The Ever Dependable Picnic, BBQ, or Potluck Companion: Quinoa Salad

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, which means it is officially the season of summer get-togethers with friends and family. Whether it’s a backyard barbecue, a potluck-style family reunion, or a picnic at the park, what do you bring to contribute? Obviously, there’s always the classic chips and salsa option, but let’s be honest - it’s not very original, there are always plenty of chips, and on these kinds of days it can be hard to find food that is filling, refreshing, and healthy (chips don’t exactly satisfy any of those requirements).

Next time you are headed to a summertime food fest of any sort, I highly recommend giving this quinoa salad recipe a try. It is fresh, it is tasty, and I promise you, it is always a hit. So much so that I have numerous friends who now use this as their own go-to contribution for gatherings.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, quinoa is an ancient grain that is packed with nutrients and high in protein. Alongside the quinoa, this salad adds raw vegetables, filling black beans, and fresh flavors to make for a really satisfying dish. It’s also gluten-free and vegan, so the special eaters of the group will thank you. Plus, it won’t take you too long to prepare, giving you plenty of time to enjoy your day while resting assured knowing you’ll have something actually good (and actually healthy) to eat at the event. 


Quinoa Salad with Lime-Cilantro Dressing

2 C quinoa

3 ½ C water

pinch of salt


1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

2/3 C fresh lime juice

1 large bunch cilantro, chopped

1 ½ t ground cumin

1 ½ t salt


1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 cans cooked black beans, drained and rinsed


Optional: 1 large avocado, cut into chunks 



1.     Place quinoa, water, and pinch of salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

2.     Let quinoa cool by removing from pot and placing in a large container, stirring occasionally.

3.     Mix the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, cumin and salt in a small bowl.

4.     To the cooled quinoa, add green onions, jalapeno, bell pepper, and black beans. Toss.

5.     Pour dressing over the mixture and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Let me know how you like it!