Calling all Mexican food lovers - this Mexican quinoa salad is your next favorite meal prep recipe! Full of fresh vegetables and protein-powered quinoa, you won't get bored of eating this delicious quinoa salad.
The Best Mexican Quinoa Salad Recipe
There's nothing I love more than a healthy meal that's easy to meal prep. With the days only getting busier, we all need wholesome meals that are quick to access. And, this refreshing Mexican quinoa salad is just that!
You may be thinking - a cold salad? How exciting...Not with this Mexican quinoa salad. It's super flavorful and full of ingredients that make you feel absolutely fantastic.
I am a huge fan of Mexican food. It's so fresh and fragrant, with the best spices, citrus, and vegetables. Much of Mexican cuisine is plant based, making it a very heart-healthy cuisine. I love to try making all kinds of Mexican dishes regularly, which is what inspired me to make this Mexican quinoa salad in particular. I always have avocados, jalapenos, and lime on hand!
You only need a few ingredients to make this vegan salad taste out of this world delicious. So, get ready for a recipe that you won't be able to live without. It's great as a side dish, to take to work or even a picnic.
What's in Mexican Quinoa Salad?
The best part about this recipe is its top-notch fresh ingredients. Most of the ingredients you can prep ahead of time (or might even have leftover!) You can also incorporate any extra ingredients you like, especially if you're cleaning out the fridge...
So, what's in this Mexican quinoa salad?
- Quinoa - This ancient grain adds more nutrients and protein to this salad than rice would. I love using it in most of my Mexican-inspired dishes, like my Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes!
- Tomatoes - Originally from South American and brought to Mexico thousands of years ago, fresh tomatoes are an authentic addition to this dish. I love using cherry tomatoes for their awesome sweetness. Grape tomatoes work well too!
- Onion - Mexican food almost always has a little onion in it somewhere! For this recipe, I chose red onion. It lends a nice sweetness and adds more color to the dish.
- Avocado - It's hard to think about Mexican food without avocado. This fruit is full of so many healthy fats and vitamins, it's insane! Diced avocado is the most nourishing way to make any salad or bowl more filling.
- Corn - Another Mexican food staple, corn is an easy addition to this salad recipe. I suggest using fresh corn. If you can make charred corn, even better! Frozen corn or canned corn works if you're really short for time.
- Black beans - These are some of my favorite ways to get fiber and more protein. Fresh black beans are seriously delicious and more optimal than canned black beans as they have way more nutrients and flavor. You can also use kidney beans or chickpeas if you'd like a Mediterranean twist.
- Lime - Fresh lime juice makes all the difference. It helps to create a very simple lime dressing with tomatoes, without any need for oil! It's crazy how much flavor lime juice brings to the table. If you don't have any lime juice, lemon juice is a reliable substitute.
- Salt and pepper - The simplest way to season your food! I rarely give these a measurement - everyone has their own preference for salt and pepper. Just do it to taste!
Remember: the greatest part about this recipe is that you can always experiment with more or fewer ingredients. You can toss in some fresh cilantro or chopped bell pepper. Like more dressing? Add in some olive oil or toss the salad with your preferred dressing ingredients. If you aren't trying to keep this salad vegan, you can even a little crumbled feta. The choices are all up to you!
Tips for Making Perfectly Cooked Quinoa
Something I always love to touch on is how to make the fluffiest quinoa. The safest bet is usually to follow the package instructions to cook quinoa. Yet, I just want to reaffirm some of my go to tips!
- Always rinse your quinoa. This is super important as it get rids of the saponin in quinoa. This is the quinoa's natural coating that makes quinoa appear soapy when rinsed. It also makes quinoa very bitter when not washed off!
- Cook your quinoa in vegetable broth. This adds more flavor to your quinoa. You can use half broth half water if you want to limit the sodium in your dish.
- Let your quinoa sit for 10 minutes. Instead of immediately serving your quinoa, allow it to sit, covered, for 10 minutes. This gives extra time for the quinoa to fluff up.
How to Make Mexican Quinoa Salad
Here is my step by step for making this great recipe for meal prep.
The first step is always to rinse and cook your quinoa. Once your quinoa is on the stove, you can begin prepping your vegetables.
First, with a handy chef's knife, chop your onions and tomatoes.
Then, chop your jalapeno. It's important that you don't touch your face during this process - you don't want to accidentally get any spice in your eyes!
Then, cut your avocado. We are aiming for diced avocado so that there's a little amount of avocado in every bite. If you are making this ahead of time, squeeze some lime juice on the avocado to prevent the pieces from oxidizing and turning brown.
Now, it's time to mix everything together! Add your lime juice to a large bowl. Next, add your quinoa. Mix them together.
Add all your chopped fruits, vegetables, and beans to the quinoa mixture. Toss together with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the salad into an airtight container, if you are prepping it ahead of time. You may garnish your salad with cilantro and lime zest if you like!
Do you meal prep often? I'd love to hear all your thoughts on this recipe. It's absolutely delicious and something I make for work almost every week. I am so happy I could share this recipe with you. Please feel free to leave a comment below on this recipe and/or your meal prep strategy!
Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Cutting Board
- Vegetable Peeler
- 2 tomatoes
- ¼ onion
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- ½ cup cooked kernels
- 1 avocado
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 limes
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Chop the Tomatoes.
- Chop the onion.
- Cut the Jalapeño Pepper.
- Cut the Corn Kernels.
- Dice the Avocado.
- Cook the Quinoa as per instructions.
- Mix everything together and add the beans.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.