Mexican Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

This healthy Mexican Quinoa Salad is a quick, easy, and gloriously make-ahead dish! Tossed in a speedy homemade chili lime dressing, this fiesta quinoa bowl is full of flavor!

Mexican Quinoa Salad Bowl

This post could go one of two ways.

I could bore you with the tale of how I’ve been making this particular recipe for 8+ years and love it with a fiery passion *or* I can just get to the details, dietary swaps, and recipe and let you make this deliciousness for yourself.

Let’s go with the latter, mmkay?

Fiesta Quinoa Salad for everyone!!!

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

special diets, swaps, and shenanigans

This Mexican Quinoa Salad features a medley of bell peppers, tomatoes, jalapeños, black beans, corn, cilantro, and onion.

In a perfect world you’d add every single ingredient and call it a day. A really delicious day.

However, if you don’t have any onions handy or just cannot imagine scarfing this salad without adding chopped olives or some other ingredient that causes me to run and hide under the bed… so be it. Just know that, as written, it’s pretty darn phenomenal.

Also, if you’re reading this and like “GAHHH! JENN! I don’t have any quinoa!” that’s okay too. Rice will totally work in place of quinoa and I bet some tender orzo pasta would work as well!

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

Serving a crowd? Feel free to double or triple the recipe as needed! Only need a little? You can easily cut the measurements below in half.

I’m pretty head-over-heels in the love with the leftovers and look forward to them the next day or two! In fact, this chilled quinoa salad is a fantastic make-ahead dish to pack in lunches for work or school, making it a meal prep rockstar! Since it’s served chilled you won’t even have to worry about reheating it the next day. Just grab a fork and dive in!

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

This healthy Mexican Quinoa Salad is a quick, easy, and gloriously make-ahead dish! Tossed in a speedy homemade chili lime dressing, this fiesta quinoa bowl is full of flavor!
5 from 21 votes
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Mexican Quinoa Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Jenn Laughlin – Peas and Crayons


  • 1.5 cups quinoa
  • 2 + 1/4 cups water
  • 1-2 bell peppers (any color)
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2-1 cup finely chopped onion (red or white)
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro or scallions


  • cup avocado oil
  • 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP lime juice plus extra to taste
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt or season to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper


  • First rinse and drain your quinoa using a mesh strainer or sieve.
  • Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat and lightly toast the quinoa to remove any excess water. Stir as it toasts for just a few minutes. This step is optional but really adds to the nuttiness and fluff factor of the quinoa!
  • Next add water, set burner at high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for 12-13 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy and the liquid has been absorbed.
  • While the quinoa cooks, chop and prep your veggies and cilantro. Drain and rinse beans if using canned. Whisk together your dressing ingredients.
  • Snag your now-fluffy quinoa from the pot and give it a little fluff with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and dressing and mix well. Refrigerate to cool quinoa and allow flavors to mingle and amplify, approx. 1-2 hours or more. Enjoy chilled and feel free to add any additional seasoning, veggies, or lime juice to taste!


Adjust dressing acidity to taste by adding more lime juice to the mix or mellow it down a bit by swapping some of the vinegar for additional lime juice. You can kind of mix and match and play around here to find your perfect combo.
Feel free to add as many veggies to this salad as you’d like! In addition to the veggies above, you can also add sliced black olives, avocado, jalapeños, and more!
Leftover Black Bean Salsa or Chipotle Corn Salsa makes an awesome add-on to this salad.
Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!


Calories: 290kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 83mg, Potassium: 499mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 905IU, Vitamin C: 25.8mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 2.7mg
Mexican Quinoa Salad

hungry for more?

If you’re craving another Tex-Mex salad recipe, check out my Mexican Kale Salad with Zesty Cilantro Lime Dressing or my fiesta-inspired Breakfast Salad featuring black beans, sweet potato, and a fried egg.

This quinoa salad makes a perfect side dish to serve with Bell Pepper Tacos or alongside a cheesy slice of Mexican Pizza Lasagna. YUM!

If you get a chance to try this tasty chilled Mexican Quinoa Salad recipe, let me know!

Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation! I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

Jenn Laughlin Headshot Photo - About the Author
About The Author:

Jenn Laughlin

Jenn Laughlin created Peas and Crayons in 2009 after graduating with B.S. in Dietetics from Florida State University and working as a Nutrition Educator for WIC. The goal was simple: create and share delicious tested and perfected recipes with vegetables as the star!

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Recipe Rating

Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I started making this for meal prep for my lunches throughout the week, and this recipe is perfection! Thank you for sharing your creation!

  2. 5 stars
    This was truly epic! It reminds me of a salad I bought in M&S here in the UK, but the home-made (and much fore affordable) version. I love that it’s so zingy and colorful and that dressing is amazing 🤤🤤 Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Thank you Paula! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the salad and love that it reminds you of one of your favorites!

  3. 5 stars
    I have made this several times and everyone loves it, even those who are hesitant about quinoa. This is delicious and can be eaten as a side dish or all by itself as it is packed with complete plant-based protein.

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely heavenly. I honestly was unsure of how this would turn out and never had a cold quinoa dish before and it was excellent. The serving sizes are huge which is a plus. The flavors are spot-on follow the recipe to a T definitely will make over and over again. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Love how simple and nutritious this is! Perfect for a hot summer day when nothing sounds good. Thank you!
    Also, kid and husband approved! And lots of left overs for lunch! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    LOVE A GOOD QUINOA BOWL!!! Everything here looks so fresh and delicious and that Chili Lime dressing, YUM

  7. 5 stars
    We really enjoyed this. I especially love the dressing. I only had Chipotle chili pepper, and it gave the dressing a delicious smokey flavor. I’ve made some extra dressing and will add some chicken thighs to this for supper tonight. I also plan to add avocado for a little creaminess.
    Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Ooh love the chipotle zing you added to the dressing and avocado sounds like the perfect add-on! Thanks Kaycee!

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious! I am adding this to my meal prep rotation. I loved the different textures and the Chili Lime Dressing is the best! I will probably use this on other recipes as well!! I meal prep a chicken dish that could benefit from the dressing!

    1. Hi Kim! Each serving is a heaping cup or 1 + 1/4 cups. You’ll end up with 4.5 cups cooked quinoa and, based on veggies and mix-ins added, 5-6 cups veggies. We’re in love with the leftovers, which should keep approx. 4-5 days.

  9. 5 stars
    This salad is all my favorite things in one bowl! And I love that quinoa salad can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Perfect for busy days!

  10. 5 stars
    Loved this so much! Great alternative to the usual side of rice that my picky 2 yr old always requests! And it was just as good on day 2&3. Thank you Jenn for this easy peasy & healthy recipe!!!

    1. I’m so super stoked y’all enjoyed the salad! When you texted me the photo of E eating it I was happy dancing all over the place! xoxo