This 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!
I remember when we first moved into our current house. I felt like “Holy knights of Columbus, can I get a heck ya?! “ And while our furniture was in place, prep bowls had found their new home, and towels were in the linen closet, it did not mean all of the boxes were dismantled or that we could actually see the inside of our garage.
Amidst the painstaking joys of moving, I still made time to cook, though. Ain’t nobody interfering with my veggies on the grill and a great grainy salad.
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 – like a little dance in your mouth with every bite.
Quinoa Salad Dressing
The dressing for this salad is simply made up of olive oil, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, and salt – and it is incredible!
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.
Quinoa Salad Video
How To Make Quinoa Salad
To make this Quinoa Salad recipe, follow the steps below included in the printable recipe card. Make sure to refer back to the article for all the helpful tips!
Other Summer Salads We Love!
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Broccoli Salad
- Strawberry Spinach 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.