The perfect Southwest Quinoa Salad for any occasion – meal prep, lunch, dinner, cookout sides, you name it. Tossed in a cilantro chili lime dressing for a delicious flavor boost. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan and packed with goodness.
Well HAPPY 4th of JULY, friends!
Drew and I are up north in the U.P. (the upper peninsula of Michigan, for the non-Michiganders or Midwesterners reading) hanging out and fishing for the next few days. His family always heads up during the week of the fourth to fish for white fish on Lake Huron. I didn’t grow up in a fishing family, but I’ve spent enough time with Drew’s family that I’ve actually started to enjoy fishing the past few years. Then there are still days where I would much rather just sunbathe in the boat than sit there waiting for a bite. Annndd I’d be lying if I told you I bait my own hook and take the fish off. We’re still working on that, even after over 10 years of being together.
Anyways, I’m sure you already have your 4th of July cookouts planned but that doesn’t mean I can’t share the most perfect Southwest Quinoa Salad – great for any occasion.
Southwest Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Chili Lime Dressing
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 for both gatherings as well as lunch/dinner prep.
Ingredients Needed for Southwest Quinoa Salad
- black beans
- bell peppers
- red onion
FOR THE CILANTRO CHILI LIME DRESSING
- extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil)
- minced garlic
- chili powder
- onion powder
- salt & pepper
How to make the Southwest Salad
The recipe comes together in a few simple steps…
- Make the quiona and let cool.
- Prep the veggies.
- Make the dressing.
- Mix everything together.
Because I used canned black beans and corn, most of the prep time comes from chopping the veggies, making the quinoa and blending up the dressing.
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.
After tossing everything together I served with avocado because it was clearly necessary.
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! And you can always find me on Instagram @fitmittenkitchen and #fitmittenkitchen.
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.