Toasted Quinoa Salad With Cumin-Lime Dressing

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by Amy Flanigan on August 9, 2011 · 19 comments

Holy knights of Columbus, we are all moved in. Can I get a heck ya?! Of course, when I say we’re “all moved in,” that means our furniture is in place, prep bowls have found their new home, and towels are in the linen closet, not the living room. It does not mean all of the boxes have been dismantled and we can actually see the inside of our garage. Bwahahahahahaha. Ya, right. I give that another 4 years months weeks.

Amidst the painstaking joys of moving, I haven’t been able to watch The Daily Show or Tosh.O…I feel so disconnected with the world. But I’ve still been cooking. I refuse to let anything interfere with my love of summer food. Which is to say, veggies on the grill and a great grainy salad.

Never had quinoa? Its texture reminds me a little of couscous, with a mild, slightly nutty flavor. The wowza part in this particular salad comes from the cumin and lime commingling, the sweetness from the corn, and the buttery avocado – like a little dance in your mouth with every bite. You know what I’m talking ’bout.

Don’t shy away from the 1 hour meter. A lot of that time is spent just waiting for the ingredients to cool before you can combine it all.

This is summer in a bowl. And I don’t want it to end.

Toasted Quinoa Salad
Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

• 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 garlic clove, grated
• 1 teaspoon coarse salt

• 1 1/2 cups quinoa
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
• 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
• 4 scallions cut into 1/4 inches pieces
• 1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
• 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water for at least 45 seconds. 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. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand, uncovered, until cool, about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, sprinkle the cumin in a small skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. When the skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic and salt. Transfer to a large bowl, and whisk to blend.

Add the cooled quinoa, corn, tomatoes and scallions to the dressing, and toss to blend.

Spoon the salad onto a large platter, and garnish with the avocado and cilantro.

(another gem from Melissa at Alosha’s Kitchen)

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly June 20, 2013 at 12:47 pm

This salad is AWESOME! I am on a strict anti-inflammatory diet and everything in this salad I can eat and it’s delicious. What a healthy side-dish or meal! THANKS


Amy June 20, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Yay! I’m so happy to hear it, Molly! I haven’t made this in ages, but remember how much I loved it. Thanks for the reminder!


Kelli February 17, 2012 at 7:54 am

i’m sooo glad i found your website!! love the baked goods and want to try your vegetarian goodies too. thanks!!


Stephanie August 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Love me some quinoa salad. Yours looks delish, as always. Love the combo of veggies. And you’re so right…it IS summer in a bowl. BUT, I’m ready for fall in my bowl. :)


Melissa August 10, 2011 at 7:03 am

This was your first time?? Ooooo. :D So glad it was with this dish. I love it so much, and I really need to make it again, with both avocado and chicken. I’ve had it with one or the other (yuuuuum), but not both.


Amy August 10, 2011 at 9:09 am

You turned me onto bulgur wheat too. You’re like my grainy guinea pig. :D


Melissa August 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

*Giggle* That sounds hilarious.


Amy August 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I even laughed as I wrote it :D


Jenna August 10, 2011 at 6:55 am

I’m trying this next week–just added the ingredients to my grocery list. Yum!! And I’ll definitely give you a resounding ‘heck yeah!’ for your successful move in.


Becki (Becki's Whole Life) August 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I have never toasted quinoa before, but I imagine it adds lots of flavor. this looks wonderful – love the dressing and the avocado on top. Yum!


Lynn August 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm

LOVE THIS IDEA! Ever since “I discovered” quinoa, I’ve shunned couscous! LOL, quinoa POPS and couscous mooshes! Altho I do like couscous in the fall in a room temp winter squash salad, quinoa is my choice for FRESH, non-mooshy dishes. This sounds great. Thanks!


Amy August 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Greetings Lynn – I’m a huge fan of couscous, but I know what you mean re: the soft texture and clumping. However, I’m a huge pearl/Israeli couscous convert, which doesn’t have that problem. You should try it :D


Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary August 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Looks and sounds amazing.

I have quinoa on my grocery list. I had a hankering for it and BAM – here you are with it!

Happy unpacking! (I mean that in the nicest way)


Joanne August 9, 2011 at 11:38 am

Lucky for YOU, missy, where YOU live, the summer never REALLY ends. At least not compared to the way it ends here.

Kudos to you on “unpacking”! I’ve been living in my place for two years and, well, let’s not talk about it.

Love the summer flavors in this. Gotta enjoy them while I still can!


Jude August 9, 2011 at 11:12 am

Love me some quinoa. This will be a nice little side to my veggie burger!


Sandi August 9, 2011 at 9:54 am

I never even heard of Quinoa. We love couscous!!!


Amy August 9, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Me too, Sandi. This was a nice change of pace, though. I love discovering new grains.


Curt August 9, 2011 at 8:46 am

I’ve never eaten quinoa, but I know it’s very healthy. Maybe it’s time to try it out. I know I definitely like cumin!


Amy August 9, 2011 at 1:28 pm

This was my first time trying it too. I really liked it. And good thing, because I only used 1/3 of the bag.


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