Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)

Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)

Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
Southwestern Quinoa
Soup (GF, V)

This is one of those blog posts where I wish my food popped through your computer screen, so that you could experience it first hand. You are about to hold in your hands my favorite recipe of the summer. And, that means a lot, since a year ago, you could barely get any forms of beans into my system. This southwestern quinoa salad is bound to knock your socks off. 

Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
You’ll be amazed at how the flavors blend together in this dish.

We’ll begin with the facts. While this dish is meant to be a side, I ate it as a main course twice this week. And, while this dish was meant to be shared amongst my family members, I ate three-quarters off it by myself in under two days. Yes, it’s that delcious. So, you want to know the secret?! It’s the seasoning on the quinoa. You’ll see below that you actually cook the quinoa in a spice mix. And, that makes all the difference.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad*

 Allergens: Celiac friendly and free of the top 8 allergens. Always pick specific ingredients that meet your own dietary requirements. 


  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups red quinoa, rinsed well if not pre-rinsed
  • One 15-1/2-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 7 oz.), trimmed and cut into small dice (1-1/3 cups)
  • 2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes – preferably Heirloom tomatoes, plus a few for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears), microwaved or blanched for a few seconds
  • 1/3 cup sliced scallions (white and light green parts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tsp. honey, preferably local (Use agave nectar if you are vegan.)
  • 1/4 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce


  1. Combine 1 tsp. salt, the cumin, and coriander in a small bowl. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt-spice mixture, stir well, and cook for 30 seconds.

    Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
    When you cook your quinoa in this spice mixture, it should make it extra flavorful.
  2. Add the quinoa, stir again. Then, add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and the germ has separated from the seed (it will look like a ring), 20 to 22 minutes. (If there is a little water left, bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more to boil off the water.)

    Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
    Cooking all the quinoa!!
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir once. Put a folded paper towel over the quinoa and cover with the pot lid again for 5 minutes. Uncover, discard the paper towel, and transfer the quinoa to a large, shallow mixing bowl or a large baking sheet (where it will cool more quickly). Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
    Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
    The all-too-important paper towel step!

    Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
    Using a Baking Sheet to Cool the Quinoa
  4. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the black beans, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, scallions, chopped cilantro, orange juice, the remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, sriracha hot sauce, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir well and let sit while the quinoa cools, stirring occasionally.
    Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
    Black Bean Salad w/o Quinoa

    Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
    This is delicious on it’s own, but wait till you add the well seasoned quinoa.
  5. Combine the black bean salad with the cooled quinoa and mix thoroughly. Taste and season as necessary. (It will continue to build flavor as it sits.)
  6. Garnish with a few extra tomatoes and cilantro sprigs, and serve! (May be served at room temperature or chilled. It can be made up to a day ahead.)
Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
Without the garnish, this dish is delicious, but dark. Be sure to deck it out for your friends!

Tips and Tricks

  • As it takes awhile to cool down, get the quinoa cooking before prepping the rest of your ingredients.
  • You can also try this salad without the quinoa. The veggies are delicious on their own.
  • If you really don’t like beans, you can substitute in edamame (contains soy), but I would probably just add more corn and turn this into a corn salad instead.

*Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine.

Now, what you may not know is that I’m actually out of the kitchen for 2 months, while I recover from shoulder surgery. And, yes, blogging in a sling is just about as fun as it sounds. Therefore, this dish was made by my mom with love. It’s true that dishes taste better when you haven’t been the one testing the recipe the whole way through. However, I stand by this dish as one of the best of the summer.

Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)
One last look at my favorite dish this year, AND it’s perfect for labor day!

I am of course sharing this delicious meal with all of my friends at Fiesta Friday, co-hosted by Effie @ Food Daydreaming and Steffi @ Ginger & Bread. Don’t forget that I’ll be on Instagram all weekend long!

Happy cooking, and have a wonderful weekend!

30 thoughts on “Recipe for Southwestern Quinoa Salad (GF, V)

    1. Thanks, Caroline! Me too! This is one of our recipes that’s time-consuming due to the high number of ingredients, but I think it’s absolutely worth the extra time. Happy FF! Hope you’ve been enjoying your weekend so far. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Michelle! It really made a difference. And, let me know how it goes with rice. Maybe I’ll try that some day too! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 😀

  1. I just bought tricolor quinoa. This would be a wonderful recipe to try using it for. Plus I have all those tomatoes from the garden! They just won’t quit, those plants! 😀

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