This simple Mexican Quinoa Salad can be enjoyed as a main dish, or it can be served alongside your favorite Tex-Mex entrees.
Written by: Allison of Some the Wiser
Creating This Mexican Quinoa Salad Recipe
I love food and I love to cook, though I haven’t always been very adventurous in the kitchen. I have been a regular stalker of food blogs, I love to try new recipes and unusual ingredients, and I read cookbooks cover to cover like novels. But until very recently, I didn’t dare deviate from a recipe.
I think my cautious cooking ways may have began when I was eight-years-old and I hatched a plan for an original Mother’s Day breakfast surprise. My creation involved green grapes, yogurt, and lettuce. It was a surprise alright, just not an edible one. After that, I stuck to recipes.
For the most part, things have run smoothly in the kitchen with recipes and I have served meals, not science experiments, that are met with smiles at the table. But now I have three kids and that has changed everything.
As a single mother working from home, I have to make a deliberate effort to accomplish the things on my daily to-do lists while making sure my children are always at the top of the priority list.
Sometimes, getting to the grocery store doesn’t make it onto the schedule. When I haven’t been able to round up all the ingredients for specific recipes, I have, of necessity, learned to improvise.
And that’s how this Mexican sweet potato quinoa salad recipe was born. At the end of a long week, I found myself an hour from dinnertime, with only some of the ingredients for all of the recipes I wanted to make. But I had quinoa, and I had sweet potatoes, and I was craving that Mexican flavor.
I can’t tell you that I have completely recovered from my childhood kitchen trauma, but I can assure you that this delicious recipe is no science experiment. You will find it enjoyably edible!
Mexican Quinoa Salad Ingredients
To make this Mexican-style quinoa salad, you’ll need the following simple ingredients:
- Sweet potatoes
- Red bell pepper
- Green onions
- Black olives
- Olive oil
- Lime juice
- Chili powder
- Fresh cilantro
- Cherry tomatoes
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
How to Make Mexican Quinoa Salad
This easy quinoa salad comes together in about 30 minutes. Here’s how it’s made:
- Add quinoa, salt, and water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until the grain is tender.
- Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and dice into 1/2-inch pieces. Cover with water in a medium saucepan, add a pinch of salt, and bring to boil. Cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes.
- Toss together the cooked sweet potatoes, quinoa, bell pepper, onion, olive, avocado, and cilantro.
- Whisk the oil, lime juice, and chili powder together, then toss the salad with the mixture.
- Garnish with cilantro and grape tomatoes.
The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Tips for Making this Recipe
Did you know you can quickly cook quinoa in an Instant Pot when you’re preparing this recipe for Mexican Quinoa Salad? Head over to my post: How to Make Quinoa in the Instant Pot for all the details!
What to Serve with Mexican Quinoa Salad
Enjoy this sweet potato quinoa salad as a main or a side dish. If eating as a main dish, I like to serve it with tortilla chips for scooping.
If enjoying as a side salad, pair it with one of the following Mexican entrees:
- Chicken, Black Bean, and Spinach Enchiladas
- CrockPot Mexican Chicken
- Chicken Tacos
- Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Baked Chicken Taquitos
Don’t see what you’re looking for here? You can always head over to check out the recipe index to look for more recipes.
Can This Recipe Be Prepared in Advance?
Yes! This is a great make-ahead salad for busy weeknights. The avocado will turn brown over time, but it’s still safe to eat.
The Mexican quinoa salad will last up to four days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container.
Can I Add a Protein to the Salad?
Of course! Pre-cooked chicken, pork, or even shrimp would be a wonderful addition to the salad.
What Readers Are Saying
“I’ve been making variations of this salad for three years now and it’s a hit every single time. It’s become a staple dish for us now, and I’m even asked to make it for family lunches and events.” — Francine
“I spontaneously tried this recipe. I just stocked the fridge with a bunch of healthy goodies. This dish is amazing!!!! It will definitely be a staple at my dinner table.” — Toi
“I made this on the weekend, and WOW. I already love quinoa, but this salad is amazing! It was even more flavorful the next day.” — Rhonda
“Really yummy! I brought it to a family gathering, a set of people I didn’t think would be overly keen on my bringing something outside their comfort zone, but they loved it.” — Tracy
“I just made this to pack for lunch tomorrow – it’s truly delicious and pretty easy to put together. Pretty, too.” — Becca
More Quinoa Salad Ideas:
This Pineapple Chicken Quinoa Salad is easy to make, especially if you have rotisserie or canned chicken on hand. It’s also hearty enough to keep the hunger pangs at bay for the rest of the day
Asparagus Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette is a quick and easy salad made with fresh asparagus and quinoa tossed with a flavorful tarragon-mustard vinaigrette.
Fuel up and support heart health with this Spinach Chicken Salad Quinoa Bowl with Creamy Almond White Balsamic Dressing.
Quinoa “Taco” Salad has all the flavor and protein of a regular taco salad, but is so much healthier.
Rainbow Winter Quinoa Salad Bowls with Maple Dijon Balsamic Dressing feature lots of delicious winter produce and hearty quinoa for a filling, satisfying meal.
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- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, and diced
- 3 tablespoons minced green onion
- 1 cup sliced black olives
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or to taste)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes for garnish
- freshly ground pepper
- Combine quinoa with a large pinch of salt and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until the grain is tender. If there is some water remaining, carefully strain the quinoa. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and dice into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Cover with water in a medium saucepan, add a pinch of salt, and bring to boil. Cook until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Drain well and cool slightly.
- Toss together the potatoes, quinoa, bell pepper, onion, olive, avocado, and cilantro. Whisk the oil, lime juice, and chili powder together then toss the salad with the mixture. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasonings. Garnish with cilantro and grape tomatoes. Serve warm with tortilla chips.
Note: If you have a baby, six months or older, at home, this makes delicious baby food too! Reserve a small portion of cooked quinoa and cooked sweet potatoes. Puree with one or two tablespoons of milk and serve.
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 309Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 0mgSodium 285mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 7gSugar 4gProtein 6g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.