Southwest Quinoa Salad With Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

This cold quinoa salad is bursting with bright, fresh flavors and a hint of citrus and spice.  The salad can be made in advance, making it a healthy, quick and easy recipe.

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Bowl of healthy quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, and avocado in a spicy Southwestern lime vinaigrette made by

Eating a dish of quinoa feels so healthy.  I mean, I feel virtuous while I’m eating it.  Then, I usually negate that virtue by pairing my quinoa with a lovely cocktail or an even lovelier dessert.  But, small steps, you know?

Quinoa is one of those ‘healthy’ foods that came into fashion in the late 90s, but unlike many ‘health fads’ (I’m referencing you, mangosteen) quinoa has stood the test of time. 


Quinoa is a gluten-free ancient seed, originally cultivated by the Inca Indians in South America.  It’s a whole grain carbohydrate and a complete protein. That means that the humble quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids. How many grains can do that? 

This seed is incredibly nutritious.  It provides a healthy dose of fiber. It is also a rich source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. 

Plus, quinoa has a low glycemic index and is naturally gluten-free, making it a great food for many diets and lifestyles.

Bowl of healthy quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, and avocado in a spicy Southwestern lime vinaigrette made by

If you’re interested, I think this article on the health benefits of quinoa is very informative. Check it out.

One tip is to be sure to rinse your quinoa very well.  The seed has a coating, called saponins, that is bitter and soapy tasting.  Rinsing in cold running water will remove it.  

Most boxed brands of quinoa have been ‘pre-washed’, but the bulk bins of quinoa are often sold with the saponin coating.  Just to be safe, I would give it all, be it boxed or bulk bin, a vigorous rinsing.

This Southwest quinoa salad with spicy lime vinaigrette is a meal all by itself.  However, maybe compliment your salad with my recipe for Spicy and Sticky Sriracha Drumsticks or these Perfectly Moist Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts.  My recipe for Grilled Piri Piri Chicken would also be tasty.

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Bowl of healthy quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, and avocado in a spicy Southwestern lime vinaigrette made by



This delicious quinoa salad is a complete, healthy meal with black beans, onion, tomatoes, corn, and avocado. The spicy lime vinaigrette adds a citrusy heat that makes this quick and easy recipe crave worthy.



For salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup diced green bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (if using frozen, thaw completely)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

For spicy lime vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ⅓ cup olive oil


  1. In a fine mesh colander, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Swirl the quinoa with your hand and continue to rinse. Set aside to drain.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and quinoa.
  3. Cook and stir the quinoa until any water has evaporated and the grains begin to lightly toast, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Pour in the vegetable stock, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all of the stock, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Chill the quinoa in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In the bowl of a large food processor, add all of the ingredients. Process the mixture until it becomes an emulsified dressing, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  7. Assemble the salad. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno pepper, corn, black beans, and avocado. Toss well to combine thoroughly.
  8. Pour the dressing over the salad. Lightly toss the coat all the ingredients with the dressing.
  9. Cover and chill the salad for at least 30 minutes. Before serving, lightly toss the salad again to evenly distribute any dressing and juices that accumulated on the bottom of the bowl.
  10. Serve cold.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1
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