Southwest Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing


Need a easy meatless meal, a healthy lunch box recipe, or perhaps a potluck or barbecue side that will fulfill? Look no further than this Southwest quinoa salad – it’s light enough for warmer months, yet fairly hearty.

This Southwest Quinoa Salad contains a summery vegetable blend with three types of fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, and a zesty lime dressing. It uses one special shortcut ingredient, too! Naturally dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan recipe.
The Southwest quinoa salad recipe and photo were shared with us by READ Salads.

I was immediately enamored by the summery array of fresh tomatoes in this dish, complimented by seasonal bell peppers and a zesty, bright, tangy and slightly spicy lime dressing. Not a fan of cilantro? Neither am I! If you find that herb too soapy, swap some fresh flat-leaf parsley or even oregano into this Southwest quinoa salad.

Both the grains and the beans in this Southwest quinoa salad provide a good dose of fiber and protein. But for an even heftier meal, add some leftover chopped chicken, baked tofu or tempeh, or quick-cooking shrimp.

Special Diet Notes: Southwest Quinoa Salad

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.

Beany Options: Note that this Southwest quinoa salad does use a premade Southwestern Bean Salad that does contain soy oil and may be problematic for some severe allergies (check with the company!). In a pinch, don’t hesitate to substitute in a 15-ounce can of “safe” lightly salted beans and a little chili powder or your favorite salsa, to taste. Alternately, you can make your own Bean Salad, which is amazing on its own or in all types of recipes!

Southwest Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
Southwest Quinoa Salad:
  • 1 15-ounce can READ Southwestern Bean Salad (see "Beany Options" in post above for subs)
  • ½ cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup chopped tomatillos
  • ½ cup thin bell pepper strips
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
Cilantro-Lime Dressing:
  • 1½ tablespoons neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon shredded lime peel
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  1. To make the salad, drain the bean salad and discard the liquid or save it for another use.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the bean salad, tomatoes, tomatillos and bell pepper.
  3. For the dressing, whisk together the oil, lime juice, peel and cayenne in a medium bowl. Stir in the cilantro. Add the quinoa and toss to coat.
  4. Add the quinoa to the bean salad mixture and stir gently to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


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