Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

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Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Today’s recipe was inspired by a recipe for Southwestern Pasta Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing that I pinned a while back. Those tastes and colors looked too good pass up! But if you’re a long-time reader, you know that I like to put quinoa in pretty much everything. So I decided to modify the recipe by making it into a quinoa salad instead.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

The result is a beautiful salad made up of fresh Southwestern ingredients: creamy avocado, plump grape tomatoes, lively corn and orange bell peppers, protein-packed black beans (and quinoa!), refreshing cucumber, zesty lime, and of course, lots of cilantro (fresh coriander).

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

The dressing is so thick and creamy, you could also use it as a dip. I can just imagine digging some corn chips in there. Mmm..!

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

My Modifications to the Original Recipe

  • I replaced the pasta with quinoa. For day-to-day salads, I prefer using quinoa over things like pasta and couscous, mainly because I like the protein-punch that quinoa provides, and also because I feel better when I eat gluten-free. 1 cup of quinoa (once cooked), along with all the veggies made a large salad, enough to feed 4 people.
  • I played with the veggie combination by increasing the grape tomatoes, removing the red bell pepper, increasing the orange bell pepper, decreasing the red onion, and adding cucumber.
  • I veganized the dressing by replacing the buttermilk and Greek yogurt with silken tofu and tahini. It was just a bit too thick, so I added 3 tbsp of water to get things moving. I didn’t have a jalapeno on hand, so I used 1/8 tsp of chili powder. I kept the 1/4 tsp of cumin because I can’t get enough of the stuff. Otherwise, I pretty much just halved all the ingredients, and it was more than enough to create a perfectly creamy quinoa salad.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-FreeSouthwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-FreeSouthwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-FreeSouthwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-FreeSouthwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

5.0 from 3 reviews
Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This Southwestern quinoa salad features pump grape tomatoes, lively corn and orange bell peppers, protein-packed black beans, refreshing cucumber and a creamy avocado dressing. Vegan & Gluten-Free!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican, Southwest, Tex-Mex
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small punnet (200g) grape tomatoes
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • ½ cup diced cucumber (seeds removed)
  • ½ cup sweet corn (canned or frozen/defrosted)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime, for juicing over the salad
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
Creamy Avocado Dressing
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
  • ¼ cup silken tofu
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ tsp chili powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the quinoa along with 2 cups salted water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to the lowest heat setting. Simmer until water is completely absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 20 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, make the Creamy Avocado Dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado, cucumber, corn, red onion. Pour dressing over quinoa salad and stir until salad is well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the salad, so the avocado doesn't brown. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve at room temperature or chilled.
Notes
Adapted from: http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/southwestern-pasta-salad-with-creamy-avocado-dressing

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-FreeSouthwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-FreeSouthwestern Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing - Vegan and Gluten-Free

23 Comments

  1. Stefanie says:

    This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  2. You had me on “Southwestern” the fact that quinoa followed shortly after only made it sound even better, and that sauce, ah! It looks heavenly :D
    Thanks for passing on the inspiration, I hope I get to make this soon :D

    Have a lovely Wednesday! x

    Reply
    • Thanks very much Jules! Hubby was away this week, so I got to eat the whole thing to myself :D

      Reply
  3. Courtney says:

    Hi Angela,
    I have been meaning to get on here and tell you how much your site has helped us with our decision to go vegan.
    Every recipe we have tried works exactly as described and tastes amazing.
    When we decided to go vegan we wanted to be healthy aswell and your recipes are exactly what we meant… It’s also wonderful to see some vegan desserts.
    So thank you for taking the time to share your vegan lifestyle, seems you’ve helped alot of people.
    Cheers!
    Courtney & Graeme.

    Reply
    • Hi Courtney – Thank you so much for your kind words. And congratulations on going vegan! I’m so honored that my humble little recipes have helped you on this journey :)

      Reply
  4. Jill says:

    This looks amazing Angela, i cannot wait to try this. I love how your recipes always have ingredients that i have in my pantry!!! we must have similiar pantries!!!! I am going to make this weekend.. looks so yummy!!! My only thing is I don’t like to eat tofu due to soy and not sitting well with me.. do you think I can leave the tofu out and it would just be thinner?? or maybe add vegan sour cream or soemthing else instead?? just wondering?? I hate to even ask for a substitute suggestion since your recipes ROCK!!!!

    By the way, I made the coconut curry lentil soup again for a second time.. it is so nummy!!! My favorite!!! Also my daughter asked to make the raw coconut cookie dough balls again.. another favorite in our family!!! Thanks so much for creating another recipe for us. I agree, I have a HUGE stock of quinua in my pantry and could eat it everyday!!!! :)

    Reply
    • Good to hear from you, Jill! I tend to use very similar ingredients week-to-week, so that’s why a lot of my recipes use the same things. I like to keep things simple :)

      You know, I was originally just going to use more tahini for the sauce, but switched to tofu at the last minute. So feel free to use a couple more tablespoons of tahini and adjusting the water as needed. Vegan sour cream would also work (although most commercial ones are soy-based).

      Glad to hear that my soup and cookie dough balls have become staples in your house. Thanks for taking the time to share all these kind words with me :)

      Reply
  5. Jill says:

    ooh great idea Angela, I actually have a whole jar of tahini on hand!!! I want to make this today except hubby is in kitchen hanging up crown moulding. may have to wait till tomorrow.. looks amazing:)

    Reply
    • Crown molding – lucky you! Let me know what you think of the salad :)

      Reply
  6. Louise Thompson says:

    I must tell you that I made your latest Quinoa salad last Friday evening and that your father liked it. Thank you for a colourful and tasty meal. That’s just what we need to cheer us up this long cold winter. Maman

    Reply
    • AWW Thanks mom. You’re so sweet. I learned from the best :)

      Reply
  7. Christina says:

    I made this tonight and I must say…another great recipe! Thanks for sharing :)

    Reply
    • So glad to hear it! Thanks so much for trying it and for taking the time to write :)

      Reply
  8. Miriam says:

    Hi Angela, I always enjoy trying new recipes from your website but this one is my favourite – for now. It was kind of tricky to find canned black beans here in Germany so I used borlotti beans the first time I made this dish which was also delicious. Thank you for sharing all those great recipes, my whole family loves them!!!

    Reply
    • I’m so happy to hear it! Any beans will work if you can’t easily find black beans (they’re hard to find in Sydney as well). Thanks for taking the time to write :)

      Reply
  9. Kaylee says:

    This looks fantastic. I’m curious though as to what food processor you own. I’m in the market to buy a small one and yours looks perfect.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Marti Jones says:

    My sister made this salad the other day and it was wonderful. Can’t wait to make it myself. Just started using quinoa and wasn’t sure how to use it but this is amazing.

    Reply
    • Yay! Welcome to the wonderful world of quinoa :)

      Reply
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