Southwest Quinoa Salad

Keepin’ it Light: Southwest Quinoa Salad

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Now that the holidays have passed and things are calming down, I’ve been trying to focus on easy, nutrition-packed meals, like this one! This super simple quinoa salad is a lovely mix of flavors and textures. Cool, creamy avocado and spicy squash are folded into a protein packed mix of quinoa and black beans. With some other vegetables and a bright splash of lime for good measure.

This particular creation was actually dreamed up thanks to a bunch of leftovers I had the other night. I had some friends over to watch The Bachelor (don’t judge—criticizing sobbing drunk girls on TV is amazing) and I prepped homemade burrito bowls for our dinner. This is the salad that came out of all the remaining components. There is literally NOTHING bad for you here. 100% health. Tons of protein, tons of vegetables, and some good fats from coconut oil. You’re welcome.

Southwest Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 lime
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 tsp powdered cayenne or chipotle pepper
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1/2 red pepper, chopped
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, chunked
1 tsp cumin
salt & pepper to taste

This should make two servings, or one massive serving, depending on how hungry you’re feelin’.

Heat one cup of water on the stove until it’s boiling. Add the quinoa, let the pot raise back to a boil, then turn it down to low heat and let simmer, covered, until the quinoa has absorbed all the moisture and has started to fluff up, about 30 minutes.

Scoop the quinoa into a bowl and stir in the coconut oil, allowing it to melt into the warm quinoa. Juice half of a lime into the quinoa and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Set aside and allow it to cool.

At the same time you start the quinoa, roast your butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the squash in a bit of oil, salt, and an optional sprinkling of cayenne pepper if you’d like. Roast the squash for about 30 minutes as well, until tender.

Once both the quinoa and squash have cooled a bit, now it’s the easy part – just mix the rest of everything right in! Give it a taste test and add more salt, pepper, or spice if you’d like. Heck, even a little more lime! Technically this would work well with some chopped cilantro mixed in too, but I’m picky about cilantro so I left it out. Feel free to add some if you’re a fan!

Another beautiful thing about this colorful quinoa salad? You can serve it warm or cool! It will keep for a couple days in the fridge, too, great for healthy lunch leftovers.

For more healthy recipes, cocktails, food travel, and restaurant reviews, check out ES Emily’s individual blog, A Time to Kale, or tweet her @emilyteachout.

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