Mexican Quinoa Salad

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It’s easy to make a delicious, healthy, vegan & gluten free Mexican Quinoa Salad for a side dish or entree! This salad is filled with black beans, tomatoes and bell peppers. It contains 14 grams of plant based protein per serving. And it’s made in just 29 minutes!

Mexican quinoa salad in bowl with white and gold spoon, topped with diced avocado

Quinoa is the perfect healthy grain to create a nutritious side dish or salad. This Mexican Quinoa salad is not only super healthy, it’s also perfect for those with food sensitivities. It’s gluten free, egg free, dairy free and peanut free.

It’s also great for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet that are looking to pump up their protein. This salad is packed with protein, 56 grams to be exact! The salad serves four, which gives you 14 grams of plant-based protein per serving.

In addition to its health benefits, it’s super easy to make, packed with flavor and totally gorgeous! You’ll definitely impress your friends if you take this Mexican Quinoa Salad to a party or BBQ.

This salad can be served warm or cold, which makes it perfect to take to a party or on a picnic! Seriously, when was the last time you went on a picnic? You should probably whip up this salad and go have a picnic in the park tonight!

I also love meal-prepping this salad on Sunday or Monday and eating it for lunch throughout the week. A little fresh lime juice squeezed on top really brightens up the leftover salad!

Overhead shot of quinoa salad in bowl with diced tomatoes and avocado

How to make Mexican Quinoa Salad

  • Cook the Quinoa. Add two cups of water and one cup of quinoa to a medium pot on the stovetop. Bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

The quinoa can also be prepared in an Instant Pot. Platings + Pairings has a great guide for how to cook perfect quinoa in an Instant Pot.

Quick Tip! Quinoa can be found in red, white or brown varieties. It can also be found labeled as “tri-color” which is a blend of all three. Any of the varieties will work for this recipe. I used the tri-color quinoa because I like the variety of colors and textures in the salad.

  • Sauté veggies. Add olive oil to a medium or large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté mined onion, red peppers, jalapenos and garlic.

Remove from the heat and set aside.

  • Prepare the dressing. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, apple cider vinegar and lime juice together.

Add fresh cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine well.

  • Toss the salad together. Add the sautéed veggies to the bowl with the salad dressing. Add halved cherry tomatoes, black beans and the cooked quinoa.

Stir everything together. Top with diced avocado.

How to make Spicy Mexican Quinoa Salad

Want to spice up your Mexican Quinoa? No problem! There are a few additions you can easily make to create a spicy Mexican quinoa salad.

  • Add 1 tsp chili powder, chipotle powder or crushed red pepper flakes to the dressing with the cumin, salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle 2-4 tbsp of your favorite hot sauce on top of the salad.
  • In addition to the sautéed jalapenos, top the salad with an additional fresh sliced  jalapeno or serrano pepper.

Can I add meat to this Mexican Quinoa recipe?

Absolutely! Ground turkey or ground beef can be cooked with the sautéed onions and bell peppers. Add the cooked meat and veggies in with the quinoa, tomatoes and black beans.

Grilled chicken can also be tossed in with the salad or served on top. I highly recommend this Fajita Grilled Chicken recipe to pair with this Mexican Quinoa Salad.

You can also top it with seafood. Chili Lime Garlic Grilled Shrimp or Chipotle Honey Glazed Salmon are both great options for topping this salad.

If you’re not on a vegan or dairy free diet, you can also add cheese to the salad. I love a little crumbled queso freso or cotija cheese right on top!

What to serve with Mexican Quinoa Salad

Mexican Quinoa is a great side dish substitute for Mexican Rice. Quinoa provides more protein and fiber, with less calories and carbs than white rice. It can be served as a side dish with tacos, chicken skewers or enchiladas.

Try it with these delicious Mexican main dishes!

  • Grilled Chipotle Lime Chicken Fajita Skewers – these skewers are a Bond family favorite! The marinade is so flavorful, they’re easy to make, healthy & gluten free! I promise you’re going to love this recipe!
  • Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa – one of the most popular recipes on the blog! This delicious Beef Barbacoa can be added to tacos, burritos or tostadas. Served with corn tortillas, this recipe is gluten free.
  • Carnitas Tostadas – speaking of tostadas, just one look of these Carnitas tostadas and your mouth will start watering!
  • Vegan Tacos with Grilled Vegetables – looking for a vegan and gluten free main dish to serve with this salad? These delicious Vegan Tacos topped with roasted veggies, chimichurri sauce and fresh avocado are where it’s at!

Should Mexican Quinoa be served hot or cold?

This Mexican Quinoa recipe can be served hot or cold. If serving this salad directly after preparing the quinoa and sautéed veggies, the salad will be warm. That’s totally fine and it’s delicious like this.

You can also refrigerate the Mexican quinoa and serve it cold. It’s great for making ahead of time to serve as a side dish at a BBQ or Mexican dinner.

It’s also great for meal prep. Divide the quinoa salad into four separate containers and eat it for lunches throughout the week. I would recommend adding the avocado on top right before serving, if possible. This will keep it from browning on top of the salad in the refrigerator.

This salad will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Quinoa salad in white bowl topped with diced avocado and cilantro

For more fresh and healthy quinoa recipes, check out these popular dishes!

 

White bowl filled with quinoa salad with diced avocado and tomatoes
5 from 2 votes
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Mexican Quinoa Salad

It's easy to make a delicious, healthy & vegan Mexican Quinoa Salad! This recipe is filled with plant based protein & can be served as a side or main dish.

Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 29 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 611 kcal
Author Whitney Bond

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa uncooked
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup red onion minced
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper minced
  • ¼ cup jalapeno minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice fresh squeezed
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 15.5 oz can black beans drained & rinsed
  • 1 avocado diced

Instructions

  1. In a small pot on the stovetop, bring the quinoa to a boil with 2 cups of water.

  2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside.

  4. In the meantime, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the onion, bell pepper & jalapeño.

  5. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  6. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  7. Whisk the remaining ½ cup olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.

  8. Add the sauteed onion, bell pepper and garlic, then add the tomatoes, black beans & cooked quinoa.

  9. Toss everything together, place in a serving bowl and top with the diced avocado.

Recipe Notes

  • Spice up the salad! To add spice to the salad, mix in 1 tsp chili powder, chipotle powder or crushed red pepper flakes to the dressing with the cumin, salt and pepper. You can also drizzle hot sauce on top of the salad or add fresh sliced jalapenos or serrano peppers on top.
  • Refrigeration: this salad can be served warm or cold and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.