Tex Mex Quinoa Salad with a Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

A deliciously healthy Tex Mex Quinoa salad with a healthy and light cilantro-lime vinaigrette. The quinoa adds protein and great texture to this salad!

Tex Mex Quinoa Salad with a Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette I via chelseasmessyapron.com I #cleaneating #quinoa

The last time I made a salad, I added loads of pasta to it. For staying power and because carbs = my life.

This time the staying power comes in the form of quinoa. Oh and avocado, because avocados are super filling to me.

And they went on sale this past week. Which, when avocados go on sale I turn into some kind of crazy person, grabbing all the avocados and shoving them in my cart. And everyone is looking at me, like “crazy person alert” when I’d rather just call myself an “avocado addict.” Sounds better that way. I loooooove avocados and they are so versatile. Plus, in ways of other good news, the babe loves em too.

Tex Mex Quinoa Salad with a Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette I via chelseasmessyapron.com I #cleaneating #quinoa

I fed him his very first avocado completely thinking that he would hate it. I mean do any kids like avocados when they are little? I guess, apparently some can love them.

But when I was a kid, those things couldn’t get within a 10 mile radius or I would freak.out. My mom would eat them for lunch all the time – stuffed with fillings, and covered in dressing. Pretty much it totally grossed me out.

And now here I am, turning into my mom and eating avocados with everything. So when they go on sale, I’m now stuffing them and covering them in dressing, and shaking my head thinking – moms always know best. Avocados are deeeeeelicious.

And thank goodness the babe agrees. I could not feed him one quick enough. He was swallowing pieces without even chewing them and then lounging towards the uncut pieces because apparently I’m not fast enough. Note to self – have all the avocado pre-cut before placing the sight of them in front of the babe.

Tex Mex Quinoa Salad with a Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette I via chelseasmessyapron.com I #cleaneating #quinoa

The rest of this salad is pretty easy – a little bit of chopping, draining of veggies, and mixing together. I also recommend cooking the quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth for added flavor. And then add the taco seasoning to your preference. I like a lot of spice, but feel free to scale it down or even up the amount.

The dressing is just blended together and covers the salad. P.S. Totally hoping you love this dressing, because I am obsessed with it!

And then don’t forget the thing that ties it all together perfectly – the cheese. I used queso fresco, but cotija cheese works great too. Enjoy!

Tex Mex Quinoa Salad with a Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette I via chelseasmessyapron.com I #cleaneating #quinoa

5.0 from 2 reviews
Tex Mex Quinoa Salad with a Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 5 cups (2 stalks) romaine lettuce
  • 3/4 cup red onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 3/4 cup black beans
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • Queso Fresco, or Cotija cheese, for topping
  • 1 cup cilantro, remove stems to measure
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded (leave seeds in if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. I recommend cooking the quinoa in a chicken or vegetable broth for extra flavor. Once the quinoa is cooked (don't forget to rinse it really well before cooking), stir in the taco seasoning. Do this to your taste preferences - add less or more depending on how much you like it!
  2. Wash and chop the lettuce.
  3. Dice the red onion, chop the green pepper, drain and rinse the corn and black beans, halve the cherry tomatoes and add all to the salad.
  4. Remove the pit and peel of the avocado, chop it, and add it to the salad.
  5. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust any seasonings to personal preference.
  6. If eating the salad immediately, pour the dressing over, toss the salad, and top with Queso Fresco or Cotija cheese (to desired preference).
  7. If you aren't eating the salad immediately or don't plan on finishing it all in one sitting, don't pour the dressing over all of it as this wilts the salad and makes leftovers not so great.

 Here are some more quinoa recipes:

Slow cooker Cheesy Quinoa Enchilada Bake


Slow Cooker Tex Mex Quinoa 

Detox Quinoa Salad

Detox Quinoa Salad


  1. says

    haha I’m with you – I thought avocados were so weird as a kid! But now I cannot get enough of them! And I buy them like mad when on sale too :) This salad looks awesome Chelsea!

  2. says

    I don’t think I had my first avocado until I was around 23 or 24, and whir it wasn’t love at first bite, they definitely grew on me and I have no idea how I’d get by without them now. Also… I just want to faceplant into this salad 😀

  3. says

    This is my kind of salad right here. Love all the toppings and things you put in it, and I REALLY love that queso fesco. I’m pretty sure my parents never ever would have thought to feed me an avocado when I was little, haha. That’s impressive your little guy likes them! Anyway, beautiful salad! Pinned. :)

  4. Mandy says

    What a fantastic salad! I have no idea how I found your website, but I am so glad that I did because I make your recipes all the time! Thanks for so many healthy, fast, and easy options!

  5. says

    so much going on here, Chelsea I just LOVE all the flavors. I am a crazy person next to the avocados too..I have to squeeze them all and find the right one! I’m also a crazy person when it comes to lemons…I always buy a ton and feel them up first hah! I just hate bringing home lemons with no juice in them, ya know? I’m craving mexican food now, need this soon! Thanks for sharing :)

  6. says

    It’s so awesome that Grey likes avocados at such a young age! Actually, my 2 year old nephew really loves them too. I eat quinoa almost everyday and it’s def a great addition to salads. The dressing sounds incredible. Pinning and def making this soon!

  7. says

    This salad looks so pretty, Chelsea! I find any excuse to eat avocados and go nuts when they’re on sale too :) Yay, that’s awesome that Grey loves them too!

  8. says

    This is like my ideal dinner. Light but still full of flavor, and filling from the quinoa, beans and avocado! When you posted this on intstagram last night, the post right under yours was from Ree Drummond of a salad that looked almost exactly the same! Great minds think alike 😉

  9. Joyce says

    Can we substitute flat leaf parsley for cilantro? I have tried and tried and to my taste buds it tastes like soap. The Hubby does not like it either but will eat parsley. It is in so many recipes that I do not make because of it. I would like to change that.
    Thanks and this recipe sounds so fantastic.

  10. says

    Love this salad! However, I am not a fan of cilantro (there, I said it!). What can I substitute or what other suggestions do you have for the dressing?

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