This fresh tasting, light Southwest Quinoa Salad is packed with fresh vegetables, black beans, corn, fresh lime, and cilantro. Serve with a crumble of tortilla chips for a little crunch.

Southwest Quinoa Salad [Vegan]

Cooking Time




For Homemade Tortilla Chips:

  • Corn tortillas
  • About 1 1/2 cups corn oil
  • Kosher or coarse ground sea salt

For the Southwest Quinoa Salad:

  • 12 oz frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups diced zucchini (2 small zucchinis)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 3-4 cups cooked quinoa, cold or at room temperature
  • 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro

For the Southwest Quinoa Salad Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup tomato based salsa, any kind


For the chips:

  1. Add the oil to a large, deep saucepan or frying pan and place over high heat. You want to heat the oil until a small piece of tortilla placed in the oil begins to sizzle immediately, about 350°F. Be careful to not allow the oil to get so hot that it smokes. If that happens, move the pan off the heat immediately and allow to cool down slightly before placing it back over the heat. Adjust the burner heat as necessary to maintain the temperature.
  2. While the oil is heating, cut each tortilla into 4 triangle shaped wedges.
  3. Line a baking sheet with a couple of layers of paper towels and have a small dish of salt near by.
  4. When the oil is hot, add a handful of tortilla wedges – enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but not so many that they are laying on top of each other. Fry the chips for 2-4 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.
  5. Using tongs, quickly remove the chips from the oil and onto the paper towel lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with some salt. Repeat with the remaining tortilla wedges.

For the Southwest Quinoa Salad

  1. Put the frozen corn in a colander placed in the sink. Run cool water over the corn to defrost slightly and separate the kernels. Let sit in the sink to drain.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the diced onion and sauté until just starting to brown.
  3. Add the zucchini and sauté for another minute or two, until crisp tender.
  4. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and corn. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and dump the mixture into a separate bowl. Stir in the black beans and quinoa, allow to cool to room temperature, then stir in the chopped cilantro. *While the mixture cools, make the dressing.

For the Southwest Quinoa Salad Dressing:

  1. In a medium size bowl, whisk the lime juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, in a thin steady stream, while whisking constantly. Whisk in the salsa. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or salsa if you like.

Assemble the Salad and Serve:

  1. When the quinoa salad has cooled to room temperature, toss with about 3/4 of the dressing. Taste to see if you want to add in the remaining dressing, or if it’s good as is. Serve with tortilla chips for crumbling over the salad.

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