Summer Quinoa Salad, Southwestern Style

This is not exactly an original recipe. Last summer I wanted a meal with cilantro, beans, and quinoa and went googling. I found many, many variations on the same theme, which was: 1. cook quinoa; 2. add various chopped “southwestern” veg; 3. add dressing of some kind. The ones I liked best were one from Bon Appetit and Girl Cooks World, and a modified version of the vinaigrette from Cafe Johnsonia.


Summer Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed, OR about 2 cups if cooked from dried
  • 1 cup cooked/frozen corn
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped,
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • zest from 1 (half) lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped,
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crumbled cotija cheese (optional) or feta


  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions (I know, this is a cop out, but it is on the box so why repeat it here?). If you like, use chicken broth instead of water to cook the quinoa.
  2. While quinoa is cooking and cooling, chop all the vegetables (cool quinoa for about 5 minutes before mixing).
  3. In a small separate bowl, add lime juice, zest, and olive oil. Whisk together until well blended.
  4. In large bowl, combine quinoa, beans, corn, onion, and pepper, or whatever vegetables you’re using. Mix well.
  5. Add lime dressing and chopped cilantro to the large bowl, stir until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add cheese just before serving.*

A word about the veg: as long as you’ve included black beans and quinoa, do what you like with the veg. Don’t like corn? Get rid of it. Love jalapeños or some other hot pepper? Toss it in. Sub white onion for red or do both. It’s a very basic, very versatile dish. Play around!

*If taking for leftovers, simply add the cheese on top of container when you make up your lunch.



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