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Mexican Quinoa Salad

This delicious Mexican Quinoa Salad is loaded with tender quinoa, poblano peppers, corn, cilantro, cotija cheese and a homemade dressing. This salad makes for a great side dish or a main dish summer salad.

This Mexican Quinoa Salad is bursting with fresh veggies and a tangy dressing. It's simple to make and quick on prep time for an easy dish to serve up. And it's easy to change up the ingredients. You can add some chicken or shrimp for a heartier dinner salad.

Mexican Quinoa Salad in white serving bowl.

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This salad can be made a day ahead of time so if you are looking to prepare something in advance this is perfect. Another delicious option is this Greek Quinoa Salad.

Mexican Quinoa Salad ingredients include golden quinoa tossed with sweet corn, cilantro, pablono, red onion, cilantro and red peppers. This salad gives delicious Mexican street corn vibes with its simple but tasty mayo and sour cream based dressing and cotija cheese.

Give it a try and see for yourself the incredible flavor this quinoa salad has to offer.


See printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.

Ingredients for Salad set out on counter.

Quinoa - Thoroughly rinse the quinoa before cooking.

Corn - You can use drained canned corn or 2 to 3 ears of fresh corn that is roasted or cooked.

Cilantro - Finely chop fresh cilantro for this salad.

Onion - Red onion is what I used. It is one of the best onions for eating raw. But you can swap it with a white or yellow onion.

Poblano Pepper - De-seed and remove the white membrane to lower the spice, or leave some seeds if you want a kick of heat in the salad.

Red Bell Pepper - Finely dice the pepper for this recipe. It is going to be a sweet component of the salad.

Cheese - For this recipe, you can use Cotija, Queso fresco, or even feta cheese. Each one will provide different flavors but all will compliment the ingredients.

Lime - You will use fresh lime juice to add a nice citrus and zesty punch to the dressing.

Sour Cream and Mayonnaise - Both are used to create a nice creamy texture to the dressing. It reminds me of street corn sauce.

Spices - Chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper are all used to help flavor the dressing. It is going to give a nice Tex-Mex flavor.

Recipe Variations

  • Try out different varieties of quinoa. Red, tri-color, or even black for this salad.
  • Instead of sour cream use plain Greek yogurt.
  • Add in more vegetables - diced tomatoes, swap poblano with jalapeno, zucchini, etc.
  • Use taco seasoning in place of all the spices listed in the recipe.

How To Make Mexican Quinoa Salad

Quinoa in saucepan.
Cilantro on cutting board with knife.
  • Cook Quinoa: Cook the quinoa on the stovetop as directed. Then allow it time to cool.
  • Prep Veggies: Prep all your vegetables and place them in a bowl. Add in the cheese as well.
Salad dressing whisked in bowl.
Salad dressing poured over quinoa salad in bowl.

Dressing: In a small bowl add the ingredients for the dressing in the bowl. Whisk well to combine.

Assemble Salad: Add the dressing, cooled quinoa and veggies, and cheese in a bowl. Toss well and serve.

Large white bowl with Mexican Quinoa Salad and serving spoon.

How To Store Salad

Store the salad in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The vegetables will break down the longer they are in the refrigerator. I don't recommend freezing this salad.

Recipe FAQs

Why is my quinoa bitter?

It is important to rinse your quinoa in cold water before you cook it. This helps get rid of the bitter taste.

Is quinoa gluten free?

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free! One thing to note is to read on the package to ensure it was prepped in a facility that has no gluten in the factory. Make sure the other ingredients you use in the recipe are gluten-free and you will have a delicious gluten-free dish.

More Delicious Salad Recipes To Make

Helpful Supplies

  • I use this Pyrex 3-Piece Mixing Bowl Set all the time in my kitchen.
  • This set of 3 Fine Mesh Strainers are great for straining liquids, flour, rice, quinoa and more. You can use them to sift, strain and rinse.
Mexican Quinoa Salad in large white serving bowl.

I hope you enjoy this Mexican Quinoa Salad! If you try this recipe, please come back and rate it and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from you!

Mexican Quinoa Salad in white bowl with serving spoon.

Mexican Quinoa Salad Recipe

Author: Judy Wilson
This delicious Mexican Quinoa Salad is loaded with tender quinoa, poblano peppers, corn, cilantro, cotija cheese, and a homemade dressing.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 261 kcal


Salad Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • cups drained, corn kernels
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ cup poblano pepper, diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup cotija, queso fresco, or feta cheese

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • Rinse quinoa in strainer. Then add quinoa and 2 cups of water in a 2 quart (or larger) saucepan, and bring to a simmer
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes until quinoa is done.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • While quinoa is cooking, whisk the dressing ingredients together until smooth.
  • Once quinoa has cooled add to large bowl. Add the corn, cilantro, onion, peppers, and cheese.
  • Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.


Store the salad in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Calories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 8gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 690mgPotassium: 322mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 770IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 2mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and should only be used as a general guideline. It is an estimate that will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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