Hardworking Lunchbox: Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad

Find yourself (like me) not having the time to go out for lunch at work due to project deadline, meetings, and what not? Try this easy to prepare lunchbox idea and enjoy a hearty lunch at work, even though it might be a quick one at the desk while working away!

For the salad

6 to 8 Servings

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 small red onion, small dice
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 2 medium avocados, diced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, divided

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Cook the quinoa: Combine the quinoa, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a rimmed baking sheet, spread into an even layer, and refrigerate until cooled completely, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Make the dressing: Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified and combined.
  3. Assemble the salad: Place the cooled quinoa, black beans, corn, onion, bell peppers, avocados, and all but 2 tablespoons of the cilantro in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to combine. Garnish with the reserved 2 tablespoons cilantro.
  4. Place salad in a lunchbox.
  5. Add some fruits, popcorn/chips and a muffin to complete the meal.


  • Make ahead – The dressing can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. The quinoa can be cooked up to 1 day in advance, then cooled and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.
  • Storage – Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
recipe source: thekitchn