Southwestern Quinoa Salad

This southwestern quinoa salad is loaded with fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and black beans. Chicken broth, seasoning and lime juice give it a pop of flavor.

A plate of southwestern quinoa salad with spoon. |

Salads are at the top of my list of things to make during summer. That may come as a surprise to some of you, especially since I post a lot of desserts! While I do love homemade ice cream and no-bake treats, there’s just something about a fresh salad with garden ripe vegetables that can’t be beat! This southwestern quinoa salad is bursting with fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and black beans. It’s got a ton of texture going on and a whole lot of flavor!

I shared this recipe a few weeks ago on a site that I contribute to, so now I get to share it with you!

A platter full of fresh southwestern quinoa salad. |

If you’re new to cooking quinoa don’t be intimidated. There are just a few quick tips to getting it flavorful (not bitter) and cooked perfect every time.

A measuring cup filled with tricolor quinoa for the southwestern quinoa salad. |

How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly:

  • Rinse the quinoa in a mesh sieve to remove dirt
  • Toast in olive oil to help enhance the nuttiness and remove bitterness
  • Boil in broth for added flavor

For this particular recipe we also toasted the seasonings and spices which really enhanced the flavor. Unlike rice, I have to get a little creative when it comes to how I season quinoa to get my kids on board. They love it when it’s mixed with other ingredients and has been seasoned properly.

A mixture of corn, black beans, and onion for the southwestern quinoa salad. |

While the quinoa is cooking/cooling, you’ll want to saute the corn, onion, jalapeño and heat the black beans. This can all be done in a large skillet.

An oval platter piled high with southwestern quinoa salad. |

Everything can be tossed together with freshly squeezed lime juice in a large mixing bowl. Just remember, if the ingredients are too hot you may wilt the greens and the tomatoes. Wait until they are warm to the touch to put the finishing touches on.

You can serve this southwestern quinoa salad warm or chilled, it’s up to you! It’s a great summer side dish or the perfect bed for grilled chicken or shrimp. No matter how you serve it I guarantee it will be a hit!

What’s your favorite way to serve quinoa? Let me know in the comments below!

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Southwestern Quinoa Salad. |

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

This southwestern quinoa salad is loaded with fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and black beans. Chicken broth, seasoning and lime juice give it a pop of flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Pin Rate
Course: Gluten-Free
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Natalie Dicks
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  • 2 tbsp. olive oil - divided
  • 1 c. tricolor quinoa
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 c. water or chicken broth
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 c. finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 jalapeno - minced
  • 15 oz. can black beans - rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes - halved
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 green onion - sliced
  • 1 lime - juiced


  • Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to remove dirt or debris.
  • In a large saucepan set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toast quinoa and seasonings and spices for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add broth or water. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
  • Meanwhile, in large skillet set over medium heat, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the corn and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the onion and jalapeño. Cook for 3-4 minutes before stirring in the black beans. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Once the quinoa has cooled (warm to the touch), place in a large mixing bowl and toss with the corn and bean mixture, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, green onion, and lime juice.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.

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About the Author


Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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