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Easy Southwestern Quinoa Salad Recipe For Two | Gluten-Free & Vegan

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This recipe for southwestern quinoa salad is the perfect healthy salad recipe that makes a delicious meal or side dish! 

You’ll love this quinoa recipe as an easy clean eating lunch idea for two that is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.

It’s also perfect for the Trim Healthy Mama Plan as a THM-E recipe or the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living Challenge.


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How to Make Quinoa

Making quinoa is no more difficult than making rice!

…and honestly, I find cooking quinoa on the stovetop easier than rice on the stove top because it doesn’t change so quickly from undercooked to a clumpy sticky mess.

You’ll need a 2:1 ratio of liquid and quinoa.  I typically just use water but depending on what I’m making with the quinoa I’ll sometimes use broth instead.

First, you need to rinse your quinoa under cool running water using a fine mesh strainer.

note: I skip this step because I use Anthony’s quinoa which is already rinsed (and it’s certified gluten free!)

Then, add it to your saucepan and toast it on the stove for 1-2 minutes.

Once the water starts to evaporate off, add in the liquid and bring it to a boil.

Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer (the lowest setting), cover, and cook for around 15 minutes or until the water has all evaporated or cooked into the quinoa.

After simmering, remove from heat and let your quinoa stand (keep the cover on) for 5 minutes.

Your quinoa should be fluffy and perfect!

Mexican Quinoa Close Up with wooden spoon

Equipment for Zesty Quinoa Salad

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • a small whisk
  • a small bowl or jar (for your dressing)
  • a mixing bowl and spoon
  • cutting board and knife

(and if you don’t have leftover quinoa you’ll need a saucepan to cook the quinoa)

Since I used fresh lime for this recipe, I also used a lemon squeezer.

Ingredients for Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

Most of the ingredients for this recipe are fresh and can be found at your local grocery store, but you’ll find great deals on gluten-free ingredients in general (and products like beans, salsa, and seasonings) on Thrive Market.

Click here to learn more about Thrive Market and a promotional link to get a free gift worth up to $24 on your first order!

Ingredients for Mexican Quinoa with quinoa black beans salsa salt lime tomato pepper and onion
  • cooked quinoa. I make up big batches of quinoa and use it in recipes throughout the workweek. Cooked quinoa will last up to 5 days in the fridge, or can be frozen for longer! My favorite (and the most affordable) quinoa is by Anthony’s–it’s pre-rinsed and certified gluten free. You can find it on Amazon here.
  • a roma tomato. Be sure it’s diced and seeded
  • diced bell pepper. Any color works!
  • black beans. I use canned, drained and rinsed.
  • diced red onion. A white or sweet onion works too, but red is so pretty in this colorful dish!
  • lime juice. I usually juice a fresh lime using one of these because it only takes a few seconds and tastes SO good!
  • salsa. Use your favorite brand & flavors. If you like the flavor of your salsa, you’ll like how this recipe is seasoned.
  • salt
  • fresh cilantro

How to Make Quinoa Salad

Preparing this quinoa salad is a simple as mixing everything together! 

quinoa and vegetables combined with cilantro dressing in background

First, be sure all your ingredients are prepped and chopped.  Mix together your quinoa, tomato, pepper, black beans and red onion.

mixing the salsa dressing

Then, prepare the southwestern quinoa salad dressing by combining the lime juice, salsa, salt, and fresh cilantro in a small bowl or jar.

adding salsa dressing to quinoa salad

Next, pour the zesty lime cilantro vinaigrette onto your quinoa mixture and you’re good to go!

You can either eat this recipe right away or let the flavors marinate for a bit in the fridge.

side view of quinoa salad with spoon on mat

Frequently Asked Questions about Quinoa Salad Recipes:

How healthy is quinoa salad?

This quinoa salad with black beans is a delicious gluten-free grain salad packed with plant-based protein, veggies, complex carbs, and essential vitamins.

It’s a very balanced recipe as is.

Is quinoa salad served hot or cold?

Typically it is a cold side dish.

However, this particular recipe would taste great warmed up with extra beans or an additional protein—almost like a burrito bowl!

How long will a quinoa salad last in the fridge?

This recipe lasts about 3 days in the fridge, just be sure to give it a quick mix before eating in case the dressing has settled to the bottom.

Can I freeze quinoa salad?

You can definitely freeze southwestern quinoa in an airtight container for about 3 months, but I wouldn’t freeze the assembled quinoa salad. The raw vegetables and dressing taste best fresh!

finished mexican quinoa with cilantro and wooden spoon on mat

Did you love this clean eating recipe?

Be sure to pin this recipe to your Healthy Recipes Pinterest board using the social sharing buttons so you can access it whenever you’re ready to make it!

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Mexican Quinoa Close Up with wooden spoon

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

This recipe for southwestern quinoa salad is the perfect healthy salad recipe that makes a delicious meal or side dish!  You’ll love this quinoa recipe as an easy clean eating lunch idea for two that is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan (as well as a THM-E or fitting for Arbonne's Healthy Living Program).
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2 servings


  • whisk
  • small bowl or jar
  • mixing bowl and spoon
  • cutting board and knife


  • 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 roma tomato diced & seeded
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup black beans drained & rinsed
  • 1 tbsp red onion

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)


  • Combine the quinoa, tomato, diced pepper, black beans, and red onion in a bowl.
  • Make the dressing by mixing together the lime juice, salsa, salt, and cilantroleaves in a separate jar or small bowl. 
  • Mix with the rest of the ingredients and thoroughly incorporate.
  • If desired, top with extra cilantro before serving


see the full blog post above post for:
  • ingredient and equipment suggestions,
  • tips for cooking quinoa, and
  • frequently asked questions
Keyword arbonne 30 days to healthy living, dairy-free, gluten-free, quinoa, THM, vegan, vegetables, vegetarian
bowl of quinoa salad

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Recipe Rating

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Jenny Brereton

Monday 8th of March 2021

Yumm!!!! This is one of my favorite vegan dishes to make. I love adding avocado and hot sauce to it.


Monday 8th of March 2021

ooo what a great idea! love it!

Ana Palombini

Thursday 4th of March 2021

OMG, Yummmm! I love quinoa and, as a Brazilian, I can eat beans with everything. This is such a great recipe inspiration. It's been a while since I've varied my quinoa salad. Thank you for this. I will 100% be trying it out!


Thursday 4th of March 2021

yes, I love quinoa and beans too! Such an easy make-ahead recipe!

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