This quinoa street corn salad is a great make-ahead recipe. Packed with nutritious ingredients and tossed in a spicy homemade dressing, this recipe makes a perfect side dish or filling lunch!

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I love this quinoa street corn salad because it’s the kind of recipe that tastes even better after a few hours in the fridge. It’s a great meal prep option for a quick lunch recipe, and you don’t have to worry about anything getting soggy. This recipe comes together quickly with minimal cooking required. This salad can be served cold or at room temperature. The homemade chipotle lime dressing has a lot of flavor and is easy to make! The vegetables in this recipe are enjoyed raw, adding a fresh crunch to every bite.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Quinoa – You can use any type of quinoa, such as white, red, or tri-color. They all work well in this recipe.
  • Vegetable Broth – Adds flavor to the quinoa as it cooks. You can substitute with water if needed.
  • Sweet Corn – You can use fresh, canned, or frozen sweet corn. Just make sure to drain it well if using canned corn.
  • Cotija cheese – This crumbly cheese adds a mild, tangy flavor. You can substitute with feta or queso fresco cheese if you prefer.
  • Red Onion – Adds a sharp bite and color to the salad. You can substitute with green onions for a milder flavor.
  • Jalapeño – Adds a spicy kick. Adjust the amount based on your spice preference or substitute with a milder pepper, if desired.
  • Avocado – Adds creaminess and healthy fats. Make sure to add this just before serving to prevent browning.
  • Cilantro – Adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor. You can omit if you’re not a fan of cilantro.

For the Dressing

  • Chipotle Chilies in Adobo Sauce – Adds a smoky, spicy flavor. You can adjust the amount based on your spice preference.
  • Mayonnaise – Creates a creamy base for the dressing. You can substitute with Greek yogurt for a lighter option.
  • Lime Juice – Adds a bright, tangy flavor. Fresh lime juice is best, but bottled juice can be used in a pinch.
  • Garlic Powder – Adds a subtle garlic flavor. You can substitute with fresh minced garlic if preferred.
  • Salt – Enhances all the flavors in the dressing.

Variations and Additions

If you want to add even more flavor to this salad, here are a few additions you could make:

  • Black Beans – Adding black beans is an easy way to add more plant-based protein and makes the salad more filling.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Fresh tomatoes work really well in this recipe and it’s a great way to get some extra veggies into this salad.
  • Bell pepper – I like the slightly sweet crunch of a red or orange bell pepper.
  • Spinach – I’ll eat this quinoa salad on top of a bed of greens to add some extra nutrients.

How to Cook Quinoa

Most quinoa should be rinsed before cooking. Some bagged varieties come pre-rinsed, but if you’re not sure, give it a rinse just to be safe. Place it in a fine mesh sieve and run it under cold water. Be sure it’s a very fine mesh strainer so the quinoa doesn’t fall through.

  • Rice Cooker Method: Add 1 part quinoa and 2 parts water to the rice cooker and press start.
  • Stovetop Method: Use a two-to-one ratio of water to quinoa. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork.
  • Instant Pot Method: This is a quick, fool-proof method for perfect quinoa, but it works best for larger batches.

You’ll typically find quinoa sold in bags in the natural section of the grocery store, by the rice or gluten-free products. If you don’t see it at the grocery store, you can always find quinoa on Amazon! If you’re looking for other quinoa recipes, try my pesto quinoa salad or caprese quinoa salad.

Tips for the Best Quinoa Street Corn Salad

  • Rinse the Quinoa: Rinsing removes the natural coating called saponin, which can make quinoa taste bitter.
  • Cool the Quinoa: Make sure the quinoa is cool before mixing it with the other ingredients to avoid wilting the vegetables.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh lime juice and cilantro for the best flavor.
  • Add Avocado Last: Add the diced avocado just before serving to prevent it from browning.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is quinoa street corn salad healthy? – Yes! This salad is a great source of nutrients and fiber. It’s packed with protein from the quinoa and healthy fats from the avocado. If you want to lower the fat content, you can use half Greek yogurt and half mayonnaise in the dressing.
  • Can I make this salad in advance? – Yes! This salad holds up well in the fridge. For the best texture, add the avocado just before serving to prevent it from browning.

More Street Corn Inspired Recipes

If you love this recipe, try my street corn salad, my street corn flatbread, or my street corn soup!

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Quinoa Street Corn Salad

Quinoa Street Corn Salad

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  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This quinoa street corn salad is a great make-ahead recipe. Packed with nutritious ingredients and tossed in a spicy homemade dressing, this recipe makes a perfect side dish or filling lunch!


Units Scale
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15oz) can sweet corn, drained
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija or queso fresco
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small jalapeño, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • chopped cilantro, optional


  1. Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth according to the package directions.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the corn and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow the corn to cool slightly.
  4. Fill a small bowl with ice water and add the diced onions. Allow the onions to soak for 2-3 minutes. This will help tame the bite and give them a more mild flavor.
  5. Whisk together the chopped chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce with mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic powder, and salt.
  6. In a large bowl, add the quinoa and stir to combine with the dressing.
  7. Top the quinoa with the corn. Drain the onions and add the onions, cotija cheese, jalapeño, and cilantro.
  8. Once you’re ready to enjoy it, add the avocado and serve immediately.