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Mexican Quinoa Black Bean Salad with Chicken

Mexican quinoa black bean salad with chicken is one of pan of delicious bright flavors and as much heat as you crave. It’s great hot or cold and keeps you full for hours.

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a platter of quinoa salad on a table with a spoon

Can wholesome food be fast? Under 30 minutes fast? (If you’re a good chopper or have help.)

You betcha.

And this quinoa black bean “salad” is really your next favorite hot dinner packed full of protein and nutrition. I like to make it early in the day, stick the whole pot in the fridge after it cools then pull it out and reheat it on the stove top.

Ahhh…that’s the sound of you with no stress at a mealtime.

The amazing benefits of quinoa

Pronounced (keen-wah) this super food is grown in the Andes Mountains. We treat it like a grain, but it’s actually a seed and it’s loaded with all essential amino acids which makes it a complete protein.

It’s also a great source of minerals like magnesium and phosphorus. Quinoa is also gluten free.

As with any legume or seed, they should be soaked before cooking with them. That’s because phytic acid inside latches on to the minerals in our food during the digestion process and locks it away from our body.

Soaking neutralizes the phytic acid so your quinoa is digestible and contributing to your nutrition–not robbing you of it. See more about how to soak quinoa.

Ingredient tips for Mexican quinoa black bean salad

  • Quinoa--any brand or color you like. I used organic white quinoa in this recipe.
  • Chicken broth--homemade or this brand is pretty good. Don’t use bouillon cubes–they are too salty.
  • Black beans–canned is easiest. Just rinse them well.
  • Corn kernels–grilled corn in summer is perfect here. In winter, I use frozen organic kernels.
  • Green onions–You could use diced onions or shallots as a swap.
  • Red and yellow bell pepper–any color you like works. Green will have a stronger flavor.
  • Jalapenos–fresh. Take out the ribs and seeds for less heat.
  • Cotija cheese–If you can’t find this, use feta. The flavor profile is almost identical.
  • Sauteed chicken– I used boneless breast I sautéed but you can boil and shred yours or get a rotisserie chicken if you eat those. You’ll need about a pound for 4 people.

If you want to cook your own chicken, here’s how to do it

  1. Use 1 pound boneless skinless breasts (or boneless skinless thighs). Cut them in half horizontally so they aren’t as thick. Season both sides with salt, pepper and paprika.
  2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons avocado or high heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter heat about a minute.
  3. Add the chicken and cook without moving it until golden brown–5 minutes or so.
  4. Flip and cook the second side until the chicken is 160/165 inside (about 5 minutes more depending on thickness) and transfer to a plate to rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Mexican quinoa in three easy steps

Step 1: Cook your quinoa in 4 cups of good chicken stock. Homemade is best but this boxed one is good. If you’ve soaked your quinoa first that will change the amount of liquid you need and the cook time. Leave me a comment if you need help with that or check out this post.

a black pot on a table with quinoa inside and with beans and chicken
The pot I am using is perfect for so many dishes! You can find it here.

Step 2: To enjoy your salad cold, cool your quinoa totally, transfer it to a bowl, then add the remaining ingredients. We eat it hot (pictured) and add all remaining ingredients right into the pot.

a black pot with quinoa and vegetables in piles on top of the quinoa

Step 3: Toss and go! Toss everything together and either add chicken to individual servings or slice and toss in to the main pot.

a black pot of quinoa mixed with vegetables and cotija cheese

A little avocado cream on top jazzes it up

I feel like a little extra acid on this salad is a good thing, so take a few minutes and blend together sour cream, avocado, lime, cilantro, garlic powder and some salt and drizzle it over each person’s bowl just before serving. Zing!

a white platter of Mexican quinoa salad with a spoon on the side.

Mexican Quinoa Black Bean Salad with Chicken

This hearty quinoa salad with black beans is perfect as a cold side dish or a hot main dinner.
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Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 419kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken stock homemade is best
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1 tsp salt see note 1
  • 1 pound chicken breast or thighs pre cooked, see note 2
  • 2/3 cup red bell pepper chopped (about half of a pepper)
  • 2/3 cup yellow bell pepper chopped (about half of a pepper) You can use one whole pepper in one color instead to reduce waste.
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions diced white onion works too
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn or two large ears of corn, grilled or boiled
  • 16 ounces black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper
  • 1 cup cotija cheese feta could substitute

Avocado cream dressing (optional)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream plain yogurt works
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice adjust to your preference
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • In a 4 quart or larger heavy pot, heat the broth to boiling. Add salt if you're sure your stock isn't overly salty. Add the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low/simmer. Simmer 15 minutes checking the quinoa once while it cooks. Simmer until the liquid is absorbed.
  • If you want to serve this cold, let the quinoa cool before adding the remaining ingredients. To serve hot, add all remaining ingredients to the pot including the cooked chicken and stir to combine.
  • Serve warm with lime wedges, avocado and cilantro or a few tablespoons of avocado cream.
  • This dish reheats wonderfully and can be made ahead.

Notes

Note 1: The saltiness of your stock will determine how much salt to add here. If you have a low sodium stock you should be fine to use the whole teaspoon. Again, avoid using bouillon cubes or powders. 
Note 2: I used sautéed chicken. See the information about how to cook it in the body of the post. You can also boil yours or buy a rotisserie chicken if you choose. 

Nutrition

Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 644mg | Potassium: 807mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 650IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 4mg

This recipe was inspired by:https://suebeehomemaker.com/mexican-quinoa-salad/

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