This healthy salad features protein-packed quinoa and beans, grilled corn, queso, and a yummy honey-lime vinaigrette, for an easy and delicious side dish.
I’m partial to recipes that put me somewhere in the vicinity of where their flavors hail from.
I suppose I think if I close my eyes and simply say the dish’s name over and over, then take a bite, maybe it will teleport me to a seaside port or salty desert oasis.
Sort of I Dream of Jeannie-esque, except I’m wishing for food instead of my master. Or maybe they’re one in the same?
I served this recipe at my daughter’s family birthday party to several quinoa virgins who were more than pleased with their second helpings. Or maybe thirds?
About the Recipe
This quinoa salad finds its flavors in the Southwest. No cactus, no coyotes and we left the chunky turquoise at the gift shop. Elements of this salad remind me of one I’ve had once or twice before from the Whole Foods salad bar. My version delivers plenty of zippy flavor with some earthy depth thanks to the grill.
Grilling the corn while still on the cob sweetens even the earliest picked cobs. Normally I’ll soak the cobs while still in their husks but this day I simply went for it and tossed them straight on the grates, then husked them when cooled. If you’d like to see a bit more char on your corn, simply roast them sans husk.
I used both plain and red protein-packed quinoa for some visual texture and added black beans for even more protein and southwest flavor. Contrasting the spunky onion flavor is a jar of DeLallo Pepperazzi™ peppers I keep stocked in my pantry. They’re pickled and a little sweet, and a little spicy, and man, I love to snack on them whole but in this salad, I’ve chopped them up for a sweet flair. If you’d like, you can substitute chopped fresh sweet peppers for the pickled version.
I’ve given ingredient measurements for the cilantro and queso, but in my opinion, you can’t have too much of either so add more to fit your pleasure. If however, you’re simply not a cilantro lover, sub in leafy flat leaf Italian parsley or tarragon would add good flavor too.
The 4 ingredient dressing is what brings this salad all together with the tang of lime sweetened with honey. A dash or more of the reserved pickled pepper juice adds even more sweetness if you’d like.
Southwest Quinoa and Grilled Corn Salad
- 4 cobs fresh corn
- 2 cups quinoa white or red or a combo
- kosher salt
- 1/2 red onion chopped, about 1/2 cup
- 1 6- ounce jar tri-color Pepperazzi™ peppers sweet pickled peppers, chopped
- 2 15- ounce cans black beans rinsed and drained
- Juice of 6 limes
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 4 ounces Mexican queso or feta cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Grill the cobs of corn in their husks over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the grill, cool and then shuck. Cut the corn from the husks and place the cut kernals in a large mixing bowl.
While the corn is grilling, cook the quinoa in 4 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt according to package directions. After cooking, set aside to cool then add to the bowl with the corn, red onion, Pepperazzi™i peppers, black beans, cheese and cilantro.
Whisk the lime juice, vegetable oil, honey and cumin together in a small bowl and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add more honey to your taste. Pour over the quinoa mix, and stir gently to coat. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Looking for another flavorful, health-conscious salad? Give my Thai Quinoa Salad a spin and win.
Thanks for stopping by, have a great day and make something good.
This is not a sponsored post, I just love those peppers and think you should too! As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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