

While the quinoa is cooking/cooling, you’ll want to saute the corn, onion, jalapeño and heat the black beans. This can all be done in a large skillet.

Everything can be tossed together with freshly squeezed lime juice in a large mixing bowl. Just remember, if the ingredients are too hot you may wilt the greens and the tomatoes. Wait until they are warm to the touch to proceed.

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

You can serve this southwestern quinoa salad warm or chilled, it’s up to you! It’s a great summer side dish or the perfect bed for grilled chicken or shrimp. No matter how you serve it I guarantee it will be a hit!

For more Southwest-flavored recipes, be sure to check out:

Southwestern Quinoa Salad Recipe

5 from 3 votes

This Southwest Quinoa Salad is bursting with fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and black beans. It's got a ton of texture going on and a whole lot of flavor!

Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 474 kcal
Author Natalie Dicks


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 c. tricolor quinoa
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 c. water or chicken broth
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/4 c. finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced


  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to remove dirt or debris. 

  2. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toast quinoa and seasonings and spices for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add broth or water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.

  3. Meanwhile, in large skillet set over medium heat, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the corn and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the onion and jalapeño. Cook for 3-4 minutes before stirring in the black beans. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

  4. Once the quinoa has cooled (warm to the touch), place in a large mixing bowl and toss with the corn and bean mixture, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, and lime juice.

  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.


Natalie Dicks

I’m the food photographer and blogger behind Life Made Simple. I’m passionate about creating from scratch family-friendly recipes ranging from healthy to decadent.

More by Natalie

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  1. 5 stars
    I love making salads with quinoa. I tried this recipe and it is GREAT. I was here a few days ago and also tried your crispy baked chicken (my whole family loved it by the way). Thanks for the great recipes look forward to trying more!

  2. 5 stars
    This was a great dish, and I served it at Christmas of all times! It was a nice break from all the meat and bread on the table. When making it, be careful with how salty it can get with the chicken broth… test as you go before adding more seasoning. I love how you can add really any latin style ingredient you may have in the fridge (like different peppers, avocado, or even things like chunks of mango) – super versatile!