Mexican Quinoa Salad

PREP TIME: 20mins


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.

One of our more ‘involved’ salads the result is a stunner and all of the components can be prepped 2 days ahead. If you are pressed for time, you can just chop red pepper instead of roasting them.

A lovely picnic salad.

Serves 6

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 Suggestion:

The salad is is quite filling and a meal by itself but some corn nachos and a good guacamole would also work.

If you want, it will go well with anything bbq’d on a hot summers day.



  • 1 cup red cabbage, very finely shredded and chopped
  • 1 cup green cabbage, very finely shredded and chopped
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 cups corn (frozen is fine)
  • bunch (about 6) spring onions, finely chopped
  • 30g coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 limes (zest and juice)
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 1 can (400g) black beans drained
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • lime wedges to serve (opt)


  • 1 cup yogurt (coconut or cow)
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha *
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 pinches salt
  • (little water)

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
  • olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • salt & pepper



  1. 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.
  2. 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.*
  3. 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. *
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Kitchen Notes:

Roasted Peppers have endless uses in the kitchen, especially when you want to add a smoky flavour. Here is some of my favourites:

  • key ingredients in a my smoky chilli bean 
  • 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.

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

Cooking Quinoa: the ratio is 1:2 / / 1 cup of quinoa = 2 cups of water.

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



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