← Go Back

California Summer Quinoa Salad

Posted on July 26th, 2011  |  6 Comments

Ahh summertime. This is my first summer in California, which actually doesn’t seem much different from any other time of year in California except the beaches are a bit more crowded. The weather here is ridiculous. After surviving frigid winters in Michigan and HOTlanta summers I think I’ve paid my weather dues, but it never ceases to amaze me how unbelievably beautiful it is here, every.single.day. I’m talking the kind of days when you feel the urge to pack a picnic and walk to the beach with a blanket and your mate to enjoy dinner with a spectacular view. Like movie script stuff.

And even though we used a sheet instead of a blanket, and there was a cooler and tent involved; our day at the beach was beautiful and perfectly hot, yet refreshing and satisfying thanks to this quiona salad.

Quinoa is one of those super foods that you could probably solely survive from and be perfectly healthy. (jk, I actually doubt that, bc you need H20, but also note I do not have a doctorate in survival so I am in no way an expert.) For real though, quinoa is really good for you. It is like a grain, but technically part of the goosefoot species. haha I promise, I did not make that up.

A unique but important characteristic of quinoa is that it is a complete protein. This means it not only supplies all the essential amino acids we can’t make, but it does so in the correct proportions to support the biological functions of our bodies. A vegetarians best friend, quinoa is your easy to digest, nutritious and delicious protein source. I wonder if quinoa was created especially for humans to use as fuel. It does a body good! No bloat following this meal :)


Quinoa is cooked like rice but in less time. It takes whichever flavor it is given and can be eaten cold, warm, or hot. Best food ever! For this salad I just made the quiona like I normally do, with salt, pepper and garlic cloves. (I always add garlic to my rice, bulgar, cous cous, quinoa. Great, GREAT flavor and nutrients in those babies.) Then I added in salad-like toppings: red onion, raw corn on the cob (a must try), avocado and herbs like cilantro, basil, and mint. Other great options include peas, chickpeas, thinly sliced carrots, cucumber, I usually aim for something with either crunch, flavor or color! Toss in a lime cumin dressing and waaala! Cali summer quinoa salad.

I used to have a husband that said he hated quinoa. Then I made this salad. He ate it all. And now he loves quinoa. Lip smacking good!

Enjoy as a side with some grilled chicken or keep it all vegetarian and have this as a main course!


California Summer Quinoa Salad

1 c. quinoa, rinsed

2 c. Filtered water

2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt


1 corn on the cob, with the corn cut off

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 avocado, diced

1/2 c. loosely packed herbs (I used cilantro, parsley, basil, mint and oregano in equal parts)

Lime Cumin Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp honey

1/4 tsp cumin, ground

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, sprinkle

In a saucepan heat oil on low. Add garlic, sauté for about a minute and then add the rinsed quinoa. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 more minutes. Uncover and fluff.

While the quinoa is cooking combine all the ingredients for the lime cumin dressing, mix well and set aside. Chop the onion, avocado, and cut the corn off the cob, add to the serving bowl. Top with the cooked quinoa. Sprinkle with herbs and pour over the vinaigrette. Gently combine.

A delicious and healthy complete meal.


6 Responses

  1. Jenny says:


    This whole site is amazing! You’re excellent at it! And you’re going to be a food blog star I just know it. You will now be my main go-to-gal for weekly meal planning. I can’t wait to eat (and feed Dave and the kids) all your masterpiece creations!

  2. Colby says:

    Baby Laurie,

    this is on my shopping list.

  3. […] to a cookout today? Check out these perfect for labor day recipes, like the best chipotle burgers, quinoa summer salad or a nice refreshing juice […]

  4. […] California Summer Quinoa Salad (thetalkingkitchen.com) […]

  5. […] made a few vegan dishes on the talking kitchen, but it was never intentional. Not that I’ve got something against […]

  6. […] don’t use berries, this salad would be equally delicious with quinoa, couscous, bulgar or any other wheat […]

Leave a Reply