Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad with black beans, corn, fresh tomatoes, jalapeños, farmers cheese, lime juice, and cilantro. Make this southwestern quinoa salad for any occasion.

Mexican Quinoa Salad
Elise Bauer

Quinoa is 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.

While quinoa is indigenous to the Andes, not Mexico, it works beautifully with Mexican and Southwestern flavors, and especially well with cheese, in particular farmers cheese, a soft, mild cheese like queso fresco or fresh mozzarella.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad is a quick toss together with canned black beans, fresh garden tomatoes, corn, farmers cheese, jalapeños, red onions, cilantro, and lime. (Want to use homemade beans? Make them ahead on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker.)

It will last for several days chilled which makes it a great make-ahead salad for picnics and gatherings. Enjoy!

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn & Tomatoes
Elise Bauer

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

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 tablespoons 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 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cook the quinoa:

    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. Soak onions in lime juice:

    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.

  3. Mix the prepped black beans, corn kernels, tomatoes, cheese, jalapeños, cilantro, and oil:

    into a large bowl.

  4. Add quinoa and onions to bean mixture:

    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.


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

Mexican Quinoa Salad
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
374 Calories
15g Fat
47g Carbs
16g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 374
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 602mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 16mg 78%
Calcium 182mg 14%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 707mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.