Southwestern Quinoa Salad

29 May

I saw a recipe similar to this in Food & Wine magazine a couple months ago. I passed it by because it was February (or thereabouts) and I wasnt thinking about summertime side dishes….When I saw it recently on foodgawker, I knew I had to snag it and try it!

Look at all those fresh ingredients

We had it on Memorial Day to accompany our marinated steaks and other assorted fare……We couldnt get enough of it!! It’s delicious. I couldnt find the Spike Seasoning that the recipe references, but I looked it up and just combined a couple spices together in my cupboard to give it a boost. I also couldnt use the spicy Ancho Chili powder because my parents cant tolerate spicy food, but I can only imagine how INSANELY AWESOME that would make it! Especially since it was already amazing without the extra kick.

There are so many fresh ingredients in this dish. And quinoa is a healthy grain and an excellent choice if you are trying to watch your carb intake.

Here is the dressing mixture:


Here is the finished product:


Extreme Closeup

Here was our Memorial Day Spread – look at all those summer salads!

The Spread

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa (rinsed if needed, check the package)
  • 1 and  1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into small dice
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground Ancho chile pepper (or use regular chile powder if you don’t have Ancho)
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Check the quinoa package to see if it needs to be rinsed (it often does) and rinse in a fine-mesh strainer if needed. Combine quinoa, water, and salt and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork and let it cool while you prep other ingredients.

Drain the beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water, until no more foam appears. Let beans drain until they are quite dry (or pat dry with paper towels if you want to speed it up.)

Cut out the stem and remove seeds from the red bell pepper and cut into very small dice (about the size of the black beans.) Slice the green onions into thin slices and wash, dry, and chop the cilantro.

When the quinoa is fairly cool, combine quinoa, black beans, diced red bell pepper, and sliced green onion in a bowl. Add enough dressing to moisten all the ingredients. (You probably won’t need all the dressing, but save the extra to stir into any leftover salad that’s been in the fridge.) Gently stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

This keeps very well in the fridge for several days. The salad absorbs the dressing when it’s refrigerated, so it’s best with a little more dressing stirred in when you’re eating the leftover salad.


8 Responses to “Southwestern Quinoa Salad”

  1. RoxxyB May 30, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    This looks so good! I’ve been wanting to try a recipe with Quinoa and this looks like a great place to start!

    • lmullane May 31, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      Hey Roxy – this was my first quinoa recipe, too! You gotta start somewhere….and this is an easy and yummy place to start 🙂

      • RoxxyB August 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

        I just had this salad for dinner, and put some home made guacamole on the side. So good!

        I hope there will be leftovers!

      • lmullane August 5, 2012 at 10:00 am #

        oh awesome!!!!!!! that is so great to hear, Roxy!

  2. Christine Halfon May 30, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    i agree – Avocados! this looks delish,Laura

  3. Amanda Anastasiou May 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    I bet some diced avocado tossed in just before serving would also be delicious! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • lmullane May 30, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      That’s the beauty of this thing… can add in (or omit) whatever you like 🙂


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    […] of protein, fiber, and it is gluten-free. And it’s pretty darn delicious and versatile. I have a favorite quinoa recipe that I posted last year that I love to make for […]

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