Pixelated Crumb

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Jump to the recipe

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I have a new favorite quinoa recipe. This southwestern quinoa salad now stands right at the top of the list along with the spinach feta quinoa that I fell head over heals in love with earlier this year. This one’s got some of my favorite ingredients and flavors: black beans, fresh veggies, some southwestern chili spice, and (my favorite) delectable, creamy avocado. Oh, and of course the wonderful nutty and nutritious quinoa with its fun, slightly crunchy bite.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad Chili Dressing

Jalapenos, Corn, Bell Pepper, Black Beans, Red Onion

If the ingredients alone aren’t enough to have you running to get your keys to go to the store, consider how easy and healthy this dish is. In fact, we first made this the morning we were heading up to Vermont for the day. As much as Joseph and I love eating out, we’re pretty frugal and besides, we had to save our money to stock up on cheese, maple syrup, and our favorite Vermont pepperoni. We hadn’t thought ahead and planned on making anything, but when I woke up the morning of our day trip, I figured, hey, that recipe looked pretty simple, I bet we could make it quickly before heading out.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

And as usual (ha, if only) I was right , and we packed up the cooler and headed out. Our first stop was the King Arthur Flour store, but we were just too hungry to look at all their delicious wares, so we sat down at one of their lovely new outdoor tables to enjoy our lunch. And I fell in love after one bite, as simple as that.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I wasn’t entirely sure if the excitement of being outside one of my favorite food related stores and just a short distance away from tasting maple syrup and a variety of cheeses was influencing my take on the quinoa. I had to try it again to be sure, so Joseph and I made it again for dinner the other night and I knew for sure it was true love. It’s perfect for a picnic or cookout, for lunch, or for any quick and delicious meal.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Adapted from Let's Dish via Eliza's Edibles

You'll notice there are a few different powdered chili varieties here. We really like the blend of regular chili powder, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, and chipotle powder. If you don't have these on hand, just substitute with regular chili powder.


For the Salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup thawed frozen corn (or fresh!)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1 avocado

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • juice of one lime


  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a mesh strainer. Bring quinoa and 2 cups broth or water to a boil, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. Cool to room temp (more or less).
  2. Combine black beans, corn, red onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and cooked quinoa in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and add to the quinoa mixture.
  3. Top with sliced avocado
  4. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.