Recipe: Quick Balsamic Quinoa Salad

updated May 1, 2019
Quick Balsamic Quinoa Salad
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(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

Can you use the word “hearty” to describe a salad? I think so. This filling salad is always a hit with dinner guests, and the leftovers — if there are any — make a nice lunch the next day. I once caught someone (who shall remain anonymous) — ha, ha, it was my sister, but I won’t say which one — in the kitchen after dinner cleaning out the bowl, eating every last bit.

The quinoa and pine nuts add crunch, while the corn adds a hint of something sweet. And in my world, nothing beats a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with a dash of salt and pepper.

Though there usually aren’t any leftovers — thanks, sis — I love this salad for lunch, too, all on its own. The nuts and quinoa add enough protein to get me through the day.

Tester Tips

This is a great salad to serve warm or cold, and to make things even easier, make and freeze extra quinoa so you always have some cooked quinoa handy!

Christine, April 2015

Quick Balsamic Quinoa Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 cup

    cooked quinoa (from roughly 1/3 cup dry quinoa; see How To Cook Quinoa)

  • 1 cup

    frozen or fresh corn

  • 1/2 cup

    pine nuts

  • 1

    large bowl of salad greens

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    balsamic vinegar

  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, reducing the heat before adding cooked quinoa, corn, and pine nuts. Sauté until the quinoa is a little crunchy, the corn slightly brown, and the pine nuts toasted, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

  2. Let the mixture cool to room temperature or a little warmer, and toss with salad greens.

  3. Whisk the oil and vinegar together, adding salt and pepper to taste, and toss with the salad. Taste and add more oil, vinegar, or salt to your personal preference.

Recipe Notes

Slivered almonds (or any other nuts you like) can be substituted for the pine nuts.

If using frozen corn, add it to the pan first to thaw.

Add more quinoa and nuts to make this a light meal.

I like to keep a bowl of cooked quinoa in the fridge, to use for different dishes throughout the week. It's delicious roasted and tossed with veggies and beans, reheated and stirred into almond milk for breakfast, or tossed into a salad for extra protein.