This easy Southwest Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, and Avocado is the best quinoa salad. You will crave it. This salad is so easy to make and the homemade cilantro, lime, and yogurt dressing tastes good on everything. If you love these flavors, you may also love this Mexican Chopped Salad and Southwest Kale and Sweet Potato Salad.
I am on a quinoa salad kick and have been making huge salads almost every day for lunch. Usually, I fill them with whatever leftover veggies and protein we have in the fridge, but this Southwestern inspired one came out so good I had to recreate it and share it. Between the sweet corn, earthy black beans, creamy avocado, and the best cilantro dressing – it’s hard to find a better quinoa and bean salad. And I would know, I make them all the time.
Like many good recipes, this salad was born out of necessity. I was starving and staring at a fridge of leftovers that needed to be used ASAP. There was some leftover grilled corn on the cob, a half open can of black beans, some cooked quinoa, and an avocado within minutes of its life. I quickly began to throw these things together but then realized that I needed something to bring everything together. Enter my favorite creamy cilantro dressing.
This simple dressing was made for a Southwestern Quinoa salad like this one. It’s creamy, full of bright cilantro and lime flavors, and super easy to make. Everything goes into the blender and that’s it. You will have a delicious homemade cilantro dressing in just a couple of minutes. This dressing will keep in the fridge for 4-6 days so consider making a double or triple batch. You can also make it spicy by throwing in some jalapeno or chipotle peppers. So good if you like spice.
How to Meal Prep this Southwest Quinoa Salad
This is a great recipe for meal prep and I love making it for lunches on the go since it is really filling and satisfying. It never leaves me looking for a snack an hour after lunch. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when prepping this salad in advance.
- Dressing: Pack the dressing separately from the rest of the salad so that you can add it right before eating it. Sometimes if it is added in advance, it will thicken up and lose some of its creaminess.
- Avocado: It’s best to add the avocado right before eating so it doesn’t brown. You can store leftover avocado in the fridge. Just squeeze some lime juice over it to prevent extra browning. And if you notice your avocado has browned, you can always scrape off the top brown layer with a knife. Underneath it is usually nice and green.
- Extra protein: If you want to add some extra protein to the salad, consider adding some grilled chicken breast, shrimp, steak, or tofu. It’s also delicious with canned tuna or canned salmon if you want something that doesn’t take any extra prep time.
- Mix it up: If you get sick of eating the same thing after a couple of days, consider mixing things up by serving it different ways. Eat it as a salad one day. Then try it wrapped up in lettuce the next day for some quinoa lettuce wraps. Finish the week by adding it to a wrap with some sliced chicken or canned tuna.