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Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Filled with veggies and topped with a zesty cilantro lime dressing, this Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Salad makes a healthy and easy lunch or dinner. Enjoyed chilled or warm, it’s the perfect salad for meal prep. Make a big batch on Sunday for a quick lunch all week.

A Fresh & Healthy Quinoa Salad

This Mexican Quinoa Salad is one of those recipes I enjoyed the day I made it. And truth be told, LOVED even more as leftovers! It’s packed with flavor, both from the variety of vegetables in the salad and the zesty cilantro lime dressing.

But what I love even more than the flavor, is how easy this fiesta quinoa bowl is to put together. It’s really just a matter of chopping the veggies, cooking the quinoa, and adding them all to the bowl.

The cilantro lime dressing is the easiest part of the recipe – all you need to do is toss all the ingredients in a blender and your dressing is ready in 30 seconds!

You can mix and match the ingredients. If you don’t have something on hand, no sweat. You can easily substitute a similar ingredient. This is a great recipe for using up what you have on hand in the fridge!

As I mentioned, this is perfect for meal prep too. It’s a great lunch to just grab from the fridge and enjoy!

A big white bowl of fiesta quinoa salad, topped with parsley, and two silver forks.

What You’ll Need

This Mexican Quinoa Salad is made with healthy, whole ingredients. The cilantro lime dressing ingredient list may be long but each flavor compliments the other to provide a robust, zesty dressing.

For the Quinoa Salad

  • Quinoa – The base of this Mexican salad.
  • Water – Used to cook the quinoa.
  • Black beans – Low sodium is best, rinsed and dry
  • Orange bell pepper – Diced to add a pop of color to the salad.
  • Ears of corn – I char the corn ears on the grill for added flavor.
  • Cherry tomato – Diced or halved.
  • Red onion – Diced into small pieces.
  • Avocado – Added to the salad at the end.

For the Cilantro Lime Dressing

  • Shallots – You can also substitute red onion.
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic to infuse flavor in the dressing.
  • Fresh cilantro – The base of this cilantro lime dressing.
  • Olive oil – I do not recommend substituting with a different oil.
  • Fresh lime juice – It’s important to use FRESH lime juice!
  • Red wine vinegar – Helps to thin the sauce and provide a tangy flavor.
  • Honey – Sweetens it up.
  • Dijon mustard – Part of what create the robust flavor.
  • Sea salt – Sea salt will provide more flavor than regular table salt.
  • Ground Cumin – A pinch of flavor.
  • Smoked paprika – Adds a savory undertone to the dressing.
  • Red pepper flakes – Add more or less according to spice preferences.
A big white bowl with tomato, charred corn, black beans, pepper, quinoa and onion, being topped with cilantro dressing to make a Mexican Quinoa Salad.

How To Make Mexican Quinoa Salad

This fiesta bowl is so easy to make! You can prepare the dressing while the quinoa is cooking and have it all ready in less than 30 minutes!

Make the Cilantro Lime Dressing

  1. Blend all ingredients. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

Make the Quinoa Salad

  1. Make the quinoa. Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
  2. Grill the corn. Add corn ears directly to the grill. Cook for a few minutes on each side until there are char marks.
  3. Assemble the salad. Add quinoa, beans, pepper, corn, tomato and onion to a large bowl. Drizzle with the lime dressing. Toss to coat. Top with avocado and serve.
A white plate of Mexican Quinoa Salad topped with avocado and cilantro, with a gold fork.

Tips for Success

There’s really no way to go wrong when you make Mexican Quinoa Salad. It’s one of my favorite lazy day recipes for that reason. That said, here are a few tips I’ve discovered after making this!

  • Rinse quinoa before cooking. Most quinoa has a coating on it that should be rinsed off before cooking for the best flavor.
  • Make it vegan. Substitute agave for the honey in the dressing to turn that recipe vegan.
  • Add additional ingredients. Olives and jalapeños are both tasty additions. Fresh mangos add a unique flavor and texture too.
  • Quinoa should be light and fluffy. If the quinoa isn’t fluffy or the water dries up too quickly, just add a bit more water to the pan and continue simmering.
  • Make it a Meal. Add in grilled shrimp, steak or rotisserie chicken to make it a meal and add in some protein!

Serving Suggestions

Mexican Quinoa Salad can be served at room temperature or chilled.

I usually eat the first bowl of it at room temperature after cooking and all of the leftovers chilled.

Close-up of a serving of fiesta quinoa topped with avocado pieces

How to Store Leftovers

This quinoa salad will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. Store in an airtight container.

If I’m using this for meal prep, I will divide it up into individual bowls and leave the dressing on the side until I’m ready to enjoy it.

More Easy Mexican Recipes:

A plate of mexican quinoa salad topped with cilantro.
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A white plate of Mexican Quinoa Salad topped with avocado and cilantro, with a gold fork.

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Filled with veggies and topped with a zesty cilantro lime dressing, this Mexican Quinoa Salad is a healthy and easy lunch or dinner. Perfect for meal prep. 



Quinoa Salad:

  • 3/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup low sodium black beans, rinsed and dry
  • 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, diced
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1 cup cherry tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced

Cilantro Lime Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon shallots or red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. For the dressing: to a blender or food processor add shallots (or red onion), garlic, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, salt, cumin, smoked paprika and red pepper flakes. Blend until mixture is pureed and smooth. (or it looks like a dressing)
  2. To a small saucepan add quinoa and water. Cover. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer for 10 minutes until all the liquid is removed. Remove from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set aside.
  3. Preheat grill to medium high heat. Add corn ears directly to the grill grates and grill for 2-3 minutes per side, until there are slight char marks.
  4. Assemble: to a large bowl add quinoa, black beans, bell pepper, charred corn, cherry tomato and red onion. Drizzle dressing over the top and toss to coat everything. Top with diced avocado and serve.


  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup
  • Calories: 252
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Sodium: 294 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Cholesterol: 2 mg

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2 comments on “Mexican Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing”

  1. WOW! I made this and the dressing really makes this salad pop. The ingredients are a bit long BUT they do blend together perfectly. I didn’t have red wine vinegar so I used apple cidar vinegar and it came out great. Plan on making this as a staple in my home. Makes a great side dish with grilled chicken. Love it!

    1. This may be one of my favorite dressings! I use it on everything! Once you make it a few times, you start eyeballing ingredients. Just throw and go and blends up super quick!