Southwest Quinoa Salad

Southwest Quinoa Salad is bursting with freshness. It’s got a ton of texture going on and a whole lot of flavor!

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!

Quinoa Salad served in a white platter

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.

Quinoa uncooked

How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly

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

BOIL. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

TOAST. 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.

SAUTE. 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.

COMBINE + SERVE. 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. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.

Southwest Quinoa Salad close up with a spooned scoop

Tips + SToring Info

Broth: The broth adds delicious flavor to the dish. You can also use water or even half water and half broth

Dressing for the salad: If you would like a dressing for this salad I would suggest making a simple cilantro flavored or lime flavored dressing, you could use our cafe rio ranch dressing recipe, or  make an oil based cilantro dressing. Something as simple as olive oil and cilantro with additional spices would work great for this. Also if you mix the dressing in the salad the quinoa will soak it up in the leftovers. So when eating leftovers you might want to add more salad dressing. 

Use red or white quinoa. The red has a stronger flavor and is a bit more chewier. Both have a nutty flavor and are very nutritious. Fluff the quinoa after cooking.

Serve alongside sliced avocado or guacamole 

STORE in an airtight container. It should last 3-4 days in the fridge. If you are planning on freezing the leftovers make sure that it is completely cool and that you remove the tomatoes because the excess water in tomatoes will not be good after freezing and thawing.

Making ahead of time: You can Prep the salad ahead of time in a couple of ways.

  •  If need be you can freeze quinoa by itself. When you are ready to finish the salad let it thaw in the fridge overnight then toss it with the other ingredients. 
  • You can partially make this salad ahead of time by chopping all your vegetables and keeping them stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Quinoa Black Bean Salad topped with fresh cilantro and limes served in a white platter

For more Southwest recipes, check out:

Southwest Quinoa Salad Recipe

5 from 10 votes
Southwest Quinoa Salad is bursting with freshness. 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 Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 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
  • ¼ c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced

Instructions
 

  • Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to remove dirt or debris. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.

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About the Author

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.

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Comments:

    1. I have a question this is an awesome salad I’m just wondering about the calories is it 474 cal for the whole entire batch do you know how much it is for serving or what size the serving is? Thanks very much! PS sorry if I missed it somewhere! Thanks

  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. This quinoa salad looks so delicious and yummy. I will definitely try this at home. It’s also very healthy and beneficial for our health.

  3. 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!

    1. Thank you for sharing that! It is a nice break! Yes, it’s a great salad to change up & make any way you like it 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Thanks a bunch for sharing this amazing recipe! Highly recommended! Fam really loves it, will surely have this again!

    1. Yay!! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the salad. Ballpark ratios can work too sometimes, especially for salads. 😉 Thanks for sharing!