This Southwest Quinoa Salad recipe (aka Quinoa 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 entire family!

bowl of southwest quinoa salad

I love everything about this Southwest Quinoa Salad! It’s a big hearty bowl of goodness and the Southwest Salad Dressing is completely addictive.  It’s an easy quinoa salad recipe to pull together for warm summer nights, potlucks and backyard barbecues.

bowls of quinoa salad

I typically serve this Southwest Quinoa Salad as a main course meal. If you leave out 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 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 Quinoa Salad Recipe

This Southwest Quinoa Salad has great Tex-Mex flavors your whole family will love!

  • Quinoa.  We use tri color quinoa for this recipe. Quinoa is rich with antioxidants and ant-inflammatory compounds (quercetin and kaempfero). It’s a complete source of protein, providing 8-9 grams of protein per cooked cup. It’s one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat, making it an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, weight loss diets or anyone wanting to add more plant protein to their diet. It’s also a good source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, iron, manganese and magnesium.
  • Cooked Chicken – You can use store-bought rotisserie chicken or grilled, baked or poached chicken to add to this recipe.
  • Black Beans – Canned black beans adds a lot of flavor and protein to this salad.
  • Grilled Corn – What would a Southwest salad be without corn. We use fresh corn, but you can also use frozen or canned. It’s not necessary for the corn to be grilled to still taste great.
  • Vegetables – Added orange bell pepper, green onions, avocado and cherry tomatoes add a lot of fresh flavor to this salad.
  • Cilantro – Fresh cilantro adds a bright pop of flavor to this salad.
  • Nuts and Chips – Pecans and tortilla chips adds a nice crunchy texture to this salad.
  • Dressing – the Southwest dressing we use for this salad is so tasty and easy to make!

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

Variations

In my opinion – this Quinoa Tex Mex Salad is perfect “as-is”, but here are a few ideas if you want to switch things up a bit.

  • Go vegan and omit the shredded chicken
  • Use grilled chicken instead of rotisserie 
  • 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 Salad Dressing 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 Quinoa Salad

This Quinoa Tex Mex salad recipe comes together in about 30 minutes start-to-finish.

  1. Cook Quinoa – This is my recipe for how to make quinoa. I always use 1 cup dried tri color quinoa (rinsed) to 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then put lid on pot and reduce heat to low simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes then remove from heat. Set aside for 20 minutes for all of the liquid to evaporate before fluffing quinoa. This waiting for 20 minutes after cooking quinoa will give you light fluffy quinoa.
  2. Whisk dressing – Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl or add everything to a mason jar, seal the lid, and shake well.
  3. Prep Ingredients – 
  4. Toss Ingredients –  Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, except toasted pecans and tortilla chops, and toss.
  5. Dress Salad – Drizzle dressing in salad and toss.
  6. Garnish – Garnish salad with toasted pecans and broken tortilla chips.

Southwest Salad Dressing

  • Barbecue sauce (I use Baby Rays)
  • Avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Honey
  • 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

bowl of quinoa salad ingredients

bowl of quinoa chicken salad

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.

bowl of quinoa chicken salad

Looking for more quinoa salad recipes? 

Want more ideas? Check out all my healthy salad recipes.

bowl of Southwest Quinoa Salad
Yield: 4- 6 servings

Southwest Quinoa Salad

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

This Southwest Quinoa Salad recipe  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 entire family!

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 Southwest Salad Dressing

  • 1/4 cup barbecue 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

Notes

Variations

In my opinion - this Southwest Quinoa Salad recipe is perfect "as-is", but here are a few ideas if you want to switch things up a bit.

  • Go vegan and omit the shredded chicken
  • Use grilled chicken instead of rotisserie 
  • 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

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 438mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 6gSugar: 8gProtein: 22g

theharvestkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate information, however, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations.