Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I can’t believe it is already September!  It makes me sad.  That means summer is coming to an end.  Let’s reminisce for a minute, shall we?

Sweet summertime…a time for beach vacations, early morning runs, and cookouts with friends and family.  Cookouts, however, mean meat.  Lots and lots of meat – hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken kabobs, you name it.  Therefore, finding the perfect protein-packed, crowd-pleasing side dish to bring to a house full of carnivores is quite the task.


When I brought this dish over to my friend David’s house and stated, “oh it’s a southwestern quinoa salad” his response was “What did you just say? ‘Keen-wah’? What in the world is that!?”


If you haven’t gotten on the “Keen-wah” band wagon yet, you’re missing out.  Not only is this little grain versatile and delish, it’s packed with protein, fiber and many other nutrients that will do a body good!  Forbes has even coined it “The Supergrain of the Future“.


Not only did everyone at the cookout demolish my lovely side dish, people have been asking me for the recipe ever since.  Enough already, here it is:

Southwestern Quinoa Salad (Makes 4-6 Servings)

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 15 oz can Black Beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn Kernels, thawed (I use a little over half of a 12 oz package)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded & diced
  • Handful of Fresh Cilantro, chopped

 Dressing Ingredients

  • Juice of 1 Lime (or 2 TBSP Bottled Lime Juice)
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Agave Nectar
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like it!)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan over high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, combine the black beans, corn, diced bell pepper and cilantro in a large mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, agave nectar, chili powder, cayenne, paprika & cumin.  Whisk until smooth.  Once the quinoa has cooled slightly, add it to the bean and vegetable mixture.  Add the dressing and toss to combine.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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