Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, Avocado & Lime

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This summer salad of quinoa tossed with crisp fresh corn, juicy tomatoes, jalapeños, creamy avocado and fresh lime is both healthy and filling.

Square plate of southwestern quinoa salad with corn, tomatoes, avocado, and lime.

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

This summer salad of quinoa tossed with crisp fresh corn, juicy tomatoes, jalapeños, creamy avocado and fresh lime is both healthy and filling.

Servings: 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion, from one small onion
  • 1 cup pre-washed quinoa (if not washed, follow package instructions for rinsing)
  • 1¼ to 1¾ cups vegetable broth (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 heaping cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1¼ cups fresh cut cooked corn, from 2 cobs
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • ⅓ 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 ½ 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 to 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 ½ 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: Different brands of quinoa call for different amounts of liquid; refer to the package instructions for the correct amount.

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.

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  • So delicious! I was able to use tomatoes, green onion, and jalapeño from my garden. I ate leftovers this morning with two eggs on top. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • — Kim on August 16, 2023
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  • SOOOOO good- ridiculously tasty! Thank you for this recipe (along with your others!)

    • — Janet P. on August 23, 2022
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  • Delicious! Added grilled chicken to make a dinner of it but next time will just make as is. Love your recipes!

  • Jenn! This was soooooooo good. So, so good. Had it for the 4th of July with your southwestern sliders and it is now my new favorite side dish. Healthy and really yummy.

  • Made this to accompany a midwinter smoked brisket. (Outside temp, -15C or 5F for those not metric! Nice day for a BBQ eh!) The only variation I did was to use pickled jalapenos instead of fresh. It was a nice foil for the smoked meat. And it just feels like a healthy choice!

  • Soooo good! Jenn’s method for preparing quinoa is perfect!

  • Thanks for the recipe. I still need to make it, so can’t rate yet but I’m sure it’s amazing. We don’t have fresh jalapenos over here in France. Can I use sliced jalapenos in water? And fresh corn as in raw, would be hard as a rock I assume? Do the cobs need to soak in water to soften up?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Claus, I think the salad will have a slightly different taste with the packaged jalapenos, but it should work. And the corn should be cooked before you add it to the salad. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • Hi Jenn! Thank you so much for your reply. I made it and it was awesome.
        Will try many other of your recipes soon.
        You are a great inspiration. Highly appreciate all you do.

  • This was my first time cooking quinoa. It is fabulously delicious. I couldn’t stop eating it. I will definitely make it again.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!!!

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

  • Oops, of course it was a 5 star receipe!!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Have you made this with bulgur by any chance? Would you recommend it?

    • I haven’t Renee but it should work fine.

  • 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!

  • This is my go-to salad now. Delicious and colorful!

  • 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
    • Reply
  • Thanks so much for this recipe! My children love it as well! Takes great with all the veggies in my vegetable bin!

  • 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
    • Reply
  • 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!

  • This is a delicious, light and refreshing salad that I will definitely make again.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Love quinoa! It’s great for gluten free people like me :-). Thanks for the yummy idea!

    • — Melissa Norton
    • 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?

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