This simple Mexican-style quinoa salad gets tons of flavor from a dressing of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce sweetened over crunchy veggies, black beans and huge chunks of avocado.
Be forewarned, this might be one of those recipes you make once, then the next time you make it you’ll want to adapt it to suit your taste.
Than you chipotle peppers.
I think that challenge might be why they’re one of my favorite flavors, because they always keep me guessing.
I had this salad after picking it up at the grocery store when visiting my sister in Houston. I knew immediately I had to figure it out and share it here. I hope I’ve done it justice.
Word is, I did.
I took this salad to a 4th of July bbq and one of my friends who is gluten-free was SO happy someone had brought something besides pasta salad. Grateful even. I’m just here to make people happy to eat food. It’s my job.
About the Recipe
The girth aka body of this salad is protein-packed, gluten-free quinoa. Quinoa is one of those grains that adopts the flavors it’s cooked with as it doesn’t have much if any of its own. I used tri-color quinoa only for presentation sake. You can use whatever color/style you have on hand. You can cook your quinoa in water as suggested on the package, but for a bit more flavor I cook it in chicken or vegetable broth with a pinch of salt. I find it’s just what it needs for a bit more flavor-flave.
This salad’s veggie component has a distinctively flavorful flair, in large part to grilling the corn. Now, you could go ahead and use frozen corn if you’d like, but you’ll be missing out on the smoky flavor that comes from grilling the corn, and is one of my favorite, crunchy parts.
The dressing is really where you’re going to have to dictate to your individual taste. Chipotle peppers can be hot, hot, hot. The adobo sauce they’re packed in adds the smokey flavor. I tend to go a bit heavy on the spicy and smokey because once the dressing is added to the quinoa (remember how quinoa adopts whatever flavor it’s paired with?) the dressing really mellows out.
That’s why this might be a salad you make once, then adapt the next time to suit your tastebuds.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad with Avocado
- 3 cups chicken broth or water
- 2 cup tri-color quinoa
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt , divided
- 2 ears of grilled corn , husks removed
- 1 red bell pepper , cored, seeded and diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes , halved
- 1 15- ounce can black beans , drained
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 avocados , seeds removed and cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice , from about 4 limes
- 2-3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce , minced, plus 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and season with the 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, bring back to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the broth has absorbed and the quinoa is tender with the “tails” of the quinoa appearing. Add more broth or water as needed. Spread the cooked quinoa on a baking sheet to cool. When cool, add to a large serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat the grill to high and grill the corn, turning occasionally, until the corn is tender and charred in spots, about 5-10 minutes. Cut the corn from the cob and add to a large bowl with the red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, drained black beans, chopped red onion and avocado chunks and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.
- In a small bowl, mix the vegetable oil, lime juice, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey cumin and remaining 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk together and taste for seasonings and spiciness of the chipotle peppers. It should taste pretty spicy as it will dilute once added to the quinoa.
- Drizzle over the quinoa and vegetables and gently fold to combine, taking care with the avocados so they don’t break apart.
- Taste for seasonings and add more salt to taste. If you like it more spicy, mix more adobo with 1 -2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and fold in.
- Sprinkle with more cilantro if desired. Can be refrigerated overnight if desired.
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