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South of the Border Spicy Quinoa Salad Recipe

Contributors: Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND

Published: February 4, 2018

South of the Border Spicy Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Corn Recipe
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Enjoy tabbouleh? Then you might enjoy salpicon, a Latino version, too. In some south-of-border cuisines "salpicon" refers to a salad mixture of thinly-sliced or chopped veggies with a savory dressing, perhaps served on crispy tortillas, in lettuce cups, or stuffed in poblano peppers. In this version, quinoa, beans, corn and tomatoes — all ingredients that originated in the Americas — turn salpicon into a great vegan salad, which can become center plate in a family meal. Make it today for tomorrow!


2 cups water
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed well
1/2 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (approximately 2 to 3 limes)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 medium tomato, seeded, finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, seeded, finely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves*
Optional garnishes: hard-cooked egg slices, black olives, capers


Before you begin: Wash your hands.

  1. Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add the quinoa. Reduce heat; simmer about 10 minutes until the water is absorbed; quinoa should turn translucent. Remove from heat, drain, and chill.
  2. Meanwhile make a dressing by pureeing jalapeno pepper, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and white pepper in an electric blender or food processor until smooth.
  3. Combine cold quinoa with beans, corn, tomato, cucumber, green onions, parsley and mint in a large bowl. Toss gently.
  4. Add lime juice-olive oil dressing; toss again.
  5. Pack into a container, cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours to blend flavors.
  6. To serve, garnish as desired.

Cooking Notes

* If you're lucky enough to find or grow huacatay, or "Peruvian black mint," substitute it for the mint. Difficult to find in the United States, huacatay is an aromatic herb native to South America.

Nutrition Information

Serves 8
Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 210; Calories from fat: 80; Total fat: 9g; Saturated fat: 1g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium 210mg; Total carbohydrate: 29g; Dietary fiber: 6g; Sugars: 4g; Protein: 7g

Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND, is author of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide and 365 Days of Healthy Eating.

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