This naturally gluten free Southwestern Quinoa Salad uses the classic southwestern combination of black beans, corn and cilantro to make a delicious salad that is sure to be a hit at your next picnic or Pot Luck. It is also a nice change from a green salad and I love to take it in my lunch too.
Quinoa is often referred to as a superfood and is perfect for a gluten free diet. A seed rather than a grain, quinoa is packed with protein and vitamins. It is available in red, black, white or golden colour and all varieties cook the same so can be used interchangeably.
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I see a variety of cooking directions for quinoa so use your own method if you have one. I cook it like I cook rice; bring it to a boil in water (or stock) then put the lid on, turn the heat down and simmer. Rice takes twenty minutes, quinoa takes ten. Recipes often advise you to let your quinoa rest for about five minutes with the lid on. I might do that while I am prepping other ingredients but I’m not too fussy about that step. Sometimes I cook the quinoa a day in advance and put it directly into a plastic container and into the fridge. Other times I cook it and make the salad at the same time.
This is a big salad so I think to make it for a Pot Luck. I always portion some into a container for my lunch too so I at least get to enjoy it twice. I try to pack it up for your lunch right away to be sure and enjoy it fresh. If I have some leftover meat from my Lime Marinated Flank Steak I add that and it is an amazing lunch.
There is no denying that fresh food tastes the best but it isn’t always possible in my world. Balancing so many commitments and making dinner requires good planning skills. When it comes to the pantry that includes what you keep in your cupboard, fridge and freezer. You need enough to cook the foods you enjoy, options so you can have lots of variety, but not too much that food goes to waste.
In this recipe I use quinoa and canned black beans from the cupboard and corn from the freezer. I always have bottled lime juice in the fridge (not exactly real food but it is just realistic for me). And perhaps my most important secret ingredient for this recipe is canned chipotle chiles. Using good practices to prevent cross contamination and your chiles last a long time. But the idea is to use them up so I’ve listed more recipes at the bottom and there is more in this post, Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce vs Chipotle Powder. So that’s lots of ideas to use them up.
For jalapeños I have two ways to store them. If I buy more than I need I simply freeze them whole. Another option which I sometimes do is to buy sliced jalapeños in a jar or small tin. Transfer to a Mason jar if needed and they can be kept in the fridge for months. Some of them are pickled but can be rinsed before use if you don’t want that taste.
Let me know in the comments below if you like this Southwestern Quinoa Salad and what you do with your leftovers.
|2 cups water|
|1 cup quinoa|
|1/3 cup olive oil|
|1/3 cup fresh lime juice|
|4 tsp apple cider vinegar|
|2½ tsp cumin|
|1 tsp minced jalapeño pepper (or 1/2 tsp chipotle chile puree)|
|1¼ cups frozen corn kernels, thawed|
|1 cup diced red bell pepper|
|1 can (19oz/540ml) black beans, drained and rinsed|
|1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro|
|salt to taste|
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