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Quinoa and Corn Salad with Pumpkin Seeds


Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) has an impressive protein profile. It contains amino acids not normally found in grains, and it cooks in 15 minutes. In this salad inspired by the flavors of Latin America, the mild, nutty flavor of quinoa combines with pumpkin seeds, red peppers, jalapeno, tomato, and avocado to make a flavorful, filling meal.

  • Servings: 4

Photography: James Wojcik

Source: Body+Soul, July/August 2005


  • Sea salt

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspooon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Salad and Protein

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, thoroughly rinsed and drained (about 4 cups cooked)
  • 2 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 1 medium red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 medium head red-leaf lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried, small inner leaves reserved for future use
  • 2 ripe medium tomatoes, cored and cut in thin wedges
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, cut in wedges
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted


  1. Bring 2 3/4 cups water to boil in a small saucepan and stir in the quinoa and some salt. Return to boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat, place corn kernels on top of quinoa, cover pan, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir corn into quinoa, remove from pan, and spread out on baking sheet to cool for about 20 minutes.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic, oil, and salt to taste; set aside.

  3. Place cooled quinoa and corn, red pepper, cucumber, scallions, jalapeno, and cilantro in large bowl. Add 1/2 cup dressing (or more to taste) and salt to taste; mix until combined.

  4. Place large lettuce leaves side by side in a circle around a large serving platter so the curly tops extend just beyond the platter rim. Mound quinoa salad in center.

  5. Arrange tomato, avocado, and lime around quinoa on top of leaves. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over salad. Serve immediately or hold briefly at room temperature.

Cook's Notes

If the salad is made ahead of time, let it come to room temperature before serving; perk up its flavor with additional lemon juice if needed.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Sheryl44
    11 AUG, 2013
    Why isn't the lemon juice on the list? How much do you put in?
  • MS12387216
    23 JUL, 2013
    I did not see any lemon juice listed in the much lemon juice should I use to make the dressing?
  • MS11127817
    21 SEP, 2012
    Yes, this is over 600 calories per serving, but the servings sizes are REALLY big. I could only eat half a serving for lunch; it's so filling and yummy.
  • SusanStearns
    10 FEB, 2012
    Just made this and it is wonderful! I added a can of organic black beans and more pepitas than suggested. The taste is fantastic! Thanks so much for my first experience with quinoa!
  • gaillhanson
    26 SEP, 2011
    where do you find the nutritional information for recipes?
  • khodgecpm
    19 SEP, 2011
    This is the kind of recipe that when you take it to the party it is a huge hit and everybody wants the recipe. Packed full of really good for you things. I have made this recipe at least 15 times.
  • MsProserpine
    24 JUN, 2011
    My husband and I loved this recipe! We excerpted a couple of items due to preference (my husband doesn't like tomatoes or avocados - I prefer to have avocado as a snack anyway). We also reduced to amount of olive oil called for the second time as we found it to be a bit too much. I would suggested even half the recommended dose above. Otherwise, we were once again very pleased with the recipes on this website.
  • mgiardina
    8 JUN, 2011
    Made the recipe but found it rather bland. Think 1 1/2 cups of quinoa is too much.
  • blroll
    20 MAY, 2011
    I really like the idea of the 10-day reboot, but you are making it cumbersome by forcing me to use ziplist, which failed after the third recipe. Adding each recipe to the shopping list individually is time consuming. A single web page or download containing the 10-day recipes and shopping list would be so much easier. Also, I am not fond of there an alternate?
  • peppersmaid
    9 JAN, 2011
    643 calories per serving?! How can I make this lighter?