Southwest Quinoa Salad: A Chop-and-Stir Recipe

bowl of southwest quinoa salad

There is an unwritten rule of the internets that when writing about quinoa, one must use the phrase “ancient grain-like seed” (although it’s really an herb) AND include the proper pronunciation of the word (KEEN-wah) somewhere in the post. But I don’t care about that, so I’m not going to do it. :)

Instead, I’ll tell you about a nice little “recipe” I chopped and stirred earlier this week: Southwest Quinoa Salad.

While I like quinoa well enough, it’s not something I feel compelled to prepare at home very often. Not that it’s difficult to prepare–basically you rinse and boil it–but it’s one of those foods that requires other ingredients to have much flavor at all. And that requires thinking and boiling and washing of pots and pans. You see why it’s not high on my list.

simply balanced quinoa from TargetLately I’ve had a bug up my whatzit about a southwest quinoa salad I sampled at Costco a few months ago ($6.99 a bucket, if memory serves), but lacking a Costco membership and a spare $6.99, I was out of luck unless I was up for some boiling and such. And with the Tall Jeans hoopla in full swing, I really wasn’t up for that at all.

Well, while on a Target run a few weeks ago, I spotted this Simply Natural Quinoa that you just pop into the microwave for 90 seconds, package and all. And it was on sale for $2!


What follows is not so much a recipe as a “recipe”. It’s one of those dishes that you just toss things into and taste to see what else, if anything, you need to add. I did my best to record and/or remember what I put in my salad.

(L) Cooked quinoa; (R) salad in progress

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Makes about 3 Cammy-sized servings

Ingredients for salad:
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (here’s a how-to if you don’t have the microwave version)
1/2 cup rinsed and drained black beans
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/8 cup chopped cilantro (you don’t have to use sad, wilted cilantro like mine)

Ingredients for dressing:
Juice of one average-sized lime
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp chili pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or your oil of choice)

1. Chop and stir salad ingredients
2. Squeeze, measure or stir dressing ingredients together
3. Pour about half of dressing over salad, stir and taste. You might want to add more or you might not. You can always save the rest to add to…well, just about anything salad-y.

And that’s all there is to this tasty and filling salad. Leftovers keep in the fridge for a few days–three days, in my case, but maybe more.

As for the Simply Balanced pre-cooked quinoa, I’ll give it a thumbs up. I had a few “clumpy” bits, but that didn’t change the taste. Or, in the case of quinoa, the absence of real taste. LOL

Anyway, you can see that this is a very simple and completely taste-adjustable dish to make. I just went with ingredients I had on hand, and I don’t know that I’ll change much the next time I make this dish. Unless, of course, I don’t happen to have one (or more) of these ingredients. :)

What’s your favorite way to prepare quinoa?

**Note to FCC: No affiliation with this product. I spent my own $2 on it and have the receipt to prove it.

15 thoughts on “Southwest Quinoa Salad: A Chop-and-Stir Recipe

  1. Ever since trying (and remaking several times) your awesome taco filling, I follow your food-making ways like a toddler clinging to a blanket :) I heart KEEN-wah very much, and black beans, and limes and green onions, so I’ll be making this, too. Dare I ask…does this freeze well?

    • Duh. It never occurred to me to freeze quinoa! And I freeze EVERYTHING. According to this article, it is absolutely possible. Thank you for your question for now I can just boil up a big batch of it and freeze it in 2-3 serving packs.

      Thank you also for your kind comment on the taco filling–ooh, it just occurred to me that this quinoa salad would probably be awesome wrapped in a tortilla with some lentil taco filling! Yummm!

      • Yes, it would work great in a tortilla! I bought beans today and am going to make this dish with a few alterations, only because I don’t have cilantro, and I’m going to assume that 1/4 chili pepper is cayenne? Or should I go with chili powder. Depends on how bold I want to be, I suppose :)

  2. The only way I’ve had quinoa is for breakfast–either mixed with oatmeal, or with lots of fruit and other flavorful additives. That’s interesting about the pre-cooked quinoa. That’s like me with the pre-cooked brown rice I get at Costco. Now I can’t imagine ever cooking rice again.

    • That reminds me, I bought a package of microwavable wild rice too. Sheesh, I’m going to be cooking a lot in the next few months. :)

      Now that I’ve finished up the quinoa salad, I’ll probably use the rest of the quinoa for breakfasts over the next few days. Also, I’m going to try freezing a serving.

  3. I love quinoa and make salads with it, toss it into soups and enjoy it as side dish. It’s so quick and easy. Great cooking Cammy!

  4. I’ve tried quinoa and… I don’t know → I’m just not a fan of it. :( To me, it tastes a little too “earthy”. I love the southwest flavors, so maybe it’s taste will get lost. :) Thanks for sharing!

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