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Southwest Quinoa Salad

This Southwest Quinoa Salad is bursting with flavor and loaded with plant-based protein making it a great main or side dish.
Keyword: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Plant-based, Salad
Author: Lindsey Jenkins


Salad Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup black beans*
  • 1 cup corn*
  • 1 medium red bell pepper diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped

Dressing Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 shallot roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder divided
  • freshly cracked black pepper


  • Add the rinsed quinoa, water, and ½ teaspoon each of sea salt, cumin, and chili powder to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low (gentle simmer) and cover with a lid.
  • Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water (around 18 minutes is the sweet spot).
  • While the quinoa cooks, dice the bell pepper and add to a medium-large bowl along with the black beans, corn, and cilantro. Set aside.
  • Make the dressing by adding olive oil, red wine vinegar, raw honey, the remaining ½ teaspoon each of sea salt, cumin, and chili powder, freshly cracked pepper, and the roughly chopped shallot to a blender. Blend until dressing is combined (some texture from the shallot is fine). Set aside.
  • After 18 minutes, carefully check by fluffing with a fork to see if the quinoa is done. Once done, remove from the heat and let steam for 5 more minutes with the lid still on.
  • Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and let cool before adding to the bowl. Pour in the dressing and mix until well incorporated.


  • This salad is best enjoyed cold and will keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for about a week.
  • For the corn, you can use fresh, canned, or frozen. If using frozen, make sure to thaw first before using it. If using fresh, cook and let it cool before adding to the salad.
  • If using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans before adding to the salad. This helps remove any excess salt.
  • If you don't have a blender for the dressing, a jar with a tightly sealed lid will also work, just make sure to finely dice the shallot, and vigorously shake to combine the dressing.
  • You can half this recipe, but keep in mind that it'll require less cooking time.
  • This recipe makes 4-6 servings depending on whether you eat it as a side dish or a main.