This Mexican Quinoa Salad with Avocado has it all. Creamy avocado, black beans, corn, tomato, red onion, and a kick from pickled jalapeño. Top it off with a tangy chipotle lime vinaigrette and crunchy tortillas, and you have a meal that is anything but dull. This recipe is perfect for making on the weekend for meal prep.
When I am craving Mexican flavors but want to keep things light, this Mexican Quinoa Salad is perfect. It works well for lunch or dinner and also makes a great side dish.
I love the crunch of the tortillas and the punchy kick of the dressing. (It has just the right amount of heat.)
It is no surprise that this recipe has become a year-round staple in my make-ahead lunch rotation. I think you will love the yumminess of it all too.
Ingredients for Making Cold Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa: Any color of quinoa works in this recipe. Use this guide for How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly.
- Black Beans: Canned is convenient. If you plan ahead, these Slow Cooker Black Beans take flavors to the next level.
- Corn: I recommend using organic corn. Fresh steamed corn is fabulous in the summer when corn is in season.
- Tomato: When making this in the winter, I recommend using grape or cherry tomatoes.
- Red Onion: Don’t like raw onion? Try these Quick Pickled Onions.
- Jalapeno: I love pickled jalapenos, but feel free to omit if you don’t care for heat.
- Tortillas: Make sure you keep a close eye on them when toasting - they burn quickly.
- Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice is best. Add the zest in for an even more pronounced lime flavor.
- Chipotle Chili in Adobo Sauce: You can find these in the ethnic section of the grocery store. They are relatively hot, so adjust the amount to your liking.
- Garlic: A teaspoon of garlic powder may be substituted.
- Cilantro: Feel free to omit if you do not care for it.
- Oil: I like extra-virgin olive oil for dressings.
- Maple Syrup: Feel free to use your preferred sweetener.
- Seasonings: I used cumin and salt. Smoked paprika, chili powder, or Mexican oregano are also good options.
- Avocado: Cut just enough avocado for what you plan on serving right away.
Tips and Tricks
- Be sure to keep a close eye on the tortilla strips. They go from perfect to burnt very quickly!
- If you are making this recipe ahead of time, wait until you are ready to serve to add the avocado. The rest of the salad (minus the tortillas) may be made and stored in the refrigerator for four to five days. It is perfect to take to work for lunch!
- Remember that it is essential to rinse quinoa before you cook it. If you are new to cooking quinoa, learn how to cook quinoa (stovetop) or how to cook quinoa in a rice cooker.
- Instead of toasting tortillas, serve with blue corn tortilla chips.
- Add in 4 ounces shredded cheddar. (Traditional or Vegan work!)
- Serve over a bed of shredded romaine lettuce.
- Top with Avocado Cream or Avocado Hummus.
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Store cold Mexican Quinoa Salad without the avocado and tortilla strips in the refrigerator for up to five days. If desired, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil before serving and a squeeze of lime juice.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
How to Make Mexican Quinoa Salad with Avocado
First, preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Next, put the corn, black beans, and quinoa in a large bowl and toss to combine.
After that, add in the tomato, red onion, and pickled jalapeno.
Then, slice the tortillas into thin strips.
Spray your baking sheet with oil and arrange the tortilla strips in a single layer. Spray the top of the tortillas and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake the tortillas for between 10 and 15 minutes, until crispy. Set yourself a timer to check them after about 7 minutes. Keep an eye on them for the rest of the time. They can burn quickly!
While the tortillas are cooking, combine the dressing ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth.
Next, toss the desired amount of dressing with the vegetable mixture.
Finally, transfer to serving dishes and top the quinoa Mexican salad with avocado and tortilla chips.
More Quinoa Salad Recipes to Try
- Looking for more Mexican inspired flavors? Try this Southwest Quinoa Salad.
- For a filling protein packed meal, give this Edamame Quinoa Salad a try.
- When you need a delicious meal that is sure to delight, this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is perfect.
Mexican Quinoa Salad
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
- 1 ½ cups cooked black beans drained and rinsed 1 can
- 1 cup organic frozen corn thawed
- 1 to mato seeded and diced
- ½ red onion sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeño diced
- 4 gluten-free tortillas
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ - 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
- ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 avocado diced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, tomato, red onion, and pickled jalapeño.
- Slice tortillas into thin strips.
- Spray a baking sheet with olive oil and add tortilla strips.
- Spray again.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crispy.
- Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine lime juice, chipotle chile, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, maple syrup,, cumin and sea salt. Process until mixture is smooth.
- Toss desired amount of dressing with the quinoa mixture.
- Plate quinoa and top with avocado and tortilla strips. (If making ahead, wait to put avocado and tortilla strips on at the last minute.)