Mexican Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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

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  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

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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Links:

Quinoa Salad with Beets, Chickpeas and Orange - from Gluten Free Goddess

Quinoa Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Cilantro - from Kalyn's Kitchen

Quinoa Salad with Mango and Avocado - from Two Peas and Their Pod

Mexican Quinoa Salad

Showing 4 of 43 Comments

  • Maria

    What a tasty salad this was. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Cindy

    This salad is delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I soaked the jalapeño with the onion in the lime juice. And I used panela cheese. 2 ears of leftover corn on the cob. I could keep eating this all night! Definitely making it for the next potluck. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Christine

    Thanks for a delicious recipe! I made a double batch for a BBQ and it was well received. Leftovers are even better! I skipped the tomatoes (adding more lime juice to compensate for acid of tomatoes) and doubled the jalapeños. I used trader joes roasted corn. yum!!!

  • 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.

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