Mexican Inspired Quinoa Salad with a Spicy Dressing

Blow your socks off Mexican inspired salad with a spicy sriracha & lime dressing, smoky charred peppers, sweetcorn, black beans and a versatile quick onion pickle.

This is a wonderfully jam packed salad to feed a crowd!

Yes, it’s one of my more ‘involved’ salads but the result is a STUNNER and most of the elements of the salad can be prepped 2 days ahead.

Pressed for time: simply buy jarred roasted peppers and croutons to speed things up.

Charred Red Peppers have endless uses in the kitchen, especially when you want to add a smoky flavour to any dish. Here is some of my favourite ways to use roasted red peppers.

  • key ingredients in a my smoky chilli bean recipe (here)
  • in a chilli and pepper salsa,
  • in a red pepper and tomato soup,
  • as a starter with seasoned well with some capers and basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

To char the peppers add to an open gas flame or add to a red hot bbq (as per pic), turn the pepper to ensure a good char all-round.

Perfect Make Ahead Lunch Bowl: full of fibre, plant proteins and flavour, the perfect lunch. Only mix the salad once you are ready to eat it. The addition of a good feta would be great. See serving suggestion.

Getting Ahead: You can roast the peppers, pickle the onions and make the quinoa two days ahead.

Leftovers: Keep the salad ‘undressed’ and hold of the croutons, it will happily sit in the fridge for a day or two. The salad ‘travels’ well and delicious the next day in your lunchbox.

Serving Suggestions: The salad is is quite filling and a meal by itself but some corn nachos and a good guacamole would also work. It really is the best summer salad when fresh corn is available and it will go great with any bbq or braai (as we call it here in SA).

Quick Pickled Onions are so versatile to have in the fridge, simply add for a hit of acidity over salads or grilled veggies and I love these on taco’s too.!

Ingredients: Sriracha is a spicy & sweet chilli sauce made from a hot chilli paste.

Mexican Inspired Quinoa Salad with Corn

Blow your socks off Mexican inspired salad with spicy Sriracha and Lime Dressing. Smoky roasted peppers, summer sweetcorn, black beans and a versatile quick onion pickle. This is a wonderfully jam packed salad to feed a crowd.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Diet Gluten-free, High Plant-protein, High-fibre, Vegan
Servings 6


  • 1 cup red cabbage very finely shredded and chopped
  • 1 cup green cabbage very finely shredded and chopped
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 cups fresh corn (frozen is fine too)
  • 1 bunch spring onions finely chopped
  • 30 g coriander finely chopped
  • 2 limes zest and juice
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 1 400g tin black beans drained
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • lime wedges to serve opt


  • 1 cup yogurt coconut or cow
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 pinches salt

Quick Pickled Onions

  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 small red onions very finely sliced

Smoky Croutons

  • gluten free bread about 6 slices or 1/2 loaf ciabatta
  • drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • salt & pepper


  • Make some croutons: heat the oven to 16oc, roughly tear your bread into croutons, place in a bowl, season with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper and paprika. Toss with your hands and tip into a baking sheet, making sure the croutons are laying in a single layer. Roast until toasted and golden, about 6/10minutes.
  • Meanwhile roast some peppers! Grill the peppers whole on the direct flame on a gas hob, on the bbq or in a stainless steel pan (never use non stick!) on high on the hob, until the skin is properly blackened. Place in bowl while still hot and cover with cling film. Leave them to steam for about 10/15 minutes, remove the skins with some kitchen paper and deseed and finely chop the peppers.*
  • Pickle some onions! Place your finely sliced onions in a glass bowl with the sugar and vinegar and leave for at least 30minutes. The acid in the vinegar will soften the onions. *
  • Cook some Quinoa: Mix the two quinoa together in a large saucepan with 4 cups of cold water and a pinch of salt, simmer for 15 minutes until the quinoa is beginning to soften and they appeared to have ‘popped’ and a small white ‘tail’ is visible, turn the heat off, put the lid on and leave on the hob to steam for an extra 5 minutes or until fluffy, tip the quinoa out onto a large plate to stop the cooking. Dress the quinoa, while still warm, with olive oil, salt, pepper and some lime juice.
  • Cooking the Corn: If using corn cobs, cook your corn in boiling water for 6 minutes, drain and run under cold water to cool down. If using frozen corn, put the corn into a bowl and fill with boiling water, drain after 2 minutes, and set aside
  • Dressing: mix all the ingredients in a jam jar and shake until you have a creamy dressing, taste and season. The thickness of your sauce will depend on the the thickness of your yogurt. Add a little more water or lime juice to achieve a ‘pourable’ consistency.
  • Assemble: Mix together the quinoa, corn, coriander (reserve some for garnish), black beans, red peppers and both cabbages together, season well with some salt, lime juice & zest and pepper.
  • When ready to serve sprinkle over the reserved coriander, spring onions and croutons. Serve the dressing and pickled onions on the side along with some lime wedges.
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