Protein-Packed Salad

This Southwest-inspired quinoa salad is loaded with protein, fiber, color, and flavor. It’s the perfect make-ahead salad that can be paired with chicken, fish, shrimp, or lean beef. It stores well and tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro


  1. To cook the quinoa, rinse first in a fine mesh sieve under running water for 30 seconds. Next, transfer the drained quinoa to a small saucepan and add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 13-15 minutes covered. Tilt the pan to the side to notice if there is any water still pooling at the bottom of the pan. You’ll want most of this to be absorbed before turning off the heat. Remove pan from heat and let sit for another 5 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and salt in a bowl or place these ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until well combined. Set aside.
  3. When the quinoa is done cooking, transfer to a large bowl and toss together with the dressing, chopped pepper, tomatoes, corn, green onions, and black beans until dressing is evenly distributed. Taste and adjust seasonings, then garnish with cilantro.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Lisa Markley, MS, RDN, LD

About the Recipe Author

Lisa Markley, MS, RDN, LD, is an integrative dietitian culinary nutrition expert with nearly two decades of experience working towards improving the health of others. She is passionate about educating others how to harness the healing power of food and healthful lifestyle changes.