This southwest quinoa salad makes for a perfectly healthy and filling lunch. The quinoa and black beans will fill you up with protein, and the tangy cilantro, lime, and jalapeño dressing will make you want to have this salad again and again.

Two bowls of Healthy Southwest Quinoa Salad with spicy cilantro lime dressing on them.

This Southwest Quinoa Black Bean Salad has been waiting a long time to be shared. No, don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that I have a bowl of rotting salad at the back of the fridge (that I’m aware of!) I had planned on sharing this recipe nearly a year ago, but instead I became distracted with changing careers and learning to live without added sugar, and I disappeared from the blogosphere for about 8 months. Well, I’m back now and still completely in love with this salad.

Like many things I make, I didn’t come up with this delicious salad myself. I discovered it one day on Making Thyme for Health. I’ve made a few small adjustments, (more dressing, please!) but the credit for this delicious combination of ingredients goes to Sarah.

Now, usually, I’m not a gal who loves tons of dressing on salads. I like to taste the dressing, sure, but I also really want to taste and enjoy the ingredients in the salad. But this spicy cilantro, lime, and jalapeño dressing is an exception. It’s lick-the-bowl good, and I would happily eat food that just tastes like the dressing and nothing else.

The dressing consistency is a cross between pesto and a vinaigrette. In my experience, it doesn’t blend to be super smooth or look the prettiest but I can deal with that. Why? Because I’m too busy licking the dressing off my spoon to worry about unattractive salad dressing.

A closeup of a spoonful of the cilantro, lime, and jalapeño dressing. The texture is thick, like a runny pesto.

I like to double the dressing but keep the proportions of the rest of the salad the same. That way I don’t have to hold back and can add as much of the dressing with all it’s cilantro lime goodness as I like.  After all, it’s mostly just cilantro, lime and jalapeño, there’s nothing unhealthy about that!

Now, this dressing does need to be accompanied by a salad, because as great as it tastes, it’s not very filling! So, it’s paired with quinoa, black beans, corn, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and more cilantro!

Two bowls of Healthy Southwest Quinoa Salad with cilantro lime dressing on them.

It’s totally okay to use plain cooked quinoa. The salad will not be ruined, so if you’ve got some sitting in your fridge, grab it and use it. Why wait to cook and cool some fresh quinoa if you don’t have to? Buuuuut….if you need to make some quinoa anyways, I recommend adding a little bit of extra flavor.

To start, I always toast my quinoa. Just add the uncooked quinoa to a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil, and set the heat to medium. Let the quinoa toast for about 5 minutes, stirring it every 30 seconds. Do not leave it alone! Toasting quinoa can easily turn into burning quinoa if you leave it alone. Not that I’ve ever accidentally made the entire house smell like burning quinoa or anything.

As the quinoa’s toasting, add in 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons chili powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Give it a stir. Then, after the quinoa smells aromatic and has been popping and crackling for a couple minutes, add in the water, or for more flavor, chicken broth. That would be 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. Then, proceed to cook your quinoa as per usual. Cover, and cook on high until it boils, then turn the heat off, and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the liquid is all absorbed.

Once the quinoa is cooked, you’ll want to let it cool unless you fancy a hot salad, which I wouldn’t recommend. Once cooled, mix together the quinoa, beans, vegetables, and delicious cilantro lime dressing.

Want to give this salad a try? Check out the recipe at Making Thyme for Health, and don’t forget to double the salad dressing! Or, if you’re looking for a different salad, you can check out my Chickpea Tuna and Kale Salad or this Apple Bacon Kale Salad.

Two bowls of Healthy Southwest Quinoa Salad without any dressing, but a jar of the spicy cilantro lime dressing in the background.

Two pictures of the Healthy Southwest Quinoa Salad