Summer Quinoa Salad with Corn

This summer quinoa salad is all things fresh! Juicy ripe tomatoes, sweet corn, and peppery basil are mixed with quinoa and a tangy balsamic dressing.

Summer quinoa salad with corn

We’ve made it to August! Corn season is in full swing here in Indiana. Like true Midwesterners, we can’t get enough corn in the summer. We’ve incorporated it into this summer quinoa salad recipe that we’re excited to share — the recipe from our first cooking class last week!

Making this summer quinoa salad

We’re so happy to have a great group of people with us for this 3-week seminar to explore local and seasonal eating, home cooking, and personal health. We had a wonderful time last week discussing an intro to these concepts, and made this summer quinoa salad.

The summer quinoa salad is a delicious way to enjoy fresh seasonal vegetables — you can use whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand. It features corn cut right of the cob, adding sweet bursts of flavor in each bite. Ripe tomatoes add a tangy sweetness, and basil adds a peppery bite. It’s all held together with fluffy quinoa, and a zesty balsamic vinaigrette.

This summer quinoa salad happens to be vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free, and is a nice option to bring to a summer cookout. It also works well as a lunch or light dinner with a green salad. We chose it as a way to introduce grain salads, the chiffonade cut, using fresh herbs, and making your own vinairgrette, all in one!  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did with our class!

Summer quinoa salad with corn

How to make quinoa

Cooking quinoa is simple, but it can be easy to mess up! Cook it too fast and it’s hard and crunchy, or overcook it and it’s mushy. Here are our two best methods for how to cook quinoa for this summer quinoa salad:

  1. Perfect Quinoa on the Stovetop This is our master recipe for cooking quinoa on the stovetop. It takes about 25 to 30 minutes, and it requires a little baby sitting to make sure the liquid is cooking out evenly, but it’s mostly hands off.
  2. Instant Pot Quinoa (Pressure Cooker) If you have a pressure cooker, you can use it to make quinoa! It takes about 16 minutes and is almost totally hands off! This is the method we’ve started to use more often, since we have an Instant Pot. (Here’s the Instant Pot we use)

Video: How to make quinoa

And, to show you how to do it: here’s a video of us making quinoa in our kitchen!

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this summer quinoa salad, here are a few favorite salad recipes:

This summer quinoa salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Summer Quinoa Salad with Corn

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


This summer quinoa salad is all things fresh! Juicy ripe tomatoes, sweet corn, and peppery basil are mixed with quinoa and a tangy balsamic dressing.


  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 small shallots
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 ears corn
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, or 3 cups cooked
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Make the quinoa, according to the instructions in Master Recipe: Perfect Quinoa or Instant Pot quinoa (watch the video below).
  2. While the quinoa cooks, mince the shallots. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the corn from the cobs. Cut the basil into thin strips (chiffonade). Drain and rinse the cannellini beans.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, a few pinches kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Then gradually whisk in the olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a creamy emulsion forms. 
  4. When the quinoa is done, spread it on a large baking sheet to cool it to room temperature quickly, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the vegetables, dressing, and a few more pinches kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Taste, and add more seasoning to taste.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Summer Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Recipes, Summer Salad Recipes, Salad Recipe, Healthy Salad Recipes

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    August 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I’m loving quinoa this summer and this is the perfect salad to throw into the mix! Yum!

  • Reply
    August 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    So excited for the next installment! I’m even bringing my husband!

  • Reply
    August 14, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Mmm – love the addition of the mustard in the vinaigrette. This is definitely an irresistable combination of flavors – thanks for the great recipe!

  • Reply
    Jen Nikolaus
    August 14, 2012 at 2:47 am

    I will definitely make this recipe!! I love quinoa! Thanks so much for sharing – pinning now!!!


  • Reply
    Elana @ The Inventive Vegetarian
    August 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I love fresh, seasonal dishes like this! Looks absolutely delicious!

  • Reply
    August 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Love the combination of flavors in this salad. Seriously can’t believe I only discovered quinoa within this past year. Now I’m in love with it and cook with it at least once a week. I will definitely be trying this asap (especially while I still have a kitchen to cook out of)!

  • Reply
    April 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

    How long can this be stored in the fridge?

    • Reply
      April 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      A couple of days — but you might want to keep the basil separate as it will get wilted over time.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Does anyone know how to calculate the nutritional value of this? Or even the WW points per serving?

    • Reply
      May 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Michele! We don’t focus too much on nutritional information, since we feel it can sometimes distract us from our focus on home-cooked real food. Any time you are interested in the info about one of our recipes, you can just copy and paste the ingredient list and number of servings into the calculator on this website:

      • Reply
        May 19, 2013 at 4:08 pm

        Thanks so much!! That will help alot!

  • Reply
    October 26, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Do you think dijon mustard would make for a good replacement for stone ground mustard?

    • Reply
      October 26, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Yes, that should be good!

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