Tequila Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad | iowagirleats.com

Happy Monday everyone! How was your weekend? The boys and I traveled to western Iowa to celebrate Ben’s Grandma for a few days. Sadly, she passed away earlier this year and although it was a sorrowful reason that brought us together, it was great to see family that’s spread far and wide to celebrate her life.


The town where she’s from is on a lake and our hotel room was right at the shoreline. It’s so peaceful waking up and going to bed with this view.


The hotel also had a water park so Lincoln and the other young cousins took a dip in the pool on Saturday. Precious! At first he wasn’t sure what to make of all the cannon-balling-kids and deep water, but after a few minutes he started kicking his feet and splashing his arms. I guess practice makes perfect because he absolutely soaked both the bathroom and myself during last night’s bath!


Although Lincoln was only able to meet his Great-Grandma on Facetime when he was a few months old, we’re happy he was able to help celebrate his spunky, funky wonderful Grammy Mut this weekend!


In food-news, I have a fresh and healthy recipe to share with you today – Tequilia-Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad.

Tequila Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad | iowagirleats.com

This recipe is a frankenstein combination of a million recipes here on IGE…ok four. But still!

Cooked quinoa tossed with black beans, sweet corn, cilantro, and red onion resembles my Best-Ever Southwestern Black Bean Dip but the Chili Lime Vinaigrette that’s drizzled on top is from my Grilled Corn Orzo SaladFresh Margarita Chicken-inspired tequila and lime-spiked shrimp is the punctuation on top and the whole thing more than resembles my Superfood Salad, which was a total accident.

I guess I know what I like!

Even more frankenstein is how it ended up being a salad. My original intent was to make tequila-lime tacos, which morphed into nachos, then enchiladas (can you tell I’ve been craving Mexican food lately?!) before I realized it’s been a grip since I posted a quinoa recipe and, well, here we are. 

The ingredient list for this recipe looks long, but most of it is fridge and pantry staples – quinoa, extra virgin olive oil, limes, salt, pepper, common spices, etc. Besides, the steps are simple which means you can enjoy this healthy, protein-packed salad for lunch or dinner any day of the week.

If you make it for any reason, do it to taste the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette which is 100% spoon-drink worthy!

Tequila Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad | iowagirleats.com

Start by rinsing 1 cup quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to remove a naturally-occurring bitter substance on the outside of the quinoa. I’ve had people write to me in the past asking why their quinoa tasted off – it’s most likely because it wasn’t rinsed. Give it a good bath and you’ll notice a difference!

Add the rinsed quinoa to 1-3/4 cup boiling chicken broth (could use vegetable broth) then place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer until the quinoa is tender and broth has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork then scoop into a big mixing bowl and let it cool for a bit.

Tequila Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad | iowagirleats.com

Meanwhile, get the shrimp marinade ready which is centered around, you guessed it, TEQUILA! I usually keep tequila in the house for Dad’s Killer Beergaritas and, well, that’s pretty much it. That being said, I’m working on an epic margarita recipe due to you in the next couple of weeks, so there’s that.


I used silver tequila though I’m sure gold would work great too. Just use whatever you’ve got. The flavor is mild in the shrimp, but present. Really, really good!


Add 1/4 cup tequila to a large bowl along with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, the juice of 2 limes, 1 chopped shallot, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 Tablespoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and LOTS of salt and pepper. What’s tequila and lime without a little salt?

Whisk the marinade to combine then add 3/4lb raw, peeled and de-veined shrimp then pop it in the fridge to marinate for 10-15 minutes. You won’t want to marinate longer or else the lime juice will start cooking the shrimp and you’ll have ceviche. A delicious dish indeed, but not what we’re going after here!

FYI: I buy frozen shrimp then thaw in a bowl of cool water for 20 minutes. Make sure the package says raw and not pre-cooked.


After the shrimp have marinated, sear them for 1-2 minutes a side in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You might want to do this in 2 or 3 batches. Once they’re cooked, add the shrimp to the bowl with the quinoa.


Last step is making the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette. This stuff is AMAAAAAAYZING – definitely one of my all-time favorite homemade vinaigrettes. Simply combine 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil with 2 Tablespoons honey, the juice of 1 lime, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid or bowl then shake or whisk to combine. This makes an excellent chicken marinade, by the way.


Time to assemble! To the bowl with the quinoa and shrimp add a 15oz can drained then rinsed black beans and 15oz can sweet corn (or 1-3/4 cups fresh or frozen-then-thawed corn,) 1/2 chopped red onion, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and 1 chopped avocado (unpictured.)


Drizzle on the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette then toss to combine, and then taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Scoop into bowls then enjoy warm or pop in the fridge and eat cold later on!

Tequila Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad | iowagirleats.com

Tequila-Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad

Gluten-free Tequila-Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad is healthy, fresh, and popping with bold flavors.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 1135 kcal


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth could use vegetable broth or water
  • 15 oz can corn drained (or 1-3/4 cup fresh or frozen-then-thawed corn)
  • 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado chopped
  • 1/2 red onion minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

For the Tequila-Lime Shrimp:

  • 3/4 lb 12oz raw peeled and de-veined shrimp
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper

For the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper


  • Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then add quinoa and place a lid on top. Turn heat down to medium-low then simmer until quinoa is tender and broth has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork then transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.

For the Tequila-Lime Shrimp:

  • Whisk together all ingredients except shrimp in a large bowl then add shrimp and marinate for 10 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then mist with olive oil or nonstick spray. Add shrimp, being careful not to crowd the pan (may need to do 2 or 3 batches,) then saute for 1-2 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Add to bowl with cooked quinoa.

For the Chili-Lime Vinaigrette:

  • Combine ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid or in a small bowl then shake or whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Add corn, black beans, avocado, red onion, and cilantro to the quinoa and shrimp then drizzle with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette. Toss to combine then taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.


  • For the entire recipe you'll need 3 limes.


Calories: 1135kcalCarbohydrates: 161gProtein: 32gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 1189mgPotassium: 1121mgFiber: 14gSugar: 103gVitamin A: 231IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 134mgIron: 5mg
Keyword gluten free
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Tequila Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad | iowagirleats.com

It’s tough to pick out my favorite part in a salad like this with so many wonderful flavors and textures going on! The tequila-lime shrimp totally pop but so does the sweet corn throughout. Of course the vinaigrette is a highlight too. Let’s just put it this way – ALL THE THINGS! ;) Enjoy!

Tequila Lime Shrimp and Quinoa Salad | iowagirleats.com