Southwest Quinoa Salad

5 from 60 votes

Made with roasted sweet potatoes, corn and black beans, this Southwest quinoa salad is vegan and gluten free, and hearty with 28g protein/ser

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Loaded with fresh and healthy ingredients, this vegan Southwest quinoa salad is all kinds of delicious. Made with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and avocado, it’s fresh, zingy and full of flavor.

Southwest quinoa salad in a large bowl
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Ingredients & substitutions

  • Olive oil: Used for roasting the potatoes and also to dress the salad. Feel free to substitute with avocado oil.
  • Quinoa: Use tri-color quinoa for this recipe for extra, which is a mix of white, black and red quinoa. It has a great mix of textures and flavors. You can use also use white quinoa.
  • Sweet potatoes: Peel and cube the sweet potatoes, season and roast them. Roasting really brings out the natural sweet flavor.
  • Black Beans: Drain and rinse the beans well before using. Black beans work well in this recipe, but you can switch out to red kidney beans.
  • Corn: You can use frozen, canned or fresh corn off the kernels for this salad.
  • Vegetables: Bell pepper, red onions and avocado.
  • Lime juice: No Southwest salad is complete without lime juice. Use fresh rather than bottled for the best flavor.
  • Seasonings: Salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper and fresh cilantro.
Ingredients to make the recipe

How to make southwest quinoa salad

Cook the sweet potatoes

  • Peel and chop the potatoes, season and place on a lined baking sheet.
  • Roast until golden brown.
2 image collage of sweet potatoes before and after baking

Cook quinoa and assemble the salad

  • Simmer the quinoa until cooked. Let sit and fluff.
  • Add all of the salad ingredients to the quinoa.
  • Combine and season to taste.
3 image collage of assembling the salad, first with the quinoa, then the vegetables and the tossing everything together

Tips for making the salad recipe

  1. Be sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking. Quinoa has a natural casing that can taste bitter and soapy. Rinse it in a fine mesh sieve until the water runs clear.
  2. Toast you quinoa before adding the liquid. This helps to bring out the natural nutty flavors for a really delicious dish.
  3. Dice the sweet potato into small cubes. This will cut down on cooking time. Cut them into similar sizes so that they cook evenly.
  4. Add in some shredded chicken or chickpeas for a fuller meal. This Southwest quinoa salad is filling as it is with 28g of protein, but you can easily add in some extra protein if you like.

Frequently asked questions

Do you serve it warm or cold?

This quinoa salad is delicious served as soon as you’ve made it so that the quinoa and sweet potatoes are still warm, or, you can make it ahead of time and serve chilled.

How long does it keep?

If you want to make this more than a day or two ahead of time, it’s best to leave the avocado out, as this will start to brown. Without the avocado, it will keep well covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

What do you serve it with?

You can easily enjoy this Southwest quinoa salad as it is as a lunch, or spoon it over some fresh greens like spinach, lettuce or arugula. It makes a great side too to accompany grilled chicken or salmon.

Close up shot of Southwest quinoa salad with avocado next to it

This Southwest quinoa salad is so easy to make and bursting with fresh flavors. It makes for a great vegan main dish, or a delicious accompaniment to a main meal. However you serve it, you’re going to love it.

More salads to try:

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Southwest Quinoa Salad

Made with roasted sweet potatoes, corn and black beans, this Southwest quinoa salad is vegan and gluten free, and hearty with 28g protein/ser
5 from 60 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Salad
Calories 628
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
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  • 3 ½ tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 cup uncooked tri-color quinoa rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag frozen corn thawed
  • 1 bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and diced
  • ¼ red onion finely chopped
  • 1 avocado pitted and chopped
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro


Roast sweet potatoes

  • Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sweet potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, ½ teaspoon salt, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper. Arrange on prepared sheet and roast until golden brown, 25-30 minutes, mixing potatoes halfway through.

Cook quinoa

  • Heat ½ tablespoon oil in a medium save pot over medium high heat. Add quinoa and toast until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 ¾ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and reduce to a gentle simmer and cover.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, remove from heat (while keeping the pot covered) and let stand for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff and keep warm.

Assemble Salad

  • To pot of cooked quinoa, add roasted sweet potatoes, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, beans, corn, pepper, red onion, avocado, lime juice, zest, and fresh cilantro.
  • Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Mix and serve immediately or let cool and serve chilled.


Storage: Store covered in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Without avocado, it will keep well for up to 4.


Calories: 628kcal, Carbohydrates: 93g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Sodium: 865mg, Potassium: 1518mg, Fiber: 21g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 17283IU, Vitamin C: 60mg, Calcium: 119mg, Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Salad

5 from 60 votes (48 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Susan says:

    Delicious, colorful, and so healthy! I will be doubling this recipe next time. Thank you for a great vegetarian & GF dish!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yay! So happy you liked it, Susan!!

  2. Sally Frenette says:

    This is delicious!

    1. Yumna says:

      Thank you so much!

  3. Cheri Moore says:

    Hands down, this is one of the tastiest salads I’ve had in a very long time and my husband is in total agreement as well! Thank you Yumna!

  4. Margot says:

    This quinoa salad looks wonderful. Is the 829 calories per serving? Or is that the entire recipe?


    1. Yumna says:

      Hi there, thanks for flagging this I noticed the nutrition facts were a bit off so I adjusted them to properly reflect the recipe. That said, the listing is for one serving. Hope this helps!

  5. Annie says:

    Sooooo good!

    1. Yumna says:

      So happy you enjoyed it!

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