Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad . $6.54

This gorgeous salad is a great summer side and the black beans and quinoa provide enough protein to justify serving it as a vegetarian main dish meal. Lime, garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes make this a fresh, fragrant and (I always smile when I say this word) zesty dish.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Try serving this Quinoa Salad on a bed of lettuce, or as a side for chicken or fish. While it would go well with any Southwestern menu, it would also go well with a barbecued Cajun or spicy chicken or fish. The bit of red pepper adds a bite, for sure, but doesn’t overwhelm…if you’re serving small children you may wish to cut back just a bit.

A big plus is that there are no ingredients here that you’ll have to worry about if this sits out for awhile, making it perfect for lunches, potlucks or barbecues. Great room temperature or cold, I think it is even better the next day. My son threw some grated cheddar into his, and surprise, after a taste I rather liked it – but the next day inspiration hit – a few chunks of Feta cheese transformed this dish into almost something new.

Now, you’ll notice I’m over budget for a $5.00 more or less meal – I could have done a bit better (saved around a dollar) had I stuck with a green pepper, used beans I’d cooked myself instead of canned, and used chunks of tomatoes instead of the grape tomatoes. What’s a dollar a meal over the course of the year? $1,095 dollars. Wow.

I really could have saved money with by substituting rice for the quinoa and used canola oil instead of Olive Oil. The bottom line is that the first few substitutions would not have had a huge impact on the flavor or quality of the meal – just the looks. The latter substitution would have really affected the nutritional value. I’m willing to pay more for ingredients that I think are a good nutritional value, even if they are pricey!

Cooked Quinoa

Cooked Quinoa

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

  • Servings: 4 main, 6 side
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 2 cups cooked Quinoa
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (may use fresh minced garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
  • pepper to taste
  • Zest and juice of one lime
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 green onions, white and green parts, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, cilantro or a combination
  • 1 bell pepper (any color) diced small
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook Quinoa according to package directions (one cup uncooked) or check my post on Quinoa.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Add vegetables, then add cooked and slightly cooled Quinoa. Mix together and serve at room temperature or refrigerate as desired.

from the kitchen of


Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

When you wish to use an ingredient that is in your regular rotation and takes awhile to cook, think of cooking up a bit extra and freezing it in portioned sizes (no preservatives, so think short term, here.) I tripled the Quinoa in today’s recipe so I can make my Quinoa Spinach Salad next week, and perhaps another Quinoa recipe the following week. Instant convenience.

Cooking & Kitchen Hacks:

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Put Your own Spin on It:

  • Easy and simple to throw together there’s no reason to strictly stick to the ingredients. Feel free to riff as you please. I’ve been avoiding corn due to the high levels of Omega 6 and a link to cancer, but my favorite nutritional site extols the virtues of corn, and it would certainly be a delicious ingredients. (And a great way to use up an ear or two left over from a previous night’s dinner.)
  • Avocado would be fantastic with this, but you might want to slice, toss in the dressing and hold it back from the dish, tucking around the sides if you think there may be left overs.
  • Pine nuts (Pinon) would be fantastic in this, too.
  • The dressing for this salad makes a great marinade for chicken or fish!

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