Southwest Quinoa Salad

There are just a few more days to submit posts for this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp challenge… This month is all about cooking grains and legumes, so the possibilites are endless! If you’re interested in participating, be sure to check out all of the details!

So, since I’ve had grains and legumes on the brain with this month’s challenge, I thought I’d share one of my new favorite salads… A quinoa salad!

I only started making quinoa a few months ago, but I have found that I really love it.  I’ve played around with bulgur wheat in the past, but I never really loved the texture… It was always a bit too coarse for me. The quinoa, though, has a nice light texture even though it is whole grain… So, it’s a win – win!

Much like rice, quinoa is pretty versatile and lends itself well to lots of different flavors.  This time around, I decided to use some Southwest flavors – black beans, fresh veggies, and a citrus vinaigrette. This salad is easy to throw together for lunch, and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days. Feel free to swap out the veggies I’ve used for your favorites!

Southwest Quinoa Salad
(Serves 4 – 6)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
    (or about 2 cups cooked black beans)
  • 3 ears of steamed corn, cut off the cob
    (or 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Mixed greens (optional)
  • Avocado slices (optional)

Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat, and let sit for an additional 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the back beans, corn, bell pepper, onion, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, prepare the dressing by combining the zest and juice from the lime, olive oil, red wine vinegar, chili powder, and agave syrup.  Whisk until smooth.

Once the quinoa has cooled slightly, add it to the bean and vegetable mixture.  Add the dressing, and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.  I like to serve mine on a bed of greens topped with avocado slices.

23 Responses to Southwest Quinoa Salad

  1. That’s interesting Jen – I’ve always have the opposite problem with quinoa/bulgur. It probably didn’t help that the quinoa seemed really bitter to me too. I should give it another try though as I suspect there may have been some user error involved :)

  2. We made this last night—delicious and good balance of flavor. I put a little bit too much chili powder, but otherwise perfect!

  3. I just made this salad tonight and it was great! Sadly, I didn’t do well picking an avocado, but the salad was really good on its own. Thanks for posting it!

  4. This is so pretty Jen! I really love quinoa and don’t use it nearly enough in my cooking. All the flavors you have going on here are terrific.

  5. I made this recipe with brown rice and only use 1tbp of oil and 2tbp of water. My husband is allergic to onion so I added: yellow corn, chickpeas, black bean, cucumbers, tomatoes and avovados. I let it chill in the fridge to get the flavors develop. I really liked the dressing flavor. It was fresh, filling, great pack for lunch for next day and enjoyed by the whole family. thank you

  6. Just made this for dinner, it was really good and super filling! I did add some tofu for a little extra protein.