This Summer Quinoa Salad is a great example of how something vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free can still be amazing. With corn, tomatoes, and avocado, it’s a simple and healthy cold salad that’s perfect for a hot summer night. Wow your guests at the next get together – I guarantee they’ll ask for the recipe!
Easy Quinoa Salad Recipe
Quinoa is a grain that’s high in fiber and protein, and is known as a superfood. It has a texture similar to couscous, with a mild, slightly nutty flavor – and perfect for this salad. The wowza part comes from the cumin and lime dressing, the sweetness from the corn, and the buttery avocado. The dressing for this salad is simply made up of olive oil, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, and salt – and it is incredible! It’s like a little dance in your mouth with every bite.
How to Cook Quinoa for Salad
- Rinse: There’s an outer layer on quinoa that can sometimes taste bitter, so rinsing it ensures that bitterness doesn’t come through in the salad.
- Toast: Don’t skip toasting the quinoa. It really adds a nice depth of flavor to the recipe.
- Cool down: If you want to speed up the cooling process for the quinoa, put it in a separate bowl and stick it in the fridge while you prep the dressing.
- Want it less spicy? This salad has mild heat, but if you don’t like spicy at all, omit the jalapeno.
- Use canned products if you’re in a pinch: The fresh ingredients really make this dish, but you can use canned corn or bottled lime juice, if necessary. If you use canned corn, just be sure to drain it.
- Don’t like cilantro? Replace it with fresh parsley.
Any leftover quinoa salad will last in the fridge up to 3 days in an airtight container. It is not freezer-friendly.
More Summer Salads:
- Big Mac Salad
- Chicken Salad
- Caprese Corn Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Broccoli Salad
Summer Quinoa Salad
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice , plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper , plus more to taste
- 1 clove garlic , grated
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes , halved or quartered
- 4 scallions , diced
- 1 ripe avocado , diced
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water; shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.
- Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is light golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add 2 cups water to the quinoa, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent, 18 to 20 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork; let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk together the cumin, 4 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, and salt until combined.
- Add in the cooled quinoa, corn, tomatoes, and scallions to the dressing; toss gently to blend.
- Spoon the salad onto a large platter, and garnish with the avocado and cilantro.