quick quinoa salad in just 3 steps

by Stacy

If you think back to New Food Friday, you may remember some nice red quinoa (“keen-wa”) and a brief mention of a salad I had used it in. Whether you were waiting for it, or if you voted for a quinoa post next on my Facebook page, or you just need a good lunch recipe, this post is for you!

quick quinoa salad

When I’m home and awake for more than 2 hours at a time I want to write up a more detailed post about what I’ve been taking for lunches, but today’s will have to be brief. Luckily this recipe is really straightforward. It’s amazing how flavorful such a simple dish can be.

This recipe is so delicious and easy that it’s hard to decide what I love most about it. It’s filling (but not heavy), healthy, and packed with protein. All the components can be prepared in advance. A large batch can be portioned out over several days (or take a big bowl of it to a potluck). See? Full of win.

A hint of crushed red pepper adds interest without being too spicy, and some creamy avocado balances out the zing of the vinegar. Some red pepper wouldn’t be out of place here except I was all out.

This salad feels a little summery to me, but we still have warm weather. Are you gearing up for fall yet?

quick quinoa salad

Quick Quinoa Salad

The trick to making this fast is to have quinoa and beans already cooked. Both can be cooked in batches and frozen for later, or canned beans are fine. As an added bonus this recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (I used red, any color works)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked beans, rinsed and drained (I used black)
  • 2 scallions, sliced into rounds
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels (I used frozen and didn’t even thaw them)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 a ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine quinoa, beans, scallions, corn, garlic, and cilantro.
  2. Stir together vinegar, pepper flakes, and salt, then whisk in olive oil. Pour dressing over salad and stir until glossy.
  3. Fold in diced avocado. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.

quick quinoa salad

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly September 14, 2010 at 10:57 am

So I notice this recipe calls for 1/2 an avocado. How do you keep the other half? In other words, do you have some super secret method that keeps it from turning brown and yucky looking?


Teri [a foodie stays fit] September 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Kimberly – if you leave the pit in the half of the avocado and wrap it tightly in saran wrap, it won’t go brown as quickly. Somehow, leaving that pit in works magic!


Stacy September 14, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Exactly this!

I would also recommend using a slightly firm avocado — not under-ripe, just not as soft as for guacamole. It’s easier to mix in. =)


Kimberly September 16, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Ok, I do leave the pit in and wrap in plastic wrap…so I guess I’m doing all that can be done :)


Stacy September 16, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Or the obvious solution is just eat the avocado faster ;p

Kimberly September 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm

What do you think I am, some kind of avocado eating machine??

Teri [a foodie stays fit] September 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I make a similar recipe to this one but mine doesn’t use vinegar. I think that could be the secret ingredient! Must try!


Stacy September 14, 2010 at 11:26 pm

The acidity just gives it a nice *pop* so it’s not too bland and starchy. I’ve been making tons of variations on this and my brown rice salad for lunches lately based on what I have in the fridge!


Kate September 14, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Thank you thank you thank you, I can never have enough quinoa salad recipes. One of my favorites is a black bean, mango & red onion quinoa salad. I can’t get enough of them – this one looks delicious!


Stacy September 14, 2010 at 11:27 pm

It’s funny you say that because I actually bought a mango intending to add it to this recipe but I was so busy that it got too ripe and I never tried it. =(


Kimberly July 27, 2011 at 7:22 am

Wanted you to know I am making this for a potluck tonight. I already had cooked beans, and I made quinoa last night so everything is ready to throw together after work.


Stacy July 28, 2011 at 9:21 am

Excellent! I hope it went over well. =)


Cookin' Canuck June 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Stacy, quinoa is one of our go-to grains. The texture, taste and ease of preparation make it such a great way to through together a salad quickly. Your version sounds fresh and so tasty!

I’d love for you to share this recipe (and any of your other favorite avocado recipes) in the avocado link-up/giveaway that I’m hosting with Kristen of Dine & Dish right now. http://bit.ly/NKF4rk


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