Friday, March 31, 2023

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

The perfect side dish that's bursting with Southwestern flavors and filled with quinoa, black beans, corn, red onion, and red bell pepper all doused with a lime vinaigrette.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

As we head in to Spring our food seems to become lighter so let's bring on the side dishes that compliment so many man course items.  This Southwestern Quinoa Salad uses a whole grain as it's base and is filled with corn, red bell pepper, black beans, red onion, and cilantro.  The combination gives this salad a southwestern flair.  But what really makes this dish over the top is the vinaigrette.  A simple lime and chili powder vinaigrette is poured over the top and just bring all the flavors together.  It's a flavor bomb in your mouth!

This salad is very easy to make and has just a few ingredients.  It's great for a picnic with sandwiches or chicken.  Perfect along side chicken, fish, or pork for dinner.  It's such a versatile salad that goes with most dishes.  You'll want to make this all Spring and Summer long.


What Ingredients do I need?

  • Quinoa - I used a tri-color one
  • Red onion
  • Black beans
  • Red bell pepper
  • Corn - fresh or frozen
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh lime
  • Olive Oil
  • Chili Powder

Substitutions and Variations

  • Try a different grain.  Couscous, bulgur, or farro would work beautifully.
  • Add sweet potato, zucchini, or yellow squash for some variety.

Kitchen Tips and Notes

  • Make Ahead - This salad can be made several hours ahead, even the day before, of your mealtime.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.
  • What do I need to make this?  Simple everyday items:
    • good mixing bowls - I like ones with lid so I can store them right in the bowl
    • 3 quart saucepan
    • fine mesh strainer - I use the handheld ones for all of my grains for the compact size and ease of use.
    • wooden spoons
    • good chef's knife - this is a good one for in a lower price range

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Southwestern Quinoa Salad

serves 6-8

1 cup quinoa
1/4 red onion, diced
1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
1 large red bell pepper, seeded & diced
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped

3 T olive oil
juice from 1 lime
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and then transfer it to a saucepan.  Cook the quinoa in water, according to package directions. (about 15 minutes) Fluff with a fork and remove from the pot to a bowl and allow to cool.    I removed about 1 cup of cooked quinoa and saved it for another use and used the rest for the salad.

Mix in onion, beans, bell pepper, corn, and cilantro.  In a small bowl mix together dressing ingredients.  Whisk well to combine.  Pour over salad and stir until well coated.

This salad may be made a day ahead but stir in the cilantro and dressing no more than 1 hour before serving.  Serve at room temperature or refrigerated.

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