Vegetarian Southwest Quinoa Salad

Southwest Quinoa Salad
Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD
Total Time: 25 min
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Servings: 6 (1 cup each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

276 calories
7g fat
45g carbs
12g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 (1 cup each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 276
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 132mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 10g 36%
Total Sugars 4g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 12g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 57mg 4%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 706mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Part of a healthy diet pattern to lower your blood pressure and risk of heart disease involves decreasing the amount of saturated fat you eat, mainly from animal products. While leaner cuts of meat, fish, eggs, and low-fat milk are generally good sources of protein to include in your diet, it might be a good idea to include more plant-based meals into your routine.

Eating less meat doesn't mean giving up flavor. This southwest quinoa salad recipe is loaded with spices and plant-based protein and fiber from quinoa and black beans. It also has satiating healthy fat from creamy avocado. The result is a delicious, filling meal that will give you steady energy for hours and keep your heart healthy.


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can (15-ounce) no salt added corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 -ounce) no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 small avocado, diced


  1. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onion is softened. Add quinoa, broth, cumin, and paprika. Stir and cover. Turn heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, bell pepper, corn, beans, cilantro, and avocado. Gently stir to combine. Serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

You can use any grain you like in this quinoa salad recipe. Cooking times may vary, so follow the instructions on the package if you use a different grain.

If you have precooked quinoa, cook garlic and onion as in step one, then stir into quinoa with cumin, paprika, and lime.

Cooking and Serving Tips

To prevent the avocado from browning, cut and add it right before serving, especially if the salad will be in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

For even more vegetables, add quinoa salad to a plate of salad greens with your favorite salsa.

For more protein, serve with grilled chicken or cooked ground turkey. 

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By Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD
Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, LD, is an intuitive eating registered dietitian with a master's in clinical nutrition.