Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lime Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Let's just say that if cranberries are the ninja fruit, then quinoa (keen-wah) is the ninja grain! Oh, except it's not a grain — it's actually a seed. But it sure seems like a grain. Anyway, it's a great base for making salads that you can either serve as a main or side dish. For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, in fact!

Quinoa is great for vegans and vegetarians because it packs a lot of nutritional punch (protein, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus). It's also a nice change of pace for carnivores like me, and you can take a lot of liberty with the dressing you use and ingredients you add. It's a very customizable base for whatever you can think up!

I adapted a recipe I saw on RadMegan's blog. It has nice flavor and will be a great salad for summer, when the herbs and tomatoes are growing in the garden and corn is fresh and local at farm stands! Furthermore, this recipe is quick to make and keeps nicely in the fridge for a few days.

Lime Cilantro Quinoa Salad Recipe (makes about 4 servings)

2 tsp. lime zest
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup quinoa
1 cup corn kernels (canned, frozen, or fresh)
2 medium tomatoes, diced (cherry tomatoes would work nicely also!)
2-3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped finely
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

  • Whisk together the lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside. 
  • Put the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly. Put quinoa in a medium pot with 2-3 cups of salted water. Bring water and quinoa to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain in a sieve and place in a bowl. Note: Do your best not to overcook the quinoa — it's done when the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.
  • Fold in the corn kernels and let cool slightly. Add the lime dressing and toss together until absorbed. Then fold in the tomatoes, scallions, basil, and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with whatever suits your fancy — avocado, lime juice, etc. 


  1. Dad's going to try this recipe tomorrow. Thanks! Looks delish!

  2. This looks great. It would be a good dish for a potluck where things might sit out unrefrigerated for a long time. Thanks for the printable version! Susan

  3. Yum, I love quinoa! This looks like it could be a good lunch for me- thanks!

  4. That sounds chock full of delicious flavors! Love all the fresh herbs in there :)


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