Quinoa is one of the superfoods to end all superfoods. It’s incredibly good for you, from good effects on your gut health to a high protein content to give you plenty of energy. Plus, it’s really easy to cook with! I am sure you will love this Tex-Mex quinoa salad.

Why this recipe works so well

This is an old favourite recipe of mine, and it’s really quick and simple to whip up on a weeknight or as part of a meal prep routine. I’ve got a pot of it in my fridge for lunch today, and I’m really looking forward to it!

So, a rich, tomatoey, garlicky stew filled to the brim with quinoa. Sound good? Then join me on this little adventure in healthy foods for a quick easy recipe.

Garlic tip

Now, I am a huge garlic fiend: I put it in everything, and I’m never shy about putting too much in. This recipe calls for three cloves, finely chopped.

The more finely you chop, the better the result will be further down the line. In fact, here’s a tip I learned from YouTube, what feels like a million years ago: after you’ve given your garlic a little chop, sprinkle some salt on top and chop it as finely as you can.

The salt helps the garlic to bind together, so you can get incredibly fine pieces that will release great flavour into your food.

bulbs of garlic with seperate cloves on wooden table

Choosing ingredients for this Tex Mex quinoa salad

If you are trying to lose weight then a great option here could be a low-calorie spray, which would help to bring the overall fat content of the meal down. Of course, if you prefer to use olive oil that is your choice.

In my opinion, the cheapest canned vegetables work well in this. I rarely buy expensive chopped tomatoes but of course, the choice is yours.

If you are not keen on quinoa then I highly recommend making it with half and half of quinoa and rice. This will mean you get the health benefits of the quinoa but the comfort of the rice you know you enjoy. If you do this it should take just as long to cook, however, check the rice is fully cooked before moving to the next step.

Quinoa infographic

How to make the Tex Mex Quinoa Salad step by step

Cook the garlic until it’s starting to brown at the edges.

Add in tomatoes, sweetcorn, and black beans.

Give this all a thorough mix and allow it to cook through and get nice and hot. You want to try to keep the temperature of this meal as hot as you can all the way through cooking: the quinoa we’re adding in a bit responds best to a high-heat environment.

In this instance, I’m using tinned, chopped tomatoes for convenience. If you’ve got access to some gorgeous, fresh tomatoes, then dice them up and throw them in! You’re aiming for 400g, which is about three medium-sized tomatoes.

Can of chopped tomatoes with two fresh tomatoes next to the can.

The next step is to throw in some stock and your dry quinoa, before allowing them to heat through and mix completely.

spoon of dry quinoa

At this point, you’ll likely see a lot of your quinoa float to the surface, as it’s completely dry and not very dense. As it cooks and absorbs moisture, it will sink to the bottom of your pot, so make sure to stir this mixture often, or the quinoa will weld itself to the base, and you’ll have a nightmare getting it off again.

A glass bowl of vegetable stock with a metal whisk in.

I used vegetable stock here, but you can feel free to use whatever you like. As this is essentially a vegetable stew, I find the vegetable stock gives it the right kind of flavour. That said, as it’s a Mexican dish, a beef stock could pair well with Mexican spices, for example, the cumin we’ll be adding later.

Wait for the mixture to simmer, producing small bubbles at the edges, and then add in your next ingredients: the spices. I tend to keep it simple in this recipe: salt, pepper, crushed chillis, and cumin.

After you’ve spiced the dish, it’s simply a matter of covering and allowing it to simmer. The quinoa should need between 15 and 20 minutes to cook and expand completely, though make sure to check back and stir every five minutes or so.

The dish should have no liquid left when cooked. Look for expanded, soft, fluffy quinoa throughout, as well as fully softened black beans and sweetcorn. Give it a taste for seasoning, and plate up!

Suggested adaptions to the recipe

You can feel free to alter the amount of these ingredients you’re putting in, but it’s key to try to use the closest thing to a fresh chilli you can find.

A fresh chilli has a light, almost fruity quality which is really difficult to replicate in chilli powder, so I tend to use crushed chillis which retain a small amount of that.

If you’ve got a fresh chilli to hand, then throw that in! One small chilli (deseeded) should be roughly enough to spice up the whole dish to a good level.

chilli powder and red chillies on white background
Chilli powder with red fresh chillies

What makes this dish special?

A bowlful of this is sure to lift your spirits and do you a world of good at the same time. My favourite thing about the dish is that if you’ve fully cooked out your garlic, you should be able to taste that earthy note underneath all the fragrant spices in the dish. It’s truly delicious!

Serving suggestions

The next, admittedly optional, step, is toppings! I usually squeeze half a lime over a bowl of this Tex-Mex quinoa salad, and it really brings out some gorgeous flavours in the dish.

The lime, chilli, and cumin work really well together to pack a lot of flavour into very few calories, what’s not to love?

There are plenty of different things you could throw onto this dish that might give it a lovely kick. I like lime, but I’ve also tried it with a little fresh coriander and some diced jalapeño: delicious!

This could be good with a scoop of low-fat sour cream, or even homemade salsa!

Tomato herb and lime salsa
Tomato herb and lime salsa

If you like this you might also like these recipes

If this recipe is something you like then here are some other popular recipes I think you might like.

Tangy chilli salsa

chilli salsa in a bowl with ingredients around it

Roti with spiced cauliflower

Roti in a hand.

Sweet potato and spinach quesadilla

Sweet potato quesadilla
Sweet potato quesadilla

Moroccan tagine

Tagine pot filled with vegetable tagine.

Cajun chicken

cajun chicken
Cajun chicken

Chicken and lime tacos

Chicken lime tacos
Chicken lime tacos

Refried beans, the healthier way!

Refried beans with a tortilla crisp


skillet of shakshuka.

Do you want to know more about quinoa? I have lots to help you understand how good quinoa is for you.

Have you tried quinoa for breakfast? It is a great way to stuff peppers too so why not try my quinoa stuffed pepper recipe?

My favourite quinoa recipe by far though is the roast plum and quinoa salad!

Plum quinoa salad
Roasted plum quinoa salad
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Tex Mex Quinoa Salad recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: JustAverageJen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 MInutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Portions 1x
  • Category: Main Meal
  • Method: Hob
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex
  • Diet: Low Calorie


A delicious easy recipe for Tex-Mex quinoa salad which is perfect to enjoy for weight loss and a healthy lifestyle



low-calorie frying spray.

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.

400g black beans, drained and rinsed.

400g sweetcorn drained and rinsed.

400g chopped tomatoes/3 fresh tomatoes.

170g dry quinoa.

500ml vegetable stock.

1 tbsp crushed chillis.

1 tsp cumin.

1 tsp salt.

1 tsp pepper.

Toppings: (optional)

Lime juice.


Fresh coriander.


Add the spray to the pan, and add the finely chopped garlic. Fry until lightly browned.

Add black beans, sweetcorn, and tomatoes. Mix and heat through until simmering.

Add the dry quinoa and stock, and mix thoroughly to ensure the quinoa is evenly distributed.

Add crushed chillis, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring often.

Plate, and add toppings of your choice.


If you’re cooking this as part of a meal-prep routine, this will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, or you could freeze it for a quick reheat in the microwave.

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About Author

Hi, I’m Jen Mellor; I live in Nottingham, UK. and use my knowledge and experience in weight loss and confidence to help you become your own cheerleader and best friend. I am usually seen wearing colourful leggings and love to wear bright colours. Wear what you love, and be proud of your style and choices!


  1. Always imagined quinoa to be pretty bland… but these Mexican flavours were fab. Will be having again soon.

  2. Oh this sounds yummy and so easy to do as well, thanks!

  3. This sounds amazing. I am currently on a plant based diet and always looking for tasty new recipes. I can never get black beans locally though. Do you think kidney beans might work?

    1. Jen Mellor says:

      I can’t see why not but haven’t tried them in it myself. Have you checked in the Chinese area of the supermarket with stir fry sauces etc? Sometimes also they are called turtle beans so keep an eye for those.

  4. Thank you for posting about this. Another fab recipe

  5. This looks great, I have quinoa in my cupboard so this is great inspiration!

  6. This sounds so tasty. I love a chilli, but I’ve never made this type of chilli before. So thank you for sharing this!

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever tried quinoa before! I love the way you’ve set out the recipe in simple easy steps with lots of photos. I can’t follow recipes without photos lol

  8. I’m looking to up my protein intact as I’m training harder so this is perfect for me.

  9. Sounds fab, I need to look at your website more for more recipes and get better at cooking!

  10. I am always looking for meatfree recipes and love the look of this. Great garlic tip too thank you!

  11. This sounds yummy! I love a good hearty meal like this. I really love sweetcorn and often add it to chilli. I must admit that quinoa is something that I have never cooked with as I never really know what to add it to. I would love to try this recipe.

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