Add a little variety to your lunch menu with our easy, make-ahead Southwestern Quinoa Salad.

Rectangular white platter filled with Southwestern Quinoa Salad on a green chevron towel. Yellow serving spoon and grape tomatoes on side with sprig of cilantro.

Lunches are always a challenge. Whether I have the kids home from school or packing a lunch to go, it’s always a struggle.

Raise your hand if you have this same dilemma.

I have shared with you before about Charlie’s expansive palate, which makes his lunch pretty easy. Some days, he even asks for a salad. This Grilled Chicken Caesar and a Classic Wedge are two of his favorites.

And then there is Greta who happens to be a little pickier. However the one thing that Greta cannot get enough of is quinoa. Who would have thunk that? Not me; it still surprises me to this day. I started making this Southwestern Quinoa Salad this summer, and it is her new favorite. It’s also now at the top of her lunch requests. Coming from a girl whose knee-jerk reaction to anything is chocolate, this is something big!

This Southwestern Quinoa Salad is the perfect base for a healthy lunch. It’s packed with protein from the black beans and quinoa along with a veggie fix of corn and chopped tomato. Plus, it’s a great change of pace from the same old peanut butter sandwich.

Not only is it a great lunch option, it works for dinner on the run, too. Add some grilled chicken breast or leftover flank steak, and you have yourself a killer entree salad. And did I mention that the leftovers are just as good?? With so many ways to serve it, you can’t go wrong with this Southwestern Quinoa Salad!

Tip: You can never have too much cheese, right? If you love cheese as much as we do, this salad would taste great with some feta crumbles or queso fresco stirred in!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad on a white square plate in the foreground with small salt and pepper shakers and large platter of salad in background..

Need a great knife for chopping and dicing? This Wusthof Chef’s Knife is one of my favorites!
Yield: 6-8

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes



  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 6 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped


To make the dressing:

  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the salad:

  1. In a medium bowl, place cooked quinoa, black beans, corn and tomatoes. Stir until combined. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add chopped cilantro and stir gently. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 99 Total Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 22g Protein: 4g

This protein packed Southwestern Quinoa Salad is a tasty lunch option and a great change from a sandwich! It makes a great entree salad too, just add some grilled chicken or flank steak and dinner is done!