Meal-prepping is all the rage these days, and for great reason! Planning ahead for a busy week can help set you up for success, making the healthy choice—like this colorful, nutrient-rich Mexican Quinoa—the easy choice. This flavorful quinoa recipe is quick, versatile, and can be dressed up as a vegetarian entree or served on the side.

Quinoa is a great grain base for this recipe because it's a gluten-free option that's especially high in protein, according to our Registered Dietitian Casey Seamon. It's one of the only plant-based sources of "complete" protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids. You can cook it in the same way you'd cook rice, in a 2:1 ratio, with a cooking liquid like unsalted broth or stock to add more flavor without adding extra sodium.

Make-Ahead Mexican Quinoa

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 16 oz. can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • ¼ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. green onions
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients together. Making your own vinaigrette cuts down on added preservatives and shelf stabilizers that you'll find in pre-made dressings. Spices like cumin and chili pepper add lots of flavor without adding any extra calories or salt! Set the dressing aside once you've combined completely. 
  3. Mix all quinoa salad ingredients together. Black beans are an excellent source of insoluble fiber (which is important for fighting heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol) as well as protein. We're also adding heart-healthy avocado and tons of nutrient-rich veggies.
  4. Stir in the dressing until all components are combined.

This recipe actually gets better as it sits in the fridge for a few days. The quinoa will soak up more dressing and flavor from the components. If you haven't been successful in creating a delicious recipe with this superfood in the past, you can now add Mexican Quinoa to your roster! We also have a few alternate versions you can swap in to liven up your meal plan. Try Mediterranean or Herbed Quinoa for new twist.