Confetti Quinoa Salad with Lime Dressing- One of my family’s all time favorite recipes, this colorful healthy quinoa salad is perfect for picnics, potlucks, barbecues, lunches, meal prep, and more! (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
Updated from the archives Mar 2021. Originally posted August 2011
In the years I’ve been blogging (13+!), I think this Confetti Quinoa Salad the recipe my family (my sisters, aunts, cousins, mom, etc.) has made the most.
It’s shown up at family get-togethers, on vacation in rental home kitchens, at church potlucks, holidays, and more. It’s everything good about quinoa salad–it has bright, fresh flavors, a delicious dressing, and it keeps well, which means you can serve it for a party or make it for a few days of healthy lunches.
I call it Confetti Quinoa Salad because of all the different colors flecked throughout. With the colorful mix of veggies, the plant-based protein, and the bright, happy lime dressing that ties it all together, it’s one of those recipes we make again and again all year round.
It’s a great recipe to bring to a get-together because it’s gluten free and vegetarian (or vegan), so it appeals to a wide variety of diets. And, it’s filling enough that it can be a light main course, but also makes a nice, colorful side dish at a potluck, barbecue, or family dinner. It can satisfy all your guests without anyone feeling they are going hungry, which always feels like a win!
Here’s what you need to get started on this delicious Confetti Quinoa Salad with Lime Dressing…
HERE’S WHAT GOES INTO OUR CONFETTI QUINOA SALAD:
- Cooked Quinoa. Cooked quinoa gives us a solid base for our Confetti Quinoa Salad. It’s a great source of plant-based protein, absorbs dressing like a pro, and keeps well in the fridge for a few days. (Learn how to cook quinoa here)
- Black Beans. Good old black beans are our next addition, adding more plant-based protein, a deep color, and some staying power to this quinoa salad to help keep you full longer.
- Bell Pepper. I love using colorful peppers for this salad. Red bell pepper is my go-to, but feel free to use whatever flavor you love best or looks best at the store.
- Mango. Sweet mango adds such a lovely flavor to Confetti Quinoa Salad and pairs so nicely with the lime dressing. I usually opt for Yellow Mangos (sometimes labeled Ataulfo, Honey, or Champagne mangos), since they are sweeter, have a smaller pit, and a less fibrous texture. Use whatever kind you can find! (Here’s how to cut a mango, if you’ve never done it before!)
- Avocado. Creamy avocado is SO GOOD here. I love the color and the healthy fat it adds to our salad. And don’t worry about it browning! The lime dressing will keep it looking fresh for days.
- Green Onion. For a mild onion flavor without the bite, a little green onion adds a lovely savory note that brings a nice balance to the salad.
- Cilantro. Since I’m a cilantro fan, I love adding it to Confetti Quinoa Salad. It adds fresh color, and a really fresh bright note of flavor. If you don’t like cilantro, feel free to leave it out.
- Lime Dressing. Lastly, we’ll finish the salad off with our fresh lime dressing. It’s bright, tangy, and just sweet enough to tie everything together.
MIX IT UP! TRY ONE OF THESE VARIATIONS ON OUR CONFETTI QUINOA SALAD:
I’ve made this a LOT of different ways over the years, but here are some of my favorite variations on our confetti quinoa salad recipe:
- ADD SOME GREENS! When I’m making this for lunches, I often chop up a cup or two of spinach to add to the salad. It’s an easy way to get in some more greens! (You can also massage some kale with the dressing and add it to the salad.)
- USE PEACHES INSTEAD OF MANGOES. In the summer, I sometimes swap the mango for fresh peaches. It’s really delicious and so lovely when peaches are in season!
- ADD CUMIN OR CHILI POWDER TO THE DRESSING. One variation I love for Confetti Quinoa Salad is to play up the Tex-Mex vibes by adding a little cumin or chili powder to the dressing. Tajin is also delicious! (It’s got lime + chili powder)
- MAKE IT A LITTLE SPICY! For a bit of kick, you can mince a little jalapeño to add to your salad. A little usually goes a long way, so I recommend starting small! (You can always add more, but you can’t easily take it out.)
- ADD CHICKEN. If you’re not eating plant-based, adding grilled or seasoned chicken is a great way to elevate Confetti Quinoa Salad to amazing main dish status. It’s also an easy way to use up leftovers! Win-win!
FAQ + TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST CONFETTI QUINOA SALAD:
HOW DO YOU COOK QUINOA? My favorite method for cooking quinoa can be found here. It’s quick, easy, and fuss-free, and gives you fluffy, perfectly cooked quinoa every time. You can use any kind of quinoa you like for Confetti Quinoa Salad–red, white, or a tricolor mix. I usually use white to let the other colors shine 😊
HOW LONG WILL CONFETTI QUINOA SALAD STAY FRESH? It’s a little surprising (considering there is diced mango and avocado in the recipe), but Confetti Quinoa Salad will stay fresh and vibrant for at LEAST 3-4 days, sometimes longer! The acidity of the lime in the dressing works its magic to keep the avocado from browning!
It keeps really well in mason jars (I don’t layer it–I just put the mixed salad in jars and screw on a reusable lid). Otherwise, just be sure to put it in an airtight container since minimizing the air will keep the avocado and mango from oxidizing.
HONEY, HONEY. Depending on how sweet your mango is, you may want to add a small drizzle of honey (or agave for a vegan version) to your lime dressing. It’s really nice with the added kiss of sweetness, but not always necessary. Follow your tastebuds!
WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE QUINOA? You *can* use cooked, cooled rice, or simply toss this mixture with greens for a fresh take.
LOVE THIS QUINOA SALAD? YOU MIGHT ALSO LOVE:
- Spring Roll Quinoa Salad with Coconut Peanut Drizzle (awesome for meal prep!)
- How to Cook Quinoa
- Powerhouse Quinoa Salad
- Thai Quinoa Crunch Salad With Peanut Dressing
- My Big Fat Greek Quinoa Salad