Skip to main content

This Mexican quinoa salad with chili lime vinaigrette is perfect for a simple dinner or a family get together.

Mexican Quinoa Salad in a Wooden Bowl

Mexican quinoa salad is a fan favorite around here. It’s zesty, healthy and delicious. You can even make it ahead as a meal prep item.

I am a huge fan of quinoa! Not only is it quick to make, but it can make a dish a complete meal.  It is high in protein and carbohydrates so really all you need are some flavor blasts and you’re good to go.

Quinoa is perfect for soaking up flavor too! My favorite way to prepare it is to cook it in chicken stock to boost it’s flavor, then I dress it with a tangy, acidic dressing.

I also love making it the star of a dish in recipes like my friend’s quinoa chili or this quinoa tabouli.

Scared to try quinoa?  Here are some common questions about how to cook it to ease your worries.

Are you supposed to wash quinoa before cooking it?

You want to rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer before cooking to remove the natural coating that may cause bitterness.

How long does quinoa take to cook?

Typically quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook.  To make quinoa, simply wash the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, follow a 1-2 ratio of quinoa to water or broth, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cover for 15 minutes.

uncooked quinoa in a bowl and cooked quinoa in a bowl

How do you make quinoa taste good?

Quinoa can sometimes have a bitter taste.  You will want to wash the quinoa before cooking.  I like to cook it in a flavorful broth (since it soaks up flavor while cooking) like chicken broth.

After the quinoa is cooked, dress it with an acidic dressing or mix in some fresh herbs or spices and it will taste fantastic!  It is like a blank canvas and absorbs flavors very easily so mix it up and be creative.

Why is my quinoa mushy?

This is the most common complaint when cooking quinoa.

If your quinoa is mushy, you are overcooking it or adding too much water. Simply lower the amount of water by a couple tablespoons and cook it a little less and it should turn out fluffy and delicious!

What kind of quinoa should I use?

There are many types of quinoa like white, red, or black.  They even mix them together which normally is called a tricolor quinoa.

I prefer the white for its nutty, yet clean flavor, but you can use any kind you like.

Mexican Quinoa Salad Recipe:

quinoa salad in a brown bowl
Yield: 5

Mexican Quinoa Salad With Chili Lime Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This quinoa salad is perfect for a side or an entree. It's light, healthy, tangy and delicious.


  • 2 Cups Quinoa
  • 4 Cups Chicken Stock
  • ½ Cup Bell Pepper, Diced
  • ½ Cup Frozen Corn, Thawed
  • ½ Cup Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
  • ¼ Cup Red Onion, Diced Small
  • 2 Cups Fresh Spinach, Roughly Chopped
  • 1 Avocado, Diced
  • ¼ Cup Cotija Cheese, Crumbled
  • ½ Teaspoon Real Salt

For The Dressing:

  • ⅓ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • Zest of 3 Limes
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • ½ Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Cumin


    1. Rise the quinoa under cold water in a fine mesh strainer. Cook the quinoa according to package directions (use chicken stock instead of water). Let cool slightly.
    2. Place the quinoa in your serving bowl, along with the rest of the ingredients.
    3. Place the dressing ingredients in a small mason jar, seal and shake to combine.
    4. Toss the quinoa mixture with the dressing and serve with a choice of side.


You can serve warm or cold.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 421Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 757mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 9gSugar: 10gProtein: 13g
Looking for some other salad recipes to add to your collection. This Cranberry Chicken Salad is divine, or if an appetizer is more of your style: Chicken Spinach Dip Wheels.

Skip to Recipe