Southwest Quinoa Salad {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Option}

5 from 3 votes
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A healthy Southwest quinoa salad bursting with flavors from the tri-colored quinoa, avocados, black beans, corn, grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and a cilantro honey lime dressing. 

Gluten-Free Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Disclosure: Mama Knows Gluten Free received the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers. 

We lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for almost two years. It’s a beautiful city with cultural influences from the Native Americans and the Spanish. One thing that Santa Fe is known for is it’s Southwest cuisine. When creating this salad I tried to combine Southwestern ingredients in a fresh and new way.

Southwest Quinoa Salad
Thanks to I Heart Keenwah for partnering with Mama Knows Gluten Free on this Southwest Quinoa Salad recipe.

Gluten-Free Southwest Quinoa Salad

I have a love affair with avocados and cilantro. I knew that the combination of black beans, corn and tomatoes would complement the avocados. The addition of the mozzarella cheese alludes to the flavor of Queso Fresco (a very popular Mexican cheese) that is often sprinkled on top of dishes you find in the Southwest.

I knew I wanted to create a cilantro lime honey dressing to bring all the flavors of the salad together.  For the base of the salad, I used I Heart Keenwah‘s tricolor toasted quinoa. Not only does it have a toasted, nutty flavor, but the tricolor quinoa brings a beauty to the dish.

This healthy salad is perfect to make ahead for easy lunches or as a side dish for dinner.  I find that this salad even tastes better the next day because it allows the flavors to blend better. This quinoa salad is super easy to make and keeps well for days. I know you are going to love the Southwestern flavor combinations in this beautiful salad.

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5 from 3 votes

Southwest Quinoa Salad {Gluten-Free}

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Gluten-Free Southwestern Quinoa Salad
A healthy southwest salad bursting with flavors from the tri-colored quinoa,  avocados, black beans, corn, grape tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and a cilantro honey lime dressing.


  • 1 cup quinoa, I like I Heart Keenwah tri-colored
  • 1 avocado, ripe, but firm and diced
  • 1 cup canned black beans, , drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup  canned corn, , drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (I used cheese sticks), ,dairy-free leave out
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon cumin


Salad Dressing:

  • Chop the bunch of cilantro. I removed all stems and used my small food chopper.
  • In a small bowl add the olive oil, honey, lime juice, cumin, and salt. Stir to fully combine.
  • Add chopped cilantro to the salad dressing and stir.


  • Cook 1 cup of quinoa according to the package directions. Allow to cool.
  • Dice the avocado and quarter the grape tomatoes.
  • Drain the can of corn and the can of black beans. Rinse the black beans.
  • Slice mozzarella cheese.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Pour the cilantro honey lime dressing over the salad and stir to fully coat the salad.
  • You can serve immediately or refrigerate for later.
  • Enjoy!


Mama says, "Check all of your labels!"
Disclosure: Mama Knows Gluten Free received the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers. 
Did you make a recipe? Tag @mamaknowsglutenfree on InstagramFacebook  or @mamaknowsgf on Twitter! I would love to see what you created!


Serving: 1servingCalories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 8gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 175mgPotassium: 417mgFiber: 5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 365IUVitamin C: 7.3mgCalcium: 100mgIron: 2.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Tried this recipe?Mention @mamaknowsglutenfree or tag #mamaknowsglutenfree!



About Audrey Roberts

I'm Audrey Roberts, a busy mama of four and I love sharing the recipes that I make for my family. I make gluten-free family-friendly recipes that are simple and delicious that you can too! I use easy to find ingredients that won't break your budget. You will also find dairy-free options and Paleo recipes. I am also the author of The Everything Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Cookbook, which is an Amazon Best Selling Cookbook in the US and Internationally. Living gluten-free since 2010. I hope by me sharing my journey it may help you with yours.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This salad was wonderful. I had to bring something to an outdoor party some hours away, and I wanted something I could put on ice in the car. It travelled perfectly, and several folks asked me for the recipe. I omitted the cheese to make it dairy free.

    1. Hi Brandi! This recipe will make 8 servings. Thank you for asking. I will add it to the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

        1. Hi Kristen! I actually think this salad is even better the next day. You can definitely make this salad ahead of time and keep covered in the refrigerator. Just stir is a little before serving. I hope you enjoy it!