Southwest Quinoa Salad is an easy quinoa salad recipe made with avocado, black beans, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and a simple olive oil based dressing.  
Do you love quinoa recipes?  If so, you are in the right place!  You should definitely check out this Thai Quinoa Salad, and my all-time favorite Quinoa Veggie Burger.
A wooden bowl full of Quinoa Salad with avocados, tomatoes, black beans, cilantro and green onion.
Southwest Quinoa Salad

I have to give full credit for this recipe to my friend, Alison Linthorst! She made this for a bridal shower she threw for my sister (several years ago), where I fell in love with it and now make it all the time. I love the fresh ingredients and flavors, and how simple and healthy it is!

What is quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-whah”) is a seed that is also considered a whole grain.  It’s gained a lot of popularity in the last several years as an alternative to rice or brown rice.  Quinoa is a gluten free seed that is high in protein and fiber and, like rice, is very versatile in terms of what you can serve it with.

Quinoa is cooked similarly to rice, with 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or liquid, simmering covered in a saucepan for about 15-20 minutes. Also just like with rice it’s important to wash the quinoa before hand, to remove the outer coating on the grain.

I always cook my quinoa in vegetable broth or chicken broth to add an extra boost of flavor. You can also toast the quinoa in a tiny bit of olive oil before cooking it, to add flavor.

Side by side photos of uncooked quinoa in a measuring cup and a bowl of cooked quinoa.

Is quinoa salad healthy?

Quinoa is protein-rich and has lots of fiber and iron. It’s also gluten-free which makes it a great choice for people with gluten intolerance or simply looking for a gluten free quinoa recipe!  Quinoa salad is a popular choice among vegans and vegetarians.

Quinoa is a great alternative to rice and a fun way to mix up your meals. The ingredients in this quinoa salad are fresh and healthy and absolutely delicious; a win-win in my book!

Ingredients in quinoa salad:
  • Quinoa
  • Vegetable broth
  • Black beans
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Limes
  • Cumin
  • Red Pepper Flakes

Overhead photo of a bowl with the ingredients for quinoa salad, including cooked quinoa, chopped avocado, black beans, tomatoes, onion and dressing on the side.

How to make quinoa salad:
  • Cook quinoa.  Cook according to package directions, substituting chicken broth for water. Once cooked, allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Combine ingredients. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add black beans, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and avocado.
  • Prepare the dressing. In another bowl whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes.
  • Toss together. Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture, season it with salt and pepper to taste and serve or refrigerate for later. This salad keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days.
How long does quinoa salad last?

This quinoa salad is best eaten the same day it’s made, but can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.  While the lime juice in the dressing will help the avocado stay fresh for a few hours, eventually the avocados will start to brown.  If you’d like to make the salad in advance, don’t add the avocados until serving, that way it will stay fresh for 2-3 days in the fridge.

How to make quinoa salad a main dish:

If you would like to serve this quinoa salad as a main dish, and it seems like it needs something to make it more hearty, you can definitely add some more protein.  I love to add grilled chicken, shrimp, and mango!

Overhead photo of southwest quinoa salad on a white marble board with cilantro leaves on the side.

Check out my other salad recipes!  Some of my favorites include:

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Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes
Save Recipe


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth , chicken broth, or water
  • 15 ounce can black beans , drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes , halved
  • 5 green onions , chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro , chopped
  • 1 avocados , chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of red pepper flakes


  • Cook quinoa and vegetable broth according to package directions. Once cooked, let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add to the bowl black beans, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and avocado.
  • In another bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients: olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes.
  • Pour dressing over salad and stir gently to combine. Serve or refrigerate for later.

Macros Recipe Adaptation

Add 2 lbs raw boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Per Serving Amount

260.6 grams


388kcal, Fat: 15g, Carbs: 31g, Protein: 35g (serves 7) | MFP: Southwest Quinoa Salad (TBFS Macros)


Calories: 341kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 11gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 15mgPotassium: 682mgFiber: 10gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 375IUVitamin C: 13.9mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 3.6mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this the other night with a few modifications. I didn’t have enough quinoa on hand so I used couscous and we added grilled chicken. It was delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    I served this at our Memorial Day lunch yesterday with some vegetarian guests. It was one of the first things gone and everyone asked for the recipe. Thanks!

    1. Hi Mike,
      The salad lasts well in the refrigerator but I would wait to add the avocados until you are ready to serve!

  3. Yummy! My sister, Cortney, LOVES LOVES LOVES salads like this! I’m for sure passing this recipe on to her too!! Thanks lady!

  4. I have had this, and I can personally vouch that is is like the most amazing quinoa salad… EVER!

  5. Is the quinoa measured before cooking it? I used 1 cup prepared quinoa and it didn’t seem like enough.