Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Quinoa is one of the most amazing and versatile ‘grains’ out there.  Quinoa is not a true grain, and is actually more closely related to beets, spinach and tumbleweeds than to grains like wheat or rice (thanks Wikipedia).  Quinoa is gluten free and a complete protein which makes it perfect for people with gluten intolerances and for vegetarians.  I personally feel that it is an amazing food for just about everyone!  You can typically find quinoa in a white or red variety and for this recipe I used red.

Lately, I have been making a big batch of quinoa salad on Sundays and eating it for lunch throughout the week.  I have been throwing together lots of different ingredients with the quinoa to create really interesting salad combinations.  Below you will find one of my favorite combinations which combines cilantro, lime, black beans and quinoa goodness.  I kept this version meatless, however, this would work well with some cubed chicken tossed in.

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water or chicken broth
1 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 15 oz. can black bean, drained and rinsed
1/4 red onion, diced
5 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 avocados, cubed
*1 cup cilantro lime dressing

Cook quinoa in water or chicken broth according to directions on package.  Toss the cooked quinoa with the olives, pepper, tomatoes, beans, onion, scallions, avocado and dressing.  Serve immediately or refrigerate to eat later on in the week.  Bring back up to room temperature before serving.  Serves 6.

*Cilantro Lime Dressing

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and gorgeously green in color.

This dressing is phenomenal served on just about anything!  Brian and I also love to make a huge Mexican salad tossed with this dressing.  If you would like it sweeter, you can add a tablespoon or two more honey to the blender.



Filed under dairy free, egg free, gluten free, low sugar, main dish, salad, vegetarian

20 responses to “Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

  1. This looks amazing! Two of my favourites – quinoa & mexican…yummy!

  2. Brian

    This is amazing everyone! How lucky am I!

  3. Yum…I love quinoa salads. I can’t wait to give this one a try!

  4. Cathy Hadley

    Hi Andrea!

    The Quinoa salad looks delish! How do you think it would work out if I sub vegetable broth for the water/chicken broth?

  5. chpdlivr

    I made this salad today. It is delish, but seems kind of “wet”. I made the dressing as directed and poured it all on…..was it more than a cup? Oh, well……it’s very tasty and I’d make it again.

    • Andrea Gellerstein

      The dressing is more than a cup which is why I specify to measure out a cup of it for the salad. The extra dressing is really great over chicken or on a green salad! Glad you enjoyed even if it was a little ‘wet’!

  6. Delicious salad! I will definitely make this one again.

  7. This recipe was fantastic Andrea! I got it from a co-worker and I let 2 other people in the office try it and they loved it! Thank you so much for sharing it! My husband enjoyed it too and he’s usually kind of fussy!

  8. Hi Andrea, I made it for my Ladies Bible Study Group and they wanted this recipe – they loved it! Would it be okay if I posted this on my blog? I will put your link in the post for the credit. (P.S. If you’re interested in earning on Fanbox, I can open an account for you to earn extra dollars – at no cost to you and I would promote your blogs within Fanbox – we would export copies of any of your blogs to Fanbox. If you’re interested let me know.) My email is
    Cheers! Janet

    • Hi Janet,

      You are more than welcome to link this recipe to your blog! It seems that this is the most sought out recipe here-I will have to post more quinoa salad recipes (perhaps after the baby comes). So glad that your group enjoyed the recipe so much!

      Thank you again for visiting!

  9. Awesome Andrea….thank you and have a nice day!

  10. Krista

    This was absolutely wonderful!

  11. Mandi

    This is amazing!!! Made it today as part of a mexican themed meal. Wonderfully yummy!

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