Mexican Quinoa Salad

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been pretty wary about trying Quinoa for a very long time. Those little granules… how could those possibly turn into anything worth eating?! Seriously??! Well, it just so happens that they’re edible. Quite edible, in fact. You just have to know how to prepare those little granules so that they’re worthy of eating. Adding a bunch of other good stuff in with them is helpful too. I put together a little Mexican Quinoa Salad for you.

I added good stuff like cherry tomatoes, fresh corn and cilantro. There’s a little lime in there too and a light dressing. Easy.

This is a fancy-schmancy tricolor quinoa from Trader Joe’s.  Otherwise, it’s just one color.  Find it in the same section of your market where you’d find rice.

Some schooling for you… Quinoa (properly pronounced as “Keen-Wah”) is a type of whole grain/seed. It cooks up quicker than other whole grains (just 10 to 15 minutes) and it’s naturally vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and cholesterol free. Quinoa has the highest protein content of any other grain, and it contains all 8 amino acids (so it’s good for ya!) It’s prepared just as rice is prepared with one part quinoa to two parts water. It’s important to rinse quinoa well before cooking it since it’s coated with a naturally occurring plant chemical that can cause a bitter taste. It’s super fine though, so you’ll need a fine mesh strainer to use for rinsing.

Prepare your quinoa in a little saucepan, and in 10 minutes it’s ready… add your veggies and herbs and a simple dressing and big bang bongo you’ve got yourself a salad- served warm or lukewarm or cold.  Or you could be totally brave and just hit the Farmer’s Market, grabbing whatever sounds good to you and add it to quinoa.  It’s all good.

Are you a fan of quinoa already?  Have you yet to try this little grain?  Have I turned you on to the idea of trying it?  Hope so!

Horizons need to be broadened, salads need to be shaken up a bit, quinoa needs to be eaten, and… do as Lennon said and Give Peace a Chance.  (Though the first time I wrote that it came out as, “Give Peaches a Chance.”  Hmmm.  Ignore me and my crazy thoughts here.  Just eat some quinoa.

Mexican Quinoa Salad

This is a simply, fresh flavored quinoa salad, served warm or cold.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 12 min


1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed well through a fine strainer/sieve
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
3/4 to 1 cup fresh corn (sliced off the cob, raw)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
lime wedges
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Cool slightly.

3. In a medium bowl, toss the quinoa with the tomatoes, corn and cilantro. Add the dressing and toss to coat everything. Squeeze lime on top, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

4. Serve with lime wedges, for individual squeezing.


Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/4th of the salad
Calories per serving: 258
Fat per serving: 8.4g
Saturated Fat per serving: .8g
Sugar per serving: 4.3g
Fiber per serving: 4.4g
Protein per serving: 7.6g
Cholesterol per serving: 0mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 40.1g

WW POINTS per serving:
Points Plus Program: 7 Old Points Program: 5


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  • Anastasia wrote:

    DROOLING. That dressing sounds like perfection to me!

  • Rosana wrote:

    I loooooove Quinoa. I usually cook it with carrots, onion, garlic and celery. Just saute all those vegetables in a tbs of olive oil for 5 minutes, next, add the Quinoa and then chix stock. Cook for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is gone and serve. Even my kids love it when there is Quinoa for dinner.

  • Sharon wrote:

    Since it’s winter and I can’t find fresh corn on the cob, could I substitute thawed frozen corn kernels? This sounds great and I’ve got a box of quinoa I’ve been meaning to try. Thanks

    • Lori Lange wrote:


  • Merna HIxson wrote:

    I like my quinoa for breakfast with a sprinkle of sliced almonds and a splash of milk; also use it in place of rice when serving stir fry.

  • Amanda wrote:

    Sounds so fabulous Lori, I’m always looking for fresh salads using quinoa, I love it!

  • Diana wrote:

    the photo of the ingredients looks like there are two garlic cloves? Not listed in ingredients …….

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      observant, you are! Thank you for pointing that out… just added to the recipe!!

  • Traci wrote:

    I bought a bag of Organic Quinoa from Costco (pre-rinsed) and went on a mission to find recipes for it. This is the first one i have tried and it was sooo yummy!! My husband really liked it too. Instead of using lime wedges, i just used some lime juice that I already had in the fridge.

  • Vicki B. in Mountain wrote:

    It also makes excellent pancakes and crispy potato things like they sell in the fast food restaurants. Throw in some chicken soup base and some veggies it makes a great side dish, it also makes excellent banana muffins, it is one great seed! I use it all the time

  • Britt H wrote:

    Just thought I’d mention that there are more than 8 amino acids, but there are 8 essential amino acids. Protein from animal meat has all the essential amino acids, but vegetarians must make sure they are eating a good balance of proteins from various sources to get all the amino acids in their diet. I haven’t before heard that quinoa has all the essential AA, but if it does then it’s a nice source of some protein for a non-meat-eater.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      good to know!

  • RecipeGirl’s Mom wrote:

    This looks good so I’ll have to try it this summer when I’m craving salads again.

  • Jan G. wrote:

    Use alot of black Quinoa, for some reason I seem to prefer that one. Make chicken salad with it. Get the rotesserie chicken if in a hurry and add yellow and red peppers diced along with green onions. Top it off with diet Ginger salad dressing and in summer some papaya slices. YUM! Makes a great work lunch.

  • Louise wrote:

    This looks absolutely delicious! I love Quinoa!

  • Maureen wrote:

    I have loved quinoa since the first time I tried it. We are trying to eat healthier and this is great. I make a big batch of it on Sunday and divide it up into 5 containers. From there, I add in fresh chopped veggies, fruits and or nuts, add a little dressing and “boom” I’ve got my lunches packed for the week! Yours is a great recipe for when I’ve got a craving for Mexican flavors. Green peppers, black olives, feta and a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano take care of my Middle Eastern cravings. I use quinoa in any salad in place of pasta or rice.

  • Sweetsugarbelle wrote:

    I made quinoa yesterday then had no idea what to do with it! Bookmarking this!

  • Mindful Eater wrote:

    I’m just getting into quinoa and can use all the recipes I can find. This sounds delicious!

  • Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are} wrote:

    I really like quinoa – I just have to get my family on board. They’re a little put off by all the little “fingernail” looking curley-ques. Mexican is a good starting place though – a “never fail” taste profile for us!!