Southwestern Quinoa Salad 🌱 Super food. Super good. This vibrant colorful salad is full of bright, fantastic flavor, protein & fresh, nutrient-rich ingredients. You’ll love this easy and healthy vegan recipe. Oil-free option & gluten-free.
If you were to ask me about my favorite dish, I would simply say salad. I love salad. Fresh green salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, vegan potato salad, macaroni salad, jackfruit un-tuna salad, vegan egg salad, couscous salad, coleslaw salad, chopped salad, bean salad . . . I love salad.
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And while the word ‘salad’ is basically an umbrella term for any melange of ingredients tossed together with a dressing and served as a singular dish, some salads stand out amongst the rest. This is one of those.
Creating a super easy super salad!
A few years ago I was searching for a light, healthy, vegan salad to take to an afternoon reception when I ran across one that looked interesting on Allrecipes. I liked the recipe, but I wanted to reduce the amount of oil, so I cut the oil in half. Then I kicked up the flavor and color by adding roasted corn, black olives and garnished with avocado, turning it into a gorgeous Southwestern inspired salad. The result was fantastic.
This is a super salad that is easy to make and easier to enjoy! It’s delish & nutrish! Packed with protein & flavor – the nutty goodness of quinoa, wholesome black beans, sweet roasted corn, olives, fresh cilantro & ripe tomatoes, tossed with a spicy citrus dressing. I knew this zesty vegan quinoa salad was a winner when the dish I prepared was devoured within minutes by the guests.
I’ve prepared this refreshingly satisfying salad many times since, and every time it gets rave reviews. One of the things I love about this recipe is the versatility in the ingredients. Sometimes I use pinto beans instead of black beans. Sometimes I use a variety of beans. I’ve prepared it with corn, without corn, with cilantro, without. Don’t be afraid of adding something new or substituting an ingredient you might not have on hand.
What is quinoa? Why is quinoa a superfood?
Quinoa is an ancient grain common to South America and is considered one of the world’s most popular health foods. It’s gluten-free, high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins and a host of other vital nutrients and antioxidants.
According to Healthline.com, this is the nutrient content in 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa:
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Fiber: 5 grams.
- Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
- Folate: 19% of the RDA.
- Copper: 18% of the RDA.
- Iron: 15% of the RDA.
- Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
- Potassium 9% of the RDA.
- Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
- Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E.
How to cook with quinoa
Quinoa is not only full of nutritious goodness, it’s also super easy to prepare. The grain itself is very delicate in taste. It has a wonderful nutty texture that easily absorbs the flavors of the ingredients and seasonings you cook it with. Much like rice or couscous or other similar foods, quinoa first needs to be boiled or steeped in hot water or broth. From there, you can create the most delicious dishes – salads, patties, casseroles, soups, loaves, stuffings – imagine the possibilities!
How to prepare this Southwestern Quinoa Salad recipe
Follow our easy step by step recipe below.
very vegan 🌱 very good
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
- Large mixing bowl
- 3 qt saucepan with lid
- Wire whisk or salad dressing shaker
- 1 C quinoa prepared according to package directions
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin (omit to make it oil-free)
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 tsp cumin ground
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 C cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed – 15 oz can – you can also use pinto, kidney beans or others of your choice
- 3 whole green onions finely chopped – or red onion
- 1/4 C cilantro finely chopped
- 1/8 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1/3 C corn kernels sweet or roasted
- 1/4 C black olives sliced – optional
- 1/2 avocado diced – optional
- Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Once ready, remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a small bowl or salad dressing shaker, mix together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, using a large spoon, gently combine quinoa, beans, onions, corn, olives, tomatoes and cilantro.
- Pour dressing over salad and stir to thoroughly combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, garnish with avocado (optional) & any leftover cilantro.
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