Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, Avocado & Lime

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Here’s a healthy summer salad you can eat with abandon. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) — a high protein seed that has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture — is cooked with olive oil, onions and vegetable broth, which add wonderful flavor. Once cool, it’s tossed with crisp fresh corn, juicy tomatoes, jalapeños, creamy avocado and fresh lime. You can make it a day ahead of time; just be sure to add the avocado at the last minute so it doesn’t discolor.

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Quinoa Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, Avocado and Lime

Servings: 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion, from one small onion
  • 1 cup pre-washed quinoa (if not washed, follow package instructions for rinsing)
  • 1-2/3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, from 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh cut cooked corn, from 2 cobs
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 large lime
  • 1 avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the quinoa to the onions and continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Cover the pan tightly with a lid, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 17-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator.
  3. When the quinoa is cool, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, tomatoes, corn, scallions, jalapeno, cilantro, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Right before serving, scatter the avocado chunks over top.
  4. Note: The quinoa will cling to the avocado, so it's best to scatter it over top rather than mix it in. Also, be very careful when chopping jalapeño peppers. The juices and seeds can irritate your skin so it's a good idea to wear gloves; at the very least, keep your hands away from your eyes and wash them well when done.
  5. Note: (If you touch the seeds of the jalapeño pepper, just be sure to wash your hands well and avoid touching your eyes.)

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 357
  • Fat: 17g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Sodium: 614mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • This is such a simple and relish recipe to make! Always popular at gatherings. Doesn’t keep very long in the fridge for leftovers as the tomatoes dry out and avocado gets brown.

    • — Emma on October 4, 2018
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  • FINALLY!! I understand why quinoa has always been so off when I’ve made it in the past, thank you so so much for your directions regarding the liquid ratio! This dish sounded fresh and delicious, but I never expected all the ingredients to come together like they did. It was the most flavorful and delicious quinoa I’ve ever had 🙂 Thank you for another amazing recipe!

    • — Natalie on April 12, 2018
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  • This recipe is fantastic! I made it about once a week during the summer. I followed the recipe each time and it was delicious. Great to have as a meal to cut down on my meat consumption.

    • — Laura on November 30, 2017
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  • My daughter and I love this dish.We are not a fan of chilled quinoa, so we add the corn, tomatoes, etc directly to the quinoa once it has cooked eat it without chilling. It is amazing!

    • — Dawn Hagen on May 29, 2017
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  • I made this salad on Sunday and I have been taking this to work for lunches. It has made me look forward to lunch each day. The avocado I add at the last minute so the color stays bright. The flavor is wonderful, the lime juice adds such freshness. I also used red quinoa which added a deeper color.

    • — Trudy Black on May 3, 2017
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  • My family of four loved this salad, and we ate it as our main course. It was great to see my two toddlers devour so many healthy ingredients. I’m looking forward to compliments when I bring this to summer potluck parties.

    • — Mallory on April 27, 2017
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  • Thanks Jen. This was perfect. Yesterday was Good Friday so the husband and the MIL couldn’t eat meat and I’m observing Passover so no pasta. The whole menu came from you. Blackened tilapia, garlicky roasted broccoli and this. My MIL said everything was wonderful.

    • — Stacy on April 15, 2017
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  • If I didn’t add the avocado, how long will this salad last? I’ve had your Thai quinoa salad two days later and it was still great. Is this similar

    • — P on March 27, 2017
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    • It’s probably best on the first day or two, but keeps nicely for several days.

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2017
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  • This was excellent. I cooked the white part of the scallions into the quinoa and used half of the oil to save calories and it was fine.

  • This was really delicious, fresh, healthy with a little kick to it!

    • — Mary on August 14, 2015
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  • I just wanted to say how yummy this quinoa salad is!!! I’ve added chicken or beef & served it over lettuce leaves and made a main course light dinner of it. Its great on a hot day. Thanks for sharing this.

    • — Sheri on July 13, 2015
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  • I’d like to make this dish today…not the season for fresh corn. Suggestions on what I might sub for the corn? Love, love your site and recipes!!!

    • — Donna Cammack on January 10, 2015
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    • Hi Donna, So glad you’re enjoying the recipes! You could always use frozen corn or just increase the other add-ins.

      • — Jenn on January 10, 2015
      • Reply
  • Oops, of course it was a 5 star receipe!!

    • — Pat Guarnero on December 19, 2014
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  • This recipe was so delicious! Everyone enjoyed it so much that there weren’t any leftovers. So much so, that my family requested I make it again… now. Once again, thoroughly enjoyed. Our new favorite!

    • — Pat Guarnero on December 19, 2014
    • Reply
  • I have never made quinoa before and decided I wanted to try a quinoa salad for a summer potluck. Not only is this recipe super easy and full of flavor, it was a huge crowd pleaser! I had to scrap the bowl after to get a little more as it was gobbled all up! Several people from the potluck now have this recipe to make on their own, too! Definitely doubling the batch for the next potluck I bring this to!

  • I made this qunioa recipe and I was amazed. I’ve never cooked with quinia before but my doctor recommended I eat more protein so I wanted to give quinioa a try. This recipe really was easy. I didn’t have the jalepeno or avacado (I simply forgot to add the avacado … oops) an it was still delicious! I think the jalepeno would have improved the dish a bit. I’ll be sure to include it next time. All around healthy side dish. I’m looking forward to trying some more recipes with lots of veggies.

    • — Chrissy on July 21, 2014
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  • I am not a very good cook and I just stumbled upon Jenn’s website yesterday as I was looking for some nice summer salads. This salad is awesome and very easy to make. I have now made the Black Bean & Corn Salad for tonight and every time I stir it I sneak a bite. Wow is all I can say. This is exactly the kind of cooking I have been looking for. I always tell everyone if I win the lottery the first thing I am going to do is hire a personal chef, but after finding Jenn’s website, I may have to rethink that. Thanks for keeping is simple and real.

    • — Kerrie Stavig on July 8, 2014
    • Reply
  • Have you made this with bulgur by any chance? Would you recommend it?

    • — Renee on September 4, 2013
    • Reply
    • I haven’t Renee but it should work fine.

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2013
      • Reply
  • I could NOT stop making this salad all summer long! It’s healthy and delicious! What else could you want! Thank you for this recipe Jennifer, it’s full of flavor, perfectly balanced!
    The first time I made it, I misread the recipe and used fresh uncooked corn… was devine….a good mistake, it added a little crunch!

    • — Katzzz on October 9, 2012
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  • This is my go-to salad now. Delicious and colorful!

    • — Karen on October 2, 2012
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  • We love quinoa, and this was a great accompaniment to grilled chicken. I grilled the corn as well!

  • this is very tasty. if i have leftover corn i will put it in if not i use frozen

    • — teri pastorino on June 20, 2012
    • Reply
  • Thanks so much for this recipe! My children love it as well! Takes great with all the veggies in my vegetable bin!

    • — Judi on May 16, 2012
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  • This salad is delicious and so easy to make – even my two year old twins like it. It keeps well for several days.

    • — Shelley Thomas on May 15, 2012
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  • My husband has a new quinoa thing going on so i’m looking for new recipes. this one was a hit. followed a link over here from huffpo on salads and found that I like everything i see over here!

    • — Lindsay on May 15, 2012
    • Reply
  • This is a delicious, light and refreshing salad that I will definitely make again.

    • — Lesley on March 6, 2012
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love this salad. It reminds me of summer, so healthy and fresh. I’ve used frozen corn in the winter when fresh was not available, and omitted the avocado.

    • — Julie Backas on March 2, 2012
    • Reply
  • I make this salad at least 2-3 times a month and always receive rave reviews. It’s so healthy, clean, and has great flavor. Sometimes I will throw in baby spinach or arugula if I am feeding more people and need to fill the salad.

    • — Crystal Soto on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • Love quinoa! It’s great for gluten free people like me :-). Thanks for the yummy idea!

    • — Melissa Norton on March 1, 2012
    • Reply
  • Hi, I’d love to make this, but always click on the area to save it under my recipes. I don’t see that at all & it takes me to another website & I can’t “copy & past”. Can you help?

    • — Joy on August 9, 2011
    • Reply

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