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Super simple to make and bursting with flavor, this mango quinoa salad with shrimp is the perfect make ahead meal! It is a great cold salad for toddlers and older children.

a close up shot of the quinoa salad with chopped shrimp, cilantro, and lime slice.
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all the ingredients for the quinoa salad laid out on a white board.

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Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa and place in the fridge.
  2. Chop mango and vegetables.
  3. Cook shrimp.
  4. Make the dressing.
  5. Toss all the ingredients together.

Tips for Success

all of the ingredients mixed in a large stainless bowl.

Make this in advance as the flavors will meld and become more delicious in the fridge. I can’t emphasize this enough! I actually make it the night before to enjoy the next day, but at the very least, make it several hours prior to eating.

Hold off on adding the shrimp until ready to serve. Same for the avocado as it will discolor and get mushy.

As for the mango, if it is really ripe then hold off and add with the avocado. Firmer mangoes will work better for this salad.

Quinoa salad for babies

mashed avocado and quinoa with a big strip of mango in a baby bowl with a spoon.

I wouldn’t serve this salad to babies as it has a lot of raw vegetables. But you can serve components of it so they can enjoy this meal alongside everyone else.

Mash the avocado and combine with quinoa to prevent the tiny grains from flying everywhere (been there). You can also add finely chopped shrimp and serve a big stick of mango on the side – since it’s quite slippery, try coating with hemp or flax seeds. Will boost nutrition too!

Here are our favorite baby’s plates, bowls, and spoons.

How to serve to toddlers

a large bowl with mango quinoa salad and a smaller bowl above with toddler's hand scooping the salad.

Run your knife through the mixture to make sure there are no large pieces of shrimp and vegetables.

If your child has a difficult time using their spoon or prefers to eat with their hands, combine the salad with mashed avocado to help bind the quinoa.

If your child is not a fan of mixed dishes, try serving it deconstructed. Set aside a small portion of quinoa, veggies, mango, shrimp, and dressing before combining everything for the rest of the family.

Allow your child to have full control over how they want to assemble.

toddler pushing bowl away

Is your toddler becoming picky?

Arm yourself with these strategies that will transform your mealtimes!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which variety of quinoa to use?

You can use any! The big difference is the texture. Red and tricolor ones are firmer in texture and also tend to be a bit more bitter. I like to use white quinoa when enjoying with my baby because it gets soft and fluffy once cooked. 

Can I use different vegetables?

Of course! corn, colored bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, cooked sweet potatoes…all delicious!

Can I substitute shrimp?

Yup! You can leave it out completely or add chicken, tofu, or salmon.

How to store?

Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. I wouldn’t freeze this.

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

5 from 1 vote

Mango Quinoa Salad with shrimp

Super simple to make and bursting with flavor, this mango quinoa salad with shrimp is the perfect make ahead meal! It is a great cold salad for toddlers and older children.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6
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  • 1 cup (195g) quinoa, raw
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 cup (130g) cucumber, diced
  • ¾ cup (100g) cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • ½ cup (60g) red onion, finely chopped
  • 15 oz can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ tsp lime zest
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked paprika

To be added right before serving

  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 pound shrimp, cooked


  • Cook quinoa: rinse using a fine-mesh strainer. Bring quinoa and 2 cups of water to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes, covered. Use fork to fluff. Refrigerate.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice and zest, oil, cumin, and chili powder. Add to the large bowl and mix well. It is best served cold so plan on making several hours prior to eating.
  • In a large bowl, add the quinoa and mangoes, vegetables, and beans. Gently toss with dressing.
  • Refrigerate for at least several hours prior to serving. Overnight if able.
  • Add avocado and cooked shrimp right before enjoying.


  • Feel free to use whatever vegetables you wish.
  • Can also substitute shrimp with other protein.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.


Calories: 446kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 101mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 4mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

This post was first published in 2013 and has been updated with more detailed instructions and serving suggestions for babies and kids.

About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.


  1. What a beautiful quinoa salad!! 🙂 Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Hope your week is great!

    Cindy from

  2. What a fun day!! I love the idea of a healthy side to take to a picnic, just to have the options there! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Isn’t it always so great to see fresh, healthy options at gatherings like this? It was a fun, relaxing day..just what I needed ;).

  3. While the shrimp is a great addition to the salad, I didn’t add it to the salad I took to the picnic and everyone loved it so you can def leave it out. I think Mr. Bite will like it too ;).

  4. This is like my dream salad (minus the shrimp) 🙂 Delicious! It sounds like a fun picnic too – as you say, such a perfect summer activity.

  5. Looks delicious! I love me some quinoa and the fact that you added mango and shrimp to this makes it extra yummy! Great recipe and pictures! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Krista! I actually didn’t add the shrimp in the salad I took for the picnic. I just didn’t have enough and rather than teasing everyone with just a few, I decided to leave it out all together. The shrimp DEF adds a lot to the dish. Hope you give it a try!

  6. Hahaha Tim is too cool–I love that unashamed love he has for burgers and that tshirt. 😀 And this dish+picture look sooo amazing!

    1. Hi Ellie ssi. Wearing a burger t-shirt is one thing, but the big ole Domo not so much. I don’t know why he loves that character so much. What is it anyway? A giant bread with teeth? sigh..

  7. Thanks for your introduction to the dish dear Min!! And of course, thank you once again for taking your time to guest post! I’m glad you had a great time at your church picnic! Btw….! Tim really loves burgers huh? Burgers on his shirt and in his hands everytime I see a pic of him!! HELLO TIM! Have a great week guys!

    1. You’re welcome, Felicia! The picnic was a lot of fun although the weather was quite brutal. And yes, he is obsessed with burgers. Sigh..But he behaves the rest of the week so a burger once a week is fine by me ;). Hope you have a great week as well!