Southwest Quinoa Salad

Mix some nutritious, protein-packed quinoa with veggies and delicious Mexican spices in this vegetarian Southwest Quinoa Salad. Use the leftovers for lunch!

Mexican Quinoa Salad

If you’re a long-time reader, you know how much I love repurposing meals – it’s like a two-for-one! That’s why I love dinner recipes that can be easily packed in the lunch boxes for the kids (and for me at the office). In fact, most of my best, healthy lunch ideas come straight from our dinner table the night before!

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

This Southwest Quinoa fits the bill. First, it takes less than 30 minutes to cook for dinner – yes, please! It’s a great vegetarian dinner option that’s full of protein and nutrition from quinoa and black beans. Once everyone’s done eating, I can pack the leftovers up in lunch boxes with some fresh fruits and veggies, and tortilla chips as a treat, and we’re good to go!

This quinoa is made with amazing Mexican spices, filled with proteins and vegetables. Everything is chopped up finely, and kids love the sweetness of the corn, the juicy salsa and of course, the fact that they can eat this healthy lunch with CHIPS. It’s amazing how many fewer complaints I get from my picky eaters when I let them use corn chips and serve up veggies on top. The same little trick works with my homemade nachos.

Other Quinoa Recipes for Kids

Quinoa is high in protein, gluten-free and makes a great replacement for rice or potatoes on your child’s plate. I love getting creative with Quinoa and finding new ways to insert it into family favorite recipes like:

After trying these recipes, you just might hear your kids say “more quinoa please!” for the first time ever!

For this Southwest Quinoa, sometimes I even double the recipe so I’m guaranteed leftovers. Because when I can make mealtime a little easier, I go for it!

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Mix some nutritious, protein-packed quinoa with veggies and delicious Mexican spices in this vegetarian Southwest Quinoa. Use the leftovers for lunch!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Lunch


  • 1 cup (173 g) quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups (470 g) water
  • 3/4 cup (195 g) jarred salsa
  • 1 teaspoon (2.6 g) chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon (2.5 g) ground cumin
  • 1 cup (130 g) frozen corn
  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (4 g) finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Bring the water to a boil, then stir in the quinoa, lower the heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes and turn off heat.
  2. Cover and let sit for 6 minutes – you’ll know the quinoa is ready when you see the little white “tail” of the germ around the outside edge of each seed.
  3. Once quinoa is done, add salsa, chili powder, and cumin, fold to combine well. Stir in the corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and green onions. Fold a few times until thoroughly combined.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, lime juice, salt, pepper, and garlic. Pack the dressing into mini sauce containers or add it to the salad and toss to combine.
  5. Serve with avocado and cheese and garnish with additional cilantro, if desired.


For school lunch: Pack leftovers in a container or lunchbox. This salad is great eaten cold or at room temperature as well.


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 574
  • Sugar: 9.8g
  • Fat: 23.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 70.5g
  • Fiber: 16.6g
  • Protein: 24.5g

Keywords: lunch ideas, southwestern quinoa salad, quinoa salad, Mexican quinoa salad


About MOMables - Laura

Mom to 3 kids, obsessed with coffee, meal planning, and helping you cook fresh meals for your family fast!

8 thoughts on “Southwest Quinoa Salad”

  1. Cupcakes says:

    The ingredients list doesn’t include the yogurt, lime juice, salt and pepper, but they are listed in the recipe instructions. How much of each do you use?

    1. Hi! The recipe has been updated and now it includes the proper directions and ingredient amounts for the dressing. Enjoy!

  2. Dana says:

    This recipe looks like something I’d like to make. It’s healthy. I was wondering if I can omit corn. Thanks.

    1. Emilie Hebert says:

      Of course! You can leave it out or sub it for something else – perhaps green peas.

    2. MOMables says:

      You can absolutely omit the corn.

  3. Maureen says:

    I didn’t read what to do with the yogurt mixture after you mix it up. Do you use it like sour cream on top or does it get mixed in to quinoa mixture?


    1. MOMables says:

      Sorry the directions didn’t say! Mix it into the quinoa mixture.

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