Light, zesty, and Mexican-inspired: my Spicy Quinoa Salad 🥗 is the perfect compromise between enjoyment and nourishment!
This quinoa black bean salad is high in plant-based proteins (around 12 grams in just one serving), fiber, iron, and vitamin C. All are essential for strengthening our immune system and boosting our overall health!
Plus, this spicy quinoa salad recipe is truly foolproof. All you have to do is wash and prep all the ingredients. Bring the water to a boil, wait for the quinoa to absorb it, and then mix everything together. 👩🍳. And let’s not forget about the bomb Mexican-inspired dressing I came up with. A mixture of lime juice, cumin, and olive oil for a light yet super flavorful sauce! 🍋
Last but not least, you can totally meal prep this recipe in batches, and then eat it throughout the week. To be honest, I prefer this salad the day after I prep it, as all the flavors have enough time to perfectly melt together!
Ditch the boring salads: how to make a balanced and tasty spicy quinoa salad!
Salads often have a bad reputation for being boring and tasteless. Nothing is more false, if you know how to make them! Luckily, I have some simple hacks for you, which can be used for any recipe of your liking. Let’s have a look at all of them, using this Mexican quinoa salad as an example.
- Carbs + proteins + fats + veggies = a well-balanced salad
A good salad is a well-balanced salad! As such, it should contain all the macro and micro-nutrients our body needs to thrive. More specifically, we need a source of complex carbohydrates (here quinoa, even though it can be classified as a pseudo-cereal because of its relatively high protein content), lean proteins (plant protein sources here are chickpeas, black beans, and quinoa), and healthy fats (here olive oil, rich in antioxidants and vitamin E). In addition, there are lots of vitamins and minerals coming from the colorful veggies (here bell peppers and cherry tomatoes).
- The importance of a good dressing
A good dressing is essential for the success of our salad! In order to create that, we need to mix an oil component, here olive oil, with either a tangy one, such as lime juice, or a sweet one, like a balsamic vinegar. Then, we need to balance all the flavors with some salt and spices. In a few words, we need to find our own “dressing style”, a.k.a. the combination of flavors we love the most. Only after that, we will have the tools to tweak and change the basic ingredients of our “primary” sauce and create lots of different variations out of it.
- The right balance between different flavors
As explained above for the “perfect” sauce, the salad should also be based on the right combination of complementary flavors. In particular, I suggest combining earthy and salty ingredients (such as beans and quinoa) with sweeter ones (here cherry tomatoes and bell peppers). Then, add a spicy element (here the jalapenos), as well as an acidic one (as the lime juice). Optional, but highly suggested, is the use of some fresh herbs and spices (here I opted for cilantro, cumin, and black pepper). Here you have your perfect, tasteful salad!
- Opt for minimally-processed, whole ingredients
Another great tip for creating tasteful and nourishing salads (and any food for that matter) is to opt for minimally-processed, whole ingredients. The closer to their original form, the better. Green light to whole cereals, fresh fruits and veggies, beans, and nuts. These are not only healthier than processed foods but also qualitatively better. A great salad always starts from premium ingredients!
If you like this Mexican-inspired spicy quinoa salad, please consider checking also these “Healthfully Loaded” Mexican Street Corn Salad, Vegetarian Mexican Fajita Cornbread Casserole, and Zucchini Corn Fritters. And let’s connect on my socials! All the links are down below 💗
Spicy Quinoa SaladYum
- 2 cups Quinoa
- 4 cups Water
- ¼ cup Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Limes Juiced
- 1 1/2 cups Cherry tomatoes cut in halves
- 2 medium Red bell pepper cut into stripes
- 15 oz Black beans drained and rinsed
- 15 oz Chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp Ground cumin
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Jalapeno halved and sliced, seeds removed for a milder version
- ¼ cup Fresh cilantro chopped
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed for 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt together in a bowl.
- Combine the quinoa, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, chickpeas, black beans, and jalapenos together in a bowl.
- Pour the dressing over quinoa mixture and toss to coat.
- Stir in cilantro; season with salt and black pepper.
- Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.
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