Mexican Quinoa Salad: Quinoa is tossed with tomatoes, black beans, cilantro and a lime dressing for a flavorful refreshing Mexican side dish.
There are lots of foods I adore. Chocolate, peanut butter, oats, sweet potatoes, and black beans all rank pretty high on my list of favorites.
So it is no surprise that I love Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Chili.
But I also love black beans and quinoa in a cold Mexican salad.
Mexican Quinoa Salad
Mexican quinoa salad is one of my favorite go-tos for a summer picnic, a pot-luck, or even a quick meatless meal, or as a side dish to this easy southwest Baked Chicken.
I also often prep some of this black bean quinoa salad on the weekend–then I have a lunch that I look forward to diving into each day.
This cold quinoa salad is swimming in a fresh lime dressing that has been kissed with paprika, garlic and cumin. The black beans add additional protein and fiber and the tomatoes and onions add a fresh bite. The cilantro and feta are the perfect finishing touches to this easy black bean quinoa salad but of course are optional for you if you want this be vegan or you are one of the unfortunate people that hate cilantro.
Variations on Easy Mexican Quinoa
- To make this a Vegan Mexican Quinoa Salad, omit the feta cheese.
- Crumbled Queso Fresco can easily be substituted for the feta cheese as well.
- Corn and avocados are also a great addition to Black Bean Quinoa salad. You can add in up to 2 cups fresh corn kernels or defrosted frozen corn kernels. Add diced avocados right before serving so they don’t turn brown.
- I used a mixed variety of quinoa, but red, white or black quinoa all work perfectly well in this Mexican Quinoa Salad.
- Instead of black beans, you could use kidney beans or pinto beans. I like to use my instant pot black beans, but canned beans work as well. Just be sure to rinse and drain well.
- Fresh cherry or grape tomatoes are best in this Mexican Salad, but you can also use seeded roma or vine-ripened diced tomatoes. In a pinch, you could also mix in 1 cup salsa into this Mexican Quinoa.
- If you don’t like cilantro, just omit it from the Mexican Quinoa salad. The lime juice and seasonings will still be enough flavor for this dish.
Notes on Mexican Quinoa
- This salad lasts 4-5 days in the fridge and can easily be prepped with leftover quinoa or black beans.
- It is a great tip to add the lime dressing to the quinoa salad right after it is done cooking to let the quinoa absorb the flavors of the dressing. Then you want the quinoa to cool to room temperature BEFORE adding the remaining ingredients–this keeps the cilantro from wilting and the tomatoes and feta fresh.
- If raw onions bother you, soak the onions in water for 60 minutes before adding to the quinoa salad.
- While quinoa can be frozen, I would NOT freeze this salad, as the freshness of this dish would be ruined and the texture compromised.
- This Gluten Free Black Bean salad is a perfect choice for picnics or outdoor events, as it is is mayo free and even with the feta, can be safely kept at room temperature for 3-4 hours.
How to make Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Mexican Quinoa Salad
An easy gluten-free black bean quinoa salad with lime dressing.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 red onion, minced
- 2 cups black beans
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 1/3 cup minced cilantro
- 1/2 cup feta crumbled
- 2 limes zest and juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
For the Quinoa
Bring 2 cups of stock to a boil with a dash of salt (omit the salt if not using low sodium broth). Add in quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan with lid, and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed water and is tender.
For the Lime Dressing
Whisk together the zest and juice of 2 limes with the oil and seasonings.
For the Mexican Quinoa Salad
Once quinoa has cooked add lime dressing and let cool completely. Then mix in the tomatoes, onions, cilantro, feta and beans.
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