Quinoa Taco Salad

July 6, 2020

Quinoa Taco Salad

Looking for a way to use crumbled tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag? Try a quinoa taco salad with corn, black beans, peppers and cilantro vinaigrette.

Looking for a way to use crumbled tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag? Try a quinoa taco salad with corn, black beans, peppers and cilantro vinaigrette.

Quinoa Taco Salad

There’s one thing that pretty much all the salads I’ve consumed in the last week or so have had in common—grilled corn.

I am obsessed going fully headfirst in this summer staple.

There are occasions when I will eat it on the cob, but most of the time I take my chef’s knife and slice those bright yellow kernels right off.

Then I keep a container of them in my fridge for salads and veggie scrambles with tomatoes.

Taco Salad with Quinoa, Tomatoes & Grilled Corn

As hard as I try, I still can’t convince my 6-year-old to try corn. 

It seems like a more approachable vegetable than most for a kid especially when a cob is dressed with just the right amount of butter and flaky sea salt.

My strategy of explaining to him that the tortilla chips he loves so much are made from corn hasn’t worked.

He would rather stick to his snack food version.

Quinoa Taco Salad

Whenever I buy tortilla chips, they never last long at our house.

I admit I’m in on some of the snacking too.

Since we all find chips so irresistible, I don’t always put them on my regular shopping list.

Chips are just too tempting. I try to think of them more like a treat instead of part of my regular snack rotation.

Of course I miss those addictively salty, crunchy chips, but now when I have them they taste even better.

Quinoa Taco Salad

The other week we had a bag of tortilla chips to go with a bowl of grilled pineapple salsa.

How could I throw away the precious crumbs at the bottom of the bag?

I love a salad with toasted bread like a panzanella. Why not use the broken chips like croutons in a salad? They have such good crunch.

This quinoa taco salad has a Tex-Mex spin reminiscent of those giant taco shell bowls, but the ratios are different.

There’s a lot more lettuce than shell.

Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl

How To Make A Quinoa Taco Salad

The first step is to grill the corn. You can definitely do this a couple days in advance.

The same goes for the quinoa. I like keeping leftovers of different ingredients in my fridge just to add them to salads.

I seasoned the quinoa with a mix of cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.

For a simple pico de gallo, I combine halved cherry tomatoes, red onions, jalapeños, cilantro and lime juice.

Along with the greens, grilled corn and pico de gallo, I toss in black beans, diced bell peppers and either sliced or diced avocado. 

The quinoa taco salad is finished with the crumbled tortilla chips and cilantro lime vinaigrette.

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Quinoa Taco Salad

Quinoa Taco Salad

  • Author: Paige Adams
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 17-20 minutes
  • Total Time: 32-35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


Looking for a way to use crumbled tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag? Try a quinoa taco salad with corn, black beans, peppers and cilantro vinaigrette.


  • For grilled corn
  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • For quinoa
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • For pico de gallo
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, deseded and minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 12 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • For vinaigrette
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • For salad
  • 1 head romaine trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 115 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced or diced
  • 1/3 cup crumbled tortilla chips


  1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.
  2. Rub the corn with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Let the corn cool slightly before slicing the kernels off the cob.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Add the cumin, paprika, salt & pepper. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and let the quinoa cool.
  4. For the pico de gallo, combine the tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  5. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the lime juice, cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil in a small bowl.
  6. For the salad, toss together the corn, quinoa, pico de gallo, romaine, black beans, bell peppers, radishes, avocado and tortilla chips. Drizzled with vinaigrette.


The corn and quinoa can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator.


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