Here is my favorite Vegan Fiesta Quinoa Salad that is refreshing, delicious, and EASY! Made using sweet and tangy mangoes, creamy avocado’s and crunchy peppers with simple olive oil and fresh lime dressing, this healthy salad is packed with bright, vibrant flavors that will keep everyone asking for more.
I love that this festive salad is so versatile and you can substitute the ingredients based on what you have on hand. I simply make sure to add something sweet, tangy, and crunchy which not only adds amazing flavor and colors but also gives the salad toothsome texture.
Although this salad makes a yummy meal by itself, it also makes a great side dish that pairs well with many dishes. So go ahead and make this for your next lunch, dinner, or take it along for a potluck!
Before we get into this salad recipe, here is a little more on Quinoa. Quinoa can be precooked beforehand for this recipe. I love cooking quinoa for my meal preps and use it in salads, burgers, or truffles.
What is Quinoa
Quinoa is a gluten-free, nutrient-rich seed that is a whole grain carbohydrate and whole protein. It is considered a superfood that not only makes a great low-carb rice substitute but can also be used in making salads, shakes, and desserts.
“Quinoa – known as the “mother Grain’ in Sough American culture – dates back to the Incan Empire and is actually a seed, not a grain. Today, we enjoy quinoa for its great taste and nutritional properties. Quinoa is one of nature’s complete plant proteins. What this means is that quinoa contains essential amino acids in the right proportions to help support human nutritional needs”
Types of Quinoa
Quinoa is commonly sold in three colors – white/ivory, red and black. White quinoa has a fluffy post-cook texture, while red and black quinoa are known to keep more of their shape and color after cooking. Red quinoa has a heartier taste and chewier texture while black quinoa tastes somewhat crunchy and slightly sweeter than either red or white. White quinoa can also have a slightly muted, bitter taste. I usually buy organic white quinoa from Costco.
How to Cook Quinoa
Here is my easy Instant Pot Quinoa recipe to cook perfect quinoa each time. The recipe includes instructions for cooking quinoa pot in pot as well as cooking directly in the main pot. If you do not have a pressure cooker, quinoa can also be cooked on a stovetop with a 1:2 quinoa to water ratio.
Pro Tip – Rinse the quinoa 2 to 3 times and drain well to remove the slight bitter taste.
Cooked quinoa can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or you can also freeze it for extended shelf life.
I love to use a variety of vegetables and fruits in this fiesta quinoa salad. Although you can always substitute them based on seasonal availability and taste preference. For example, you can completely skip jalapenos if you do not like spicy salad. Here are my go-to ingredients for a balanced, colorful, and flavor-packed quinoa salad:
- Rinsed and drained black beans
- Sweet grape tomatoes
- Crunchy persian cucumbers
- Red onion
- Red Bell Pepper – Orange or yellow work great too
- Semi ripe mango
I like to use my Vidalia Chop Wizard to evenly dice the vegetables and no this is not a sponsored post. I just love that the veggies get cut evenly into smaller cubes which makes this salad not only visually appealing but fun to eat with each small piece nicely coated with the dressing. You can also chop all the veggies using a regular knife, just be sure to make smaller dice.
Homemade dressing for Quinoa Salad
To make the dressing simply whisk together extra virgin olive oil, salt, and fresh lime juice. Add freshly crushed black pepper or paprika to taste (photos 3 – 6).
Once you have the cooked quinoa, all the chopped vegetables, and dressing ready, simply layer over all the ingredients and mix well with the flavorful dressing (photos 7 – 10).
Enjoy at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator. Refrigerated Fiesta Quinoa salad can be enjoyed for 2 to 3 days, so ahead make a big batch today!
Our favorite recipes to pair this delicious salad:
- Masala Chicken Burgers
- Instant Pot Tandoori Chicken
- EASY Salmon Skewers
- Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps
- Indian Spiced Chicken Wings
- Crispy Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas
- Chicken Tinga Tacos
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Fiesta Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn thawed
- 1 cup grape tomatoes cut into small pieces
- 2 persian cucumbers peeled and diced
- 1 or 2 Jalapeños diced
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 1 red Bell Pepper diced
- 1 semi ripe mango peeled and diced
- 1 avocado diced
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 limes juiced
- black pepper or paprika to taste
- In a large bowl add the main ingredients.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, salt, lime juice, and black pepper or paprika.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix everything together to evenly coat the salad with the dressing.
- Enjoy at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator. Refrigerated Fiesta Quinoa salad can be enjoyed for 2 to 3 days, so ahead make a big batch today!