Balancing the Buttercream with Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad | ButtercreamBlondie.com

Time to switch things up around here!  Between blondies, cupcakes and an epic amount of ice cream, I thought it’d be a good time for a little balance.  After a full day of baking the last thing I want to do is spend hours prepping dinner so it’s got to be quick, it’s got to be fresh and satisfying.  I can assure you this Southwestern quinoa salad is all that and then some!  This super easy summer meal comes together in no time and it’s packed with so much flavor, it’s hard to believe it’s healthy!

You ever have those days that go something like this: “I could really go for Mexican tonight.  Yep, chips and salsa sound really good.  Maybe a taco.  Oh and guacamole, yeah definitely guacamole.” Well, this quinoa salad is my answer to that!  I tried to get all those big flavors that I love and crave into one bowl that I could throw together in a flash – no oven required.

So this all starts with quinoa.  Are you a fan?  It’s so easy to prepare, and although you can use water, I highly recommend making it with chicken stock.  It adds so much flavor.  While the quinoa is cooking, make the lime dressing.  This is going to add a wonderful brightness to the dish that makes it pop.  All that’s left to do is chop your veggies and cilantro, rinse and drain the black beans, and mix everything together.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the avocado right before you serve it.  It’s really good at this point, but if you put in the fridge for a bit and let everyone get to know each other, it’s beyond awesome!  Seriously, I wanted to dive right into the bowl!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad | ButtercreamBlondie.com

Both the quinoa and the beans make this dish really filling and the bell peppers add a nice crunch. The cherry tomatoes offer a sweetness sure to satisfy even me, and the cilantro is kind of like sprinkles tying it all together.  What can I tell you, this is just the way my mind works!  The other thing I love about this dish is you can customize it the way you like.  Add your favorite veggies, corn is a good one here.  Like a little heat?  Add a little jalapeno.  If you’re craving something cheesy, I suggest some cotija or goat cheese.  Any way you prepare it, this is a fabulous situation!  Enjoy and don’t forget the margaritas!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can(15 ounce) black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Lime Dressing
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (approx. 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lime

Instructions

    Prepare quinoa
  1. Rinse and drain quinoa well.
  2. Place quinoa and chicken stock in a saucepan and bring up to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low, pop a lid on it and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat, set aside and leave covered for five minutes.
  5. Transfer to a big mixing bowl & fluff with fork.
  6. Lime Dressing - Make this while the quinoa is cooking
  7. Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, zest and salt.
  8. Pour dressing over quinoa & toss to coat.
  9. Add in beans, chopped peppers, tomatoes and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Toss in cubed avocado just before serving.

Notes

You can easily swap out ingredients to suit your likes. Corn works really well in this salad.

If you like a little heat, add half a jalapeno pepper to this.

This is a great dish to bring to a party. Make it the night before so the flavors have time to come out.

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9 Responses to “Balancing the Buttercream with Southwestern Quinoa Salad”

  1. 1
    Liz says:

    I make a similar salad…so, so good! Have a great weekend, Meghan!

  2. 2

    I am a huge fan of southwest flavors, and am always looking for new quinoa dishes. Love all the big chunks of veggies in here!

  3. 3

    I love the “balancing the buttercream” idea! This salad is perfect!

  4. 4

    We eats lots of Mexican food on the weeknights! Love this healthy way to satisfy our cravings!

  5. 5

    I’m totally with you! This is a great, easy and fresh dinner after all the baking :)

  6. 6

    A perfectly delicious and healthy Southwest salad! Thanks for sharing, Meghan!

  7. 7
    Terra says:

    Today I had this crazy urge for sweet potatoes with black beans. Guess I need to balance things out too! Your salad looks beautiful and sounds delicious! I love that most could be picked up at my farmers market, YAY! Beautiful, Hugs, Terra

  8. 8
    Kristina says:

    Edited: I made this tonight with couscous instead of quinoa (because I had a whole bunch of cooked couscous that I needed to use up). Excellent!

  9. 9
    Jessie says:

    Looks delicious! How many servings is it? :)

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