It’s time for another addition of true confessions. Here goes…I absolutely LOVE quinoa. I adore how easy it is to make, how inexpensive it it and it’s versatility. Let’s not forget the healthy option it brings to the table, literately, by being a complete protein. Quinoa is called a super food because of all the health benefits it offers. I could go on gushing about why l have a thing for quinoa, but what I really need to focus on is THIS SALAD. If you love salad and Mexican flavors, then this is a dish you are going to fall head over heels for.
With a minimal amount of cooking, a little bit of chopping along with some shaking and tossing, Mexican Quinoa Salad comes together in no time. It’s so easy that it’s kind of unfair that you’ll do so little work for such an amazing outcome!
To make this salad, first comes the quinoa. I make mine in the Instant Pot. If you don’t have one, no worries, just follow the cooking directions on the quinoa box. The big thing when making quinoa, make sure to season it properly with salt and “fluff” it with a fork when done. No one likes clumpy quinoa so don’t use a spoon. While the quinoa is cooking, I rinse by beans and thaw the corn. I also chop the tomatoes, green onions and cilantro. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, substitute fresh parsley. I also mix up the dressing in a mason jar. It’s a bright vinaigrette made with lime juice, cumin, garlic and chili powder. After that, just dump everything in a bowl, add some avocado, pour on the dressing and toss.
What you’ll need to make Mexican Quinoa Salad:
- red or white quinoa – I used red in the recipe
- black beans
- grape tomatoes
- green onions
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- chili powder
One of the great things about this salad is how many ways you can change it up to “make it your own.” If you like like red and green bell peppers, add them in. Don’t like green onions, fine, add in Vidalia. You could even switch out rice for the quinoa if you’re not a fan. To sum things up, there are so many ways to enjoy this salad that you can make your own special version of Mexican Quinoa Salad in no time!
Want to turn this salad into a main dish? Try adding these extras:
- Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Flank Steak
- Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts
- Roasted Shrimp
- Herb Marinated Grill Pork Tenderloin
- 2 cups cooked red quinoa - cooled
- 1 15.5 oz. can black beans - rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn - thawed
- 1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes - quartered
- 1/2 cup green onions - chopped
- 1 avocado - chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro - chopped
- 1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 lime - zested
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Rinse 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under water until it runs clear. Add quinoa to instant pot along with 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock or water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Place lid on instant pot and turn vent knob to seal. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 7 minutes then do a quick release. Carefully remove lid and fluff quinoa with a fork. Let cool.
To a mason jar with lid or in a small bowl, add olive oil, vinegar, lime zest, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Shake or whisk to blend. Set aside.
Place quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Add black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion and cilantro. Pour 1/2 of dressing over salad and toss. Add in avocado and drizzle on more dressing (to your liking) and gently toss. Serve immediately.
Mexican Quinoa Salad can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. This salad can be kept at room temperature for approximately 3 hours.