Mexican Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes


Quinoa is quickly becoming one of my favorite foods. How about you? Grain-like, but not really a grain, quinoa has a wonderfully nutty flavor. It’s also happily very good for you, being high in protein, fiber, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

Quinoa goes well with Southwestern flavors and especially well with cheese, in particular farmers cheese, a soft, mild cheese like queso fresco or fresh mozzarella.

This quinoa salad is a toss together of black beans, fresh garden tomatoes, corn, farmers cheese, jalapeños, red onions, cilantro, and lime. Yum! It will last for days chilled which makes it a great make-ahead salad for picnics and gatherings. Enjoy.

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6

If you are working with frozen corn, you can add more flavor by taking the frozen corn kernels and searing them directly on a hot pan, without defrosting first. Save time by prepping most of the ingredients while the quinoa is cooking.


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn, defrosted, OR 1 cup of fresh corn, parboiled, drained and cooled (approximately the amount of kernels from one ear of corn)
  • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 5 ounces Queso fresco, Queso Panela, fresh Mozzarella or other mild farmer's cheese, cut into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, including tender stems, packed
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil


1 Put the rinsed quinoa, salt and water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer gently until the quinoa absorbs all the water, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Place into a large bowl and fluff up with a fork to help it cool more quickly.

2 While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Soak the red onions in the lime juice and set aside. Soaking the onions in lime juice (or lemon juice or water) helps take the edge off of them. Mix the prepped black beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, cheese, jalapenos, cilantro, and oil into a large bowl.

3 When the quinoa has cooled, mix it into the bean mixture. Add the red onion and the lime juice and add salt, more oil or lime juice to taste. Serve at room temperature.

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Mexican Quinoa Salad

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Showing 4 of 47 Comments

  • Amanda

    Delicious! I swapped the lime juice for lemon juice and it turned out great! Next time I would even add another Jalapeño pepper. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Brian White

    This was delicious! A couple recommendations – use a little less water for the quinoa – 1.5cups instead of 2. I used fresh mozzarella pearls instead of queso fresco because they don’t crumble. The texture is different and the cheese offers a smooth contrast to the jalapeno. If you don’t like onion as much as I do, consider a sweet onion rather than a red. Also, the jalapeno could be subbed out for any pepper with milder heat, if desired.

  • Amy

    I just made this recipe and I cannot stop ‘taste testing’ it- lol! Can’t wait to serve it at my cookout this evening;) Thank you so much!

  • Sylvia

    This has become a summer staple for my recipe collection. I get fresh corn and other veggies from the farmers market and it always turns out fantastic, though I always omit the cheese. I have no idea why! Hah.

  • Lynn

    So this may be a silly question, but I can store the leftovers in the fridge right? I want to have it for lunch tomorrow at work. Thanks :)

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