Southwest Quinoa Salad

This Southwest Quinoa Salad (sometimes called Tex-Mex Salad) is crowded with shredded chicken, quinoa, grilled corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, orange bell pepper, green onion, tortilla chips, toasted pecans and it’s all tossed in a delicious tangy Southwest Salad Dressing.  It’s guaranteed to be a hit with your whole family!

This Southwest Quinoa Salad has an incredible combination of flavors and healthy ingredients and it's all tossed in a delicious Southwest Salad Dressing

SOUTHWEST SALAD

This Southwest Salad is a big hearty healthy bowl of goodness and the Southwest Salad Dressing that it’s tossed in is completely addictive.  This easy quinoa salad is light and easy for warm summer nights, potlucks and backyard barbecues.

This Southwest Quinoa Salad has an incredible combination of flavors and healthy ingredients and it's all tossed in a delicious Southwest Salad Dressing

I typically serve this salad as a main course meal,  but, if you omit the chicken, it makes a great vegan main or serve it as a vegan quinoa salad to go with grilled chicken or fish.  This is one of those healthy summer salads you’ll want to make time and time again.  To make your meal complete, serve with wedges of watermelon and a pitcher of sweet tea.

SOUTHWEST CHICKEN SALAD

This southwest chicken salad has great Tex-Mex flavors your whole family will love!

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dried quinoa and 2 cups water)
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ears corn grilled and cut from the cob
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1/2 cup roasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed

In my opinion – this southwest chicken salad recipe is perfect “as-is”, but here are a few ideas if you want to switch things up a bit.

VARIATIONS

  • Go vegan and omit the shredded chicken
  • Use grilled chicken instead of rotisserie 
  • Swap out the quinoa for Romaine lettuce
  • Keep the quinoa and toss in some chopped Romaine lettuce or kale
  • Serve it in a wrap (lettuce or otherwise)
  • Add shredded cheese instead of toasted chopped pecans
  • Use pepitas instead of pecans
  • Add pico de gallo instead of chopped tomatoes
  • Top with guacamole instead of chopped avocado
  • Use purple onion instead of green
  • Add chopped mango
  • Go with either my Cilantro Lime Dressing or Avocado Citrus Vinaigrette instead of the southwest salad dressing
  • Drizzle extra bbq sauce over the salad

Now the only thing left to decide is – fork or spoon?

HOW TO MAKE SOUTHWEST SALAD

This southwest salad recipe comes together in about 30 minutes start-to-finish.

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package (1 cup rinsed quinoa added to 2 cups water). Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large Bowl combine chicken, quinoa, black beans, grilled corn, orange pepper, green onions, cilantro, avocado and tomatoes.
  3. Gently toss the salad to combine.
  4. Drizzle salad dressing on the salad and toss.
  5. Garnish with roasted pecans and tortilla chips.

SOUTHWEST SALAD DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I use Baby Rays)
  • 1/4 cup light extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

To make this amazing dressing, you’ll add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until well incorporated.  You can also add all of the ingredients to a mason jar, seal the lid tightly and shake until well blended.  Chill before serving

This Southwest Quinoa Salad has an incredible combination of flavors and healthy ingredients and it's all tossed in a delicious Southwest Salad Dressing

This Southwest Quinoa Salad has an incredible combination of flavors and healthy ingredients and it's all tossed in a delicious Southwest Salad Dressing

I could live on salads like this.  They’re abundant, substantial, flecked with color and have big bold flavors.  They hold your attention and leave you feeling satisfied.  This is a salad that you’ll want to make over and over again. It’s a perfect salad to prep ahead of time and store  in mason jars  for a grab and go lunch to take to work or school.

This Southwest Quinoa Salad has an incredible combination of flavors and healthy ingredients and it's all tossed in a delicious Southwest Salad Dressing

QUINOA SALAD RECIPES 

 

This Southwest Quinoa Salad has an incredible combination of flavors and healthy ingredients and it's all tossed in a delicious Southwest Salad Dressing
Yield: 4- 6 servings

Southwest Quinoa Salad with BBQ Vinaigrette

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

This Southwest Quinoa Salad is a big hearty healthy bowl of goodness and the Southwest Salad Dressing that it's tossed in is oh so addictive.  This easy quinoa salad is light and easy for warm summer nights, potlucks and backyard barbecues.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dried quinoa and 2 cups water)
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ears corn grilled and cut from the cob
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1/2 cup roasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
  • For the BBQ Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I use Baby Rays)
  • 1/4 cup light extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa according to package (1 cup rinsed quinoa added to 2 cups water). Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large Bowl combine chicken, quinoa, black beans, grilled corn, orange pepper, green onions, cilantro, avocado and tomatoes.
  3. Gently toss the salad to combine.
  4. Drizzle salad dressing on the salad
  5. Garnish with roasted pecans and tortilla chips

For the Southwest Salad Dressing

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until well incorporated.
  2. Refrigerate before serving

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