Dinner Picnic Part 1: Southwestern Inspired Quinoa Salad

Well Memorial weekend has come and gone which means summer is officially in full swing. To me, this means fresh produce and delicious salads! I am not a big fan of having just a salad as a meal but I do love them as a side and to compliment my main entrees. I am particularly fond of grain salads (wheat berry, quinoa, polenta, oh my!) so please let me know if I begin to get carried away in the coming months!

On Monday we piled 5 people, a dog, and a grill into my roommate’s tiny civic and off we went to spend the afternoon at the lake. It was 90 and sunny here in Bloomington so the water could have never felt better! I whipped this salad up to go with our grilled goods; what made me think to make this one was that I didn’t want a mayo based salad sitting in the heat all day! So I turned to my flavorful quinoa salad that doesn’t’ need to be lathered in thick dressing to be flavorful. This salad is lime juice based which means a little sun won’t hurt anything!

Also, I made a double recipe so that we would have leftovers for the week. Since I was just not into getting back to routine, I made Wyatt (and Tuko!) have a dinner picnic with me last night in our favorite garden. The main course recipe is coming in a post later this week (stay tuned!) but we had this salad again as a side. Such perfect picnic fare!

Southwestern Inspired Quinoa Salad

adapted from Mom De Cuisine
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno, chopped (use less if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt/pepper
  • cilantro, for garnish

Cook quinoa according to package directions (if no directions- wash thoroughly with cold water and then boil the quinoa for about 15 minutes or until soft).

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.

Once the quinoa has cooled completely, combine the quinoa, bell pepper, black beans, corn, jalapeno, and onions in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the whisked dressing.

Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving so that all the flavors can mend together deliciously. Serve cool and while at a picnic/grill out!



  • iatelunch
    May 30, 2012

    I have that blanket! Or one that looks exactly like it!

    • shellywest
      May 30, 2012

      Haha I love that blanket. I got it at a second hand store years ago and use it as my picnic/beach blanket all the time!

  • gglarue
    May 30, 2012

    I have a similar recipe, everyone loves it! Good idea for using it at picnics and outdoorsy events 🙂

  • Harriet
    May 31, 2012

    Hello, I’m so jealous you are entering summer, while down here winter has well and truly set in! Hopefully this continues to brighten things – I’ve nominated you for the Excellence in Storytelling award! You can see the post here: http://foodlovefood.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/an-award-nomination/
    Also, http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/

  • Pierotucci
    May 31, 2012

    Grain salads are such fast and delicious lunch combos. I make at least two a week in the morning before I hop off to work so that when I come home I know I have something healthy, delicious and filling waiting to be eaten. Please visit our site: http://www.pierotucci.com
    or our blog http://pierotucci.wordpress.com

  • ashtangirunner
    May 31, 2012

    I’m not familiar with olive juice…what is this? Something you buy as such, or just the juice in the jar – black or green olives?

    • shellywest
      May 31, 2012

      Should be olive oil! Oooooops! Thanks for catching that. All fixed now.

  • theeverydaykitchen
    May 31, 2012

    This looks delicious and healthy at the same time – yum!

  • jencarrollva
    May 31, 2012

    Hi Shelly, Just found you via the BYW 2.0 forum. While I’m not a vegetarian I’m always looking to expand my veggie repertoire and am happy to find your blog! Your recipes look super yummy!!!

    • shellywest
      May 31, 2012

      Thank you! So glad you took a peak! Hope you are as excited as I am about BYW 2.0 starting tomorrow!!

  • Veggiewitch
    June 1, 2012

    Yummy! ♥

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