Toasted Quinoa Salad

Toasted Quinoa Salad
courtesy of Ezra Pound Cake


For the salad:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
1 cup diced (1/2 inch) cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup thin-sliced (1/4 inch) scallions (white and green parts)

For the dressing:
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

For the garnish:
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)
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 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.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: 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.


Holy crap, people. Hoe. Lee. Crap.

This is the best salad I have ever had in my life. I knew when I spotted the recipe that it would be good, but this… this blew me away.

The nutty flavor of the quinoa blends with the sweetness of the corn, the acidity of the tomatoes and the creaminess of the avocado and then, THEN, you get hit with the jalapeno lime toasted cumin dressing. My god, the dressing. The smell of it in the bowl when you whisk it together is intoxicating, and I don’t use that word lightly.

A “must make” before summer is over. Must.


38 thoughts on “Toasted Quinoa Salad

  1. Hey. Guess what I'm making right. now.? Guess what I'm taking with us to eat at the big old festival where the boys are selling tomorrow! I'm making this! And the smell is killing me it's so good.


  2. I was searching for a new quinoa recipe and ended up on your blog. This is the absolute best quinoa salad I've ever had! I've shared your recipe with at least a dozen friends, It's both simple and delicious! Out of curiosity I saw the links to your different sites and read a few of your entries. I'm inspired by your determination and dedication you've promised yourself. It was heartfelt and you showed true courage and strength. Keep those recipes coming! I'm trying out your curry chicken with spinach and cauliflower recipe tonight. πŸ™‚


  3. I cannot wait to try this! The photos are so helpful and beautiful. Toasting the cumin, do you just put the ground powder right into the pan (no oil or anything)? I've never done that before with a spice so pls excuse the silly question!


  4. I made this last night mostly as the recipe indicated, except that I added chick peas instead of corn and no jalapeΓ±os, and it was (and still is, as I'm eating the left-overs) DELICIOUS! Thank you for this great recipe!


  5. Okay… Here is a stupid question, but I have never cooked with Quinoa before. Is the 1 1/2 cups of Quinoa dry or cooked? Do I take a cup and a half and then cook it or cook it first and measure a cup and half?


  6. I went ahead and tried it for Thanksgiving and took a chance on the fact that it was probably the dry amount. It was a hit at our dinner and soooooo good! And I even had to substitute leeks for the green onions/scallions since every grocery store around me was out!!!


  7. Toasted Quinoa Salad courtesy of Ezra Pound Cake is the BOMB!!! It is so yummy. Everytime I make it people go nuts over it. The flavor of the cumin-lime dressing just makes it a hit, plus I add a couple heaping spoonfuls of my black bean and corn relish to it for added zip. MMMMM good!


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