Southwestern Quinoa Corn Salad

This simple recipe featuring mega-healthy quinoa and fresh summer corn has a spicy, zesty kick that’s sure to add a little sizzle to your supper.

Native to South America, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a protein-rich seed with a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture and light nutty flavor. In addition to protein, it’s also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, copper and fiber.  Most commonly considered a grain, this ancient superfood was once considered "the gold of the Incas" due to its high nutrient content. Quinoa is gluten-free and ranges in color from pale yellow to red, brown and black.

It's important to rinse quinoa seeds well as they are naturally coated with saponin, a bitter substance that protects them against birds and other predators. Pour the quinoa in a large bowl filled with cold water and rub the seeds for a few minutes to release the saponin resin. Then put the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and hold it under running water, rinsing until the water runs clean.

Cooked quinoa freezes well. Consider preparing extra to have on hand for quick-prep meals. Allow to cool, then place in a plastic bag, flatten and seal. Thaw in the refrigerator overnigt or for several hours.

Southwestern Quinoa Corn Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or more to taste)
  • 3 scallions, minced
  • 2 tbsp finely minced chives
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp Tabasco or chipotle sauce (or to taste)
  • Avocado, diced (optional)


  1. Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve or strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold, running water.
  2. Bring water to boil in a small pot.
  3. Add the quinoa and salt and bring to boil again.
  4. Cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes.
  5. Turn of heat and keep the pot covered for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Strain off any excess liquid and spread the quinoa out on a tray to cool while preparing the other ingredients (or make ahead of time and let cool).
  7. Steam or lightly sauté corn until just tender.  Cool to room temperature.
  8. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss.
  9. Season with additional salt, pepper or hot sauce to taste
  10. Serve with fresh lime wedges and top with diced avocado (optional).

Adapted from rebar: modern food cookbook.