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Mexican Avocado and Corn Quinoa Salad

A healthy Mexican-flavor inspired avocado and corn quinoa salad packed with veggies and coated in the most delicious chipotle vinaigrette
Course Salad
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings (4 meal prep servings)
Calories 339kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked regular quinoa
  • Optional: 1 cup chicken broth or veggie broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) sweet yellow corn OR 1-2 ears fresh corn
  • 2 cloves garlic, separated
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 green onions
  • 1 large ripe avocado, pit removed and chopped
  • 2-3 fresh limes
  • Optional: Cotija cheese

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 large chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Instructions

  • Cook the quinoa according to package directions (I like to cook it in chicken or veggie broth to enhance flavors; water works fine as well). Fluff and set aside to cool. Cool quinoa completely before adding to the salad.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the well-drained corn in one even layer (add 1 teaspoon butter/oil if you don't have a high quality nonstick skillet; it won't get as perfectly roasted, but won't mess up your pan). Let it sit, stirring occasionally until you get a nice browning on the outside of the corn (I don't stir often so it gets nicely browned!). Add 1 clove minced garlic and stir for 20-30 seconds. Remove the corn from the heat and set aside allowing to cool completely. 
  • Meanwhile, prep the dressing: add the red wine vinegar, honey, vegetable oil, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt and pepper (I add about 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but add to your preference), remaining 1 garlic clove (give it a quick coarse chop), 1 chipotle pepper (again quick coarse chop), and freshly squeezed lime juice into a small blender or small food processor. Pulse until smooth. Store dressing in a sealed mason jar the fridge until ready to use.
  • Prep everything else: remove stems and coarsely chop the baby spinach, drain and rinse the black beans, coarsely chop some fresh cilantro, thinly slice the green onions, chop the avocado (squeeze a wedge of fresh lime over the avocado to keep it from browning).
  • Assemble: In a large bowl, add in the cooked and cooled quinoa, cooled corn, black beans, spinach, cilantro, green onions, and avocado. Remove the dressing from the fridge and shake it well and then pour over the salad*. Toss the salad and then top with cotija cheese and a few squeezes of fresh lime if desired. Serve salad plates with fresh lime wedges if desired.

Notes

*If you aren't planning on finishing this salad all in one day, I'd recommend keeping the dressing separate from the salad and only dressing what you'll be eating. Also, only prep the amount of avocados to what you'll be eating that day. See blog post for notes on how to convert this salad to a meal prep option.

Nutrition

Calories: 339kcal