This Southwest Quinoa Salad is a must! Great for meal prep, lunch, dinner, cookout sides… Tossed in a cilantro lime dressing for a delicious flavor boost. Gluten free and vegan.
Quinoa salad recipes are perfect in so many ways!
- They’re a great way to add more plants into your diet.
- They’re flavorful.
- Easy to customize
- So easy to make.
Hot or Cold Quinoa Salad
This salad was soooo good I ate it for both lunch and dinner the following the days after photographing.
Adding chicken one day, as well as warming it up and adding a sprinkle of cheese on the next day.
I couldn’t get enough and I have a feeling it’s going to be my new go-to. Whether you’re looking for a side dish for a backyard cookout or an easy meal prep lunch or dinner recipe.
- quinoa – white, tri-color, red quinoa all work. Whatever you have on hand really.
- black beans – I used canned black beans, low sodium and rinsed.
- corn – fresh or canned is best here.
- bell peppers – diced or chopped, depending on how much texture you want. Red and orange are my favorite varieties for this recipe.
- red onion – adds a good bite, and I love the way the purple color balances the colors out too.
- cilantro – we’re using cilantro in the dressing but I like to add finely chopped cilantro into the salad as well. You could always omit if you’re not a huge cilantro fan.
Cilantro Lime Dressing
This dressing is SO good. You just need cilantro, olive oil (or avocado oil), limes, garlic, onion powder plus salt and pepper.
It’s simple, doesn’t have any added sugar and I like to add a bit of spice in there as well with cumin and chili powder. If you want extra heat, you can add in some cayenne pepper.
Perfect for Meal Prep
Who doesn’t love already having lunch or dinner ready to go? Quinoa salads make the best meal prep salads.
Just a Few Steps
- Make the quinoa and let cool.
- Prep the veggies.
- Make the dressing.
- Mix everything together.
Use canned black beans and corn to cut down on meal prep time. Most of the work comes from chopping the veggies, making the quinoa and blending up the dressing.
Instant Pot Quinoa
I used my Instant Pot to prep the quinoa, which not only saves some time but now you get bonus points for the pot of quinoa not boiling over while attending to the veggies. Seriously I swear it happens every time and the Instant Pot saves me.
TO COOK: Place 1 cup rinsed quinoa in Instant Pot with 1 1/2 cups water or broth. Cook on high for one minute, natural release pressure for 10 minutes. Unlock lid, stir and done!
Quinoa salads are one of my go-to healthy meal prep recipes because they last a full week in the fridge. The flavors from the salad dressing soak in and just get better with time.
This recipe keeps best refrigerated in an airtight container in the fridge, best used within 7 days.
I hope you enjoy this Southwest Quinoa Salad as much as we did!
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below with a review – it helps others learn more about the recipe too!
for the salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 15oz canned low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cooked or canned corn (drain if canned)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
- avocado for topping
Cilantro Chili Lime Dressing
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Cook quinoa: place 1 cup rinsed quinoa with 2 cups water or broth in medium pot; bring to boil then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat once cooked, fluff with fork and transfer to large bowl to cool.
- Meanwhile prepare the veggies: drain black beans, corn, chop bell peppers, dice onion and chop fresh cilantro.
- Add veggies to bowl with quinoa and gently toss together
- Make the dressing: add all dressing ingredients in medium bowl or blend in small food processor (I used the Nutri Bullet.)
- Combine dressing and salad bowl: Create a well in the center of salad bowl and pour half of dressing into bottom of bowl. Stir gently and then add remaining dressing, tossing again to combine.
- Serve salad over bed of salad greens and top with avocado if desired. Enjoy!
Salad would be also great with an additional source of protein like crock pot chicken. This salad is meant to be served cold but I also warmed up a couple of different times for leftovers.
Instant Pot Quinoa Cooking: Place 1 cup rinsed quinoa in Instant Pot with 1 1/2 cups broth or water. Pressure cook on HIGH for 1 Minute. Natural release pressure for 10 minutes. Unlock lid, stir and done!
- Serving Size: 1/8th
- Calories: 229
- Sugar: 3
- Sodium: 346
- Fat: 9
- Saturated Fat: 1
- Unsaturated Fat: 6
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 32
- Fiber: 5
- Protein: 7
- Cholesterol: 0