Southwestern Quinoa Salad

After getting off to a shaky start several years ago, my relationship with quinoa has blossomed into something beautiful. I find that its mild, nutty flavor goes well with pretty much everything and I love dressing it up in various costumes.

This simple salad has a decidedly southwestern feel to it – black beans, sweet corn, crunchy red peppers and a generous dose of fresh cilantro, lime juice and cumin. Mmmmmm….

Corn, onion, and pepper by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

It’s easy, tasty, filling and remarkably good for you — what’s not to love, eh? Although I did not have any on hand when I made my salad, I’ve included tomatoes and feta cheese in the recipe below as they’d both be very welcome additions.

I’d write more but our son keeps waking up at an ungodly hour in the morning so I am feeling a bit less lyrical than usual and also need to keep things short so I can go research toddler alarm clocks – a brilliant invention designed to keep your child in bed longer by telling them when it’s okay to get up and when they need to sit tight because it’s only, say, 4:45 AM…

Next: the recipe

Southwestern Quinoa Salad by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Serves 6 as a side


For the salad:
* 1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed and drained
* 2 cups water
* 1 cup cooked sweet corn kernels
* 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 small red or green bell pepper, de-seeded, de-stemmed and chopped
* 1 medium tomato, chopped
* 1/4 -1/2 cup minced red onion
* 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, washed, dried and coarsely chopped
* 1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)

For the dressing:
* 4 Tbsps fresh lime juice, or to taste
* 2 Tbsps red wine vinegar
* 4 Tbsps olive oil
* 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
* 1 Tbsp honey or agave
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Bring the water to a boil, then stir in the quinoa, lower the heat and reduce to a simmer. Cover for 15-20 minutes until done – you’ll know the quinoa is ready when you see the little white “tail” of the germ around the outside edge of each seed.

If you’re starting to see the little white tails but the quinoa seems too soggy, remove the lid for the last few minutes of cooking. And if the water is all gone but the tails are not visible yet, add a little more water and simmer for a few more minutes, covered. Then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, you can make the dressing. Place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well to combine.

3. Once the quinoa has cooled down and the dressing is ready, it’s time to put it all together. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, drizzle with the dressing and toss well to make sure everything is equally coated. Top with more cilantro leaves and if you’ve got a ripe avocado lying around, cut it up and lay those lovely green slices on top before serving.

You might also like these recipes from the Garden of Eating:

Or these yummy-looking quinoa recipes from other bloggers:

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Dale O.

Looks marvellous and tasty. I love red quinoa, it is very filling and a wonderful food.

PrimaSICK B.
PrimaAWAY B.1 years ago

It looks really good for someone who never has tried Quinoa yet.
I'm buying some but had no clue what to do with it because i don't cook.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad sounds wonderful/looks great. I love southwestern .Not mexican. To me there is a difference. I would love to be able to mske this.I really would like to but of course I doubt it eill happen. Too many ingredients i don't have and too much preperation for me.
I will be keping the recipe and photo because I really want to try it and this is the best so far.

Joanna W.
Joanna W.2 years ago

that looks delicious!!

Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Good recipes,Thanks for sharing

Michele Mihlack
Michele Mihlack3 years ago

this is an awesome recipe...made before and just love it.

Sarah M.
Sarah M.3 years ago

sounds good.

Grainne O'Carroll
Grainne OCarroll3 years ago

This is so colourful and looks delicious!

Love L.
Love Light3 years ago

Sounds & looks absolutely delicious

Love L.
Love Light3 years ago

Sounds & looks absolutely delicious

Love L.
Love Light3 years ago

Sounds & looks absolutely delicious