Peruvian Quinoa and Vegetable Salad

This image courtesy of Jim Scherer

Editor's Note: Looking for a light and tasty meal during the hot summer months? Peruvian Quinoa and Vegetable Salad is the perfect dish. It is healthy and light with incredibly nutritional ingredients that will pump you up in no time. Quinoa is a fairly new grain and has become all of the rage. You can see it used on menus all across America. You can also enjoy stir-fried vegetables including onions, roasted bell peppers, scallions and more. This salad can be a meal unto itself for lunch or dinner. It is nice and light for a hot summer night.

Quinoa is a nutritious, quick-cooking grain that wasn’t even on our radar when Moosewood opened forty years ago. Today, though, we’re cooking with it as much as we can, finding more ways to use it all the time. This is a substantial salad, a complete and nutritious one-dish meal. Shiny black beans, golden corn, red tomatoes, and green flecks of cilantro make it colorful. It’s always a Moosewood customer favorite when we serve it as part of a “salad du jour,” and it makes a great light dinner for a warm summer night.


Cooking Time50 min



Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Halal, Kosher, Lactose-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

MealDinner, Lunch

Type of DishMain Course Salad, Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 cup seeded and diced red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh tomatoes
  • one 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2, cups)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. If your quinoa isn’t prerinsed, rinse and drain it well in a sieve-this removes any bitter residue from the grains. Warm the oil in a saucepan on high heat, add the drained quinoa, sprinkle with the salt, and stir for a minute. Add the boiling water and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, until the grains are tender, about 5 minutes.

  2. While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing and prep the vegetables. When the quinoa is done, toss it with about half of the dressing and put it in the refrigerator to cool. It will cool more quickly if you spread it out. Reserve the rest of the dressing.

  3. To cook the vegetables: Warm the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook on high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, and salt and saute for about 4 minutes. Add the corn, coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes, if using, and stir well, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.

  4. Stir the cooked vegetables into the quinoa. Toss with the remaining dressing and the tomatoes, beans, and cilantro. Add more salt and lime juice to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


  1. In place of the onions, use 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (stir into the vegetables with the fresh tomatoes) or 1/4 cup finely diced red onions (toss with the hot quinoa if you want to eliminate the raw “bite” they can have).

  2. Substitute finely chopped parsley for the cilantro. During cooler days when you welcome warmth from your oven, use this “salad” as stuffing for roasted bell pepper halves. Serve topped with melted cheese and Smooth Hot Sauce. If you make the salad intending to stuff peppers, it’s nice to substitute diced carrots for the diced bell peppers.

  1. Serving and Menu Ideas:

  2. This salad is delicious served with Simple Smooth Guacamole and cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese.


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