Quinoa Taco Salad

Enjoy this salad for a summer lunch or weeknight dinner. Corn, poblanos, cilantro, and plenty of lime give this hearty vegan salad crunch and zest.

I eat a lot of tacos. Here in Austin, you can’t walk 10 feet without tripping over another taco truck or Mexican restaurant. But my favorite thing is actually the taco in its deconstructed form: the taco salad.

You can take this in as many different directions as there are taco fillings, but I especially like this with red quinoa (although if you had non-red quinoa it would taste pretty much the same). The chewy little red kernels sort of take on the essence of taco meat.

The rest of the ingredients came together from what I happened to have on hand: half a pint of cherry tomatoes, scallions, a poblano, leftover tortillas, etc. This is a great way to use up leftover veggies, meats, and cheeses that you might already have in your kitchen.

This recipe is featured in the summer issue of Foodiecrush

4.5 from 2 reviews

Quinoa Taco Salad

Serves: 2-3 as a main, 4-5 as a side
For the charred corn & poblano:
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 1 ear of corn, kernels sliced off the cob (about ½ cup)
For the cherry tomato pico:
  • ¼ cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • ½ lime, juiced (1-2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup sliced scallions, white and green parts, (about 2-3)
  • Sea salt
For the chipotle lime dressing:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
For the salad:
  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 2 cups arugula
  • ½ cup cubed tofu (or meat or cheese of your choice)
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • ½ sliced avocado
  • Tortilla strips from 1 tortilla, sliced, baked, and salted
  • ½ lime, for squeezing
  1. Roast the poblano pepper and char the corn: Place the poblano under the broiler for 20 or so minutes, until blistered on all sides. The time will vary depending on the heat of your broiler. When it’s fully blistered, remove and place in a bowl and cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel, making sure the covering does not touch the pepper. Set aside for 15 minutes or so, until it’s cool enough to handle. Using your fingers, slide off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. Chop into roughly ¼-inch pieces and place in a small bowl.
  2. Toss the corn kernels with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast corn kernels under the broiler for 4-5 minutes or until they just begin to blacken. Remove from the oven, toss with the chopped poblano, and set aside.
  3. Make the cherry tomato pico: In another small bowl, toss together cherry tomatoes, lime juice, scallions, and a few pinches of salt. Set aside.
  4. In another small bowl, whisk together the dressing: olive oil, lime juice, ancho chile powder, chipotle powder, agave, salt, and pepper. (It might taste too tangy/spicy/sweet on it’s own… but remember that it will get diluted when you mix it with everything else). Set aside.
  5. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl combine the red quinoa, arugula, tofu, and cilantro with the dressing. You might not need all of the dressing, start with half and add more to your liking. Toss in the charred corn, chopped poblano, and pico. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with the sliced avocado, tortilla strips, and a squeeze of lime.






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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Rachel Cantin

    Very good and also very spicy! Loved it.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. One2Three

    Nice photo and a great receipt!

  3. I need to to thank youu for this wonderful read!! I certainly lovedd
    every bit off it. I havee got you book marked to look at new things you post…

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  5. Alexis from theartofsacredbody.com

    What amazing and delicious recipes. I love your web and photo design! So modern, yet classic. I wouldn’t hesitate to share you with my growing audience…in fact, I’ll do that right now!

    Thanks for having awesome content.

  6. Crista from peacelovequinoa.com

    this looks so good right now….

  7. Sue from CandlesOffMain.com

    I love this idea! Can’t wait to try it.

  8. Cate from fromwholecloth.com

    Oh my, made this last night and it was incredible. So flexible too for various additions/substitutions. It’s definitely going on the “make frequently” list! Thank you for sharing!

  9. keianna

    Found this on Pinterest when searching for a lime dressing for a Mexican dish. The flavors were perfect and my DH really loved it. Thanks

    • jeanine

      oh so glad! thanks for sharing…

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.