Red Quinoa Bowl with Lime Cilantro Ranch

Think vegetarian burrito without the tortilla. Top this red quinoa bowl with beans, corn, tomato, and avocado and toss in homemade lime cilantro ranch.Red Quinoa Bowl with black beans, roasted corn

I believe if you make it known to the universe, said thought/dream/aspiration will magically manifest into reality. What can I say? I have so much faith that things will eventually fall into place. It’s a mere matter of time.

That being said, I have always wondered who has the lucky job of developing the recipes that are found on the back of Trader Joe’s products. And more importantly, where I do send in my resume to get that position? That’s a job that I would happily do every single day.

While I love blogging and food photography, there’s nothing that makes my brain tingle more than recipe development. So I’m putting it out there in the world, in case someone in the know happens to stumble upon me.

Red Quinoa Bowl with Lime Cilantro Ranch Dressing


Red Quinoa Bowl with Lime Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Last week during my market run, I bought a bag of Trader Joe’s red quinoa. On the back of the package, I found a recipe for Black Bean, Roasted Corn and Avocado Salad on a bed of Red Quinoa. I was sold. It sounded tasty so I decided to make it.

I really like quinoa. I’m so glad that it’s so readily available these days. It is such a better and healthier alternative to rice.

I also can’t say enough about the versatility of this grain. Eat it sweet, savory, hot or cold.  Any which way you prepare it, it’s going to taste delicious.  (see: Yogurt Quinoa Parfait and Strawberries and Cream Breakfast Quinoa)Red Quinoa Bowl with Lime Cilantro Ranch DressingThis dish is quite simple and easy to whip up. The most time consuming part for me was making the lime cilantro ranch dressing. Trader Joe’s happens to sell a cilantro dressing, but I opted to make my own version.

You can’t go wrong with this dish. It’s like a vegetarian burrito in a bowl without the extra carbs of a tortilla. And it’s gluten-free.

Not only is the quinoa bowl easy to make ahead of time, it holds up well in the fridge making a perfect lunch to bring to the office. Say hello to my designated lunch option for Meatless Mondays!

I’m not one to patiently sit around and wait. So while the universe does its thing, I will be doing my part by going out there and trying to make it happen. Give me time readers, one day that dream job will be all mine…

Red Quinoa Bowl with Lime Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Red Quinoa Bowl with Lime Cilantro Ranch Dressing

Author Maryanne Cabrera


Red Quinoa Bowl:

  • 1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cup chicken or vegetable broth, reduced-sodium variety
  • 1-15 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup roasted corn kernels
  • 1 avocado, large dice
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tablespoon chopped jalapeño, deseeded if desired
  • sour cream, to garnish
  • chopped cilantro, to garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Lime Cilantro Ranch Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh squeeze lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon ranch powder
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeño
  • 3 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Red Quinoa:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions using broth. Place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups broth in medium sauce pot. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover pot and cook for 12-15 minutes until all the broth has been absorbed by the quinoa. Remove cover and fluff with a fork. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, combine black beans, roasted corn, avocado, cherry tomatoes, red onion and jalapeño. Add about half of the lime cilantro ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Set aside.

  3. To serve, distribute cooked quinoa between serving bowls. Top with bean, corn, avocado mixture. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of chopped cilantro, and a wedge of lime. Serve with additional lime cilantro ranch dressing on the side.

Lime Cilantro Ranch Dressing:

  1. In a food processor, combine cilantro, sour cream, lime juice, ranch powder, and jalapeño. With the processor running, drizzle in olive oil. Pulse until mixture is smooth and homogenous. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes


Red Quinoa Bowl with Lime Cilantro Ranch Dressing

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genevieve y

This has everything I love in a meal. I hope the spring and summer sunshine comes soon so I can enjoy this outdoors!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Me too! I can’t wait until tomatoes are in season so I can add a nice salsa! :)

[email protected]'s Recipes

Had some red quinoa salad with strawberries for the lunch today… yours with ranch dressing!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Angie! Red quinoa with strawberries sounds perfect for spring :)


lately i’ve been experimenting with red quinoa and it really frustrates me at times.. The first time i cooked, i’ve done everything wrong and ended up with chewy – very sesame-ish particles instead of a fluffy pilaf. The second time though I was more careful, and the seeds were not as flat, yet I feel like I’m doing something wrong. Maybe it’s the natural texture of it, I wouldn’t know because never eaten it before. Is it supposed to be crunchy, even when it’s perfectly cooked? If not, can you give me some tips? :| Also, I wonder if white quinoa is the same or turns out more soft and fluffy when cooked? Thank you already!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Hi Ceren, red quinoa and white quinoa are essentially the same. The only difference is the color. If you have trouble cooking quinoa on the stove, you can also cook it in a rice cooker.

    Before you cook the quinoa, be sure to rinse it with cool water. Drain it and then add cooking liquid. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 12-15 minutes until all the cooking liquid as been absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit covered for another 3-5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

    Cooked quinoa isn’t as soft as rice, it will still have a little of a bite, but it’s not supposed to be crunchy. I hope that helps!


For how many persons does this recipe Yield?..


This is so delicious! Any idea how long the dressing keeps for??


This salad was soooooo good! I didn’t have any quinoa, so I substituted Hawaiaan Sweet Onion potato chips. My husband loved it, and so did our teenager… will become a regular for us.

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks for trying out the recipe! Glad you and the family enjoyed it!

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