Recipe: Quinoa, Toasted Corn and Bean Salad

Recipe: Quinoa, Toasted Corn and Bean Salad

Quinoa, Toasted Corn and Bean Salad

I can guess what you’re thinking…another salad recipe? aren’t there already about a half million salad recipes available on the web?…but I promise you, this is one of the best salads and the proof is in my husband’s tummy (quite literally).

My Mr Fox firmly believes that rice is eaten hot, not cold (there goes sushi) but when I first made a Rice Salad version of this recipe, (a link to the original recipe below) he loved it and asked me to make it again.

Okay, I may have won him over in the ‘cold rice’ department, but I have not had the same luck with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). Hot or cold, he just does not like quinoa! The only luck I’ve had in the quinoa department is when I’ve use quinoa flakes in place of the oatmeal in my cookie recipes.

Ssh, don’t tell him but I’m going to replace the rice in my new salad with quinoa. Why Quinoa?  This amino acid-rich (protein) seed is just plain good for you and I happen to like it.

Now, as if making the leap from rice to quinoa isn’t going to get enough of a reaction, I want to make my recipe vegan. What am I going to use in place of the feta cheese? Tofu? Sadly, I just don’t think I’m that brave. I’m going to have to come up with some other plant-based ingredient that will blend well with the other ingredients and still get happily past my hubby’s taste buds, into his stomach.

Those of you who know me, are probably wondering why Vegan? Well, last week, I decided to dive right into the world of GF Food Bloggers by linking my Strawberry Tea Smoothies up to last week’s inaugural Wellness Weekends Event. The Event is hosted by Ricki at Diet, Desserts and Dogs. I was pleasantly surprised after making new connections with some fellow bloggers who took part in the event. I also received some good positive feedback from readers.

Am I building a following? Gaining an audience? Bitten by the bloggers bug? Ready to go viral? Ha, I do know I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time dreaming up dishes, cooking tips and general GF ideas especially for beginners. I would like to share all that as well as the pages and pages of info I intend to build on this blog site.

So much techie work to do, but I’m ready for a break from the web. I need to do something that’s a little less baffling, less frustrating, something more relaxing. Ahhh…food, food, food, yummy and good for you food! I decided to link up to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends July 14-18, 2011 Event

Wellness Weekend Badge

To take part in the Event, I had to come up with something Vegan as well as Gluten Free and refined Sugar-Free. With almost 5 months of cooking GF, finding a gluten free recipe will easy enough. I’ve collected about 500 Gluten Free recipes in the My Recipe Book app on my iPad.

Refined Sugar-Free will pretty easy too, but my sugar crazed body tends to tell my brain that sweeter is better.  Two of my greatest addictions in this sugary world are soda pop (I can’t believe I admitted that out loud) and cookies, especially cookies with chocolate or cookies with lemon and ginger or macaroons or oatmeal (certified GF of course) or…okay, you get the idea, for me, almost any kind of cookie will do!! Maybe now is the time to start working on reducing my sugar intake?

Um, now as far as a Vegan recipe goes, I was a vegetarian for twenty years but I never really explored the idea of veganism. Having grown up in an unwavering ‘meat and potatoes’ household considered my vegetarianism pretty radical. Veganism surely would have made everyone wonder if I was out of my mind. When I started on my vegetarian diet, all of my family (including my omnivore husband) thought (read…hoped?) I was going through a phase but I stuck with the diet for twenty years. I reluctantly gave up the vegetarian diet a few years ago after realizing I was having difficulty digesting wheat. My seemingly restrictive and unpopular vegetarianism (remember my ‘meat and potatoes’ upbringing) along with a no-wheat diet had become too restrictive for me. I decided to reintroduce meat into my diet.

I was flipping through my Recipe Book when it dawned on me that most salads are naturally gluten free as well as refined sugar-free. I just needed to find one that I could easily convert into a Vegan recipe and that is how I came up with this “Quinoa, Toasted Corn and Bean Salad” recipe.

I started pulling out ingredients but then I thought what if Mr Fox doesn’t like my modified version of his beloved rice salad? I wasn’t sure I could handle being stuck with all 8 servings and besides, is there any harm in keeping Hubby happy? I decided to split the ingredients into two portions and made two separate salads. Both salads looked and tasted almost identical to me, so I decided to subject the family to a little blind taste test.

In the picture below, the salad on the left (in the blue bowl) is the salad with rice, it is closer to the original recipe. The salad on the right (in the clear bowl) is my new Quinoa version.


How do you think my new Quinoa Vegan version fared against the original Rice Feta Cheese version?

The Panel consisted of myself, Mr Fox and four other adults here in the FoxKitchen. People’s first reaction, was that both salads were the same. On second bite, however, they started to notice the subtle differences. They commented that the salad with the feta cheese was saltier than the one with the avocado. The Panel was evenly split on which version of the salad they preferred. No one, not even Mr Fox noticed the quinoa vs rice in the salads…aha, I think I may have found a way to sneak some healthy quinoa into my family’s diet.

The inspiration for this new recipe comes from the Brown Rice and Toasted Bean Salad recipe published in Canadian Living magazine. I love the magazine but do wish they would publish more gluten free recipes and/or ideas on living a GF lifestyle.

Here are the changes I made to the original recipe;

  • replaced the brown rice with quinoa
  • replaced the black beans with navy beans (I don’t tolerate black beans very well). I’ve tried this recipe using adzuki beans but they are a little fragile for toasting.
  • eliminated the onions but that is just a personal preference, if you like onions, feel free to add them in.
  • to make this recipe Vegan, I used an avocado in place of the feta cheese.


Quinoa, Toasted Corn and Bean Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Summary: Toasting the corn and beans brings out the earthy flavours. This salad pairs perfectly with Mexican Lasagna.
Gluten Free | Dairy Free | Egg Free | Refined Sugar Free | Real Food | Vegan | Vegetarian
*** Always refer to packaging labels for the most up to date allergy information
  • 1 Cup quinoa, rinsed and soaked for 5 minutes
  • 1 Cup corn kernels, canned or frozen
  • 12 grape tomatoes
  • 1 can navy beans or black beans or adzuki beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 Cups Romaine leaves or other salad greens
  • 2/3 Cup roasted pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds
  • 1 ripe avacado, chopped and sprinkled with a bit of lime juice
  • 1/3 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 Cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper; set aside.
  1. In a saucepan, bring the rinsed and soaked quinoa plus 2 cups water to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until no liquid remains, 12-15 minutes.
  2. Let cool for 5 minutes; fluff with fork.
  3. Meanwhile, in a hot, dry, heavy frying pan, toast corn over high heat, shaking pan, until fragrant and charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to large bowl.
  4. In same pan, cook tomatoes, shaking pan once or twice to turn, until slightly softened and a bit charred, about 3 minutes. Let cool on cutting board; cut into small chunks and add to bowl.
  5. Add beans, oregano and cumin to skillet; cook until beans are dry and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add to bowl.
  6. Stir in cooled quinoa, romaine and toasted pumpkin seeds (note, if pumpkin seeds are raw, use same pan to toast them).
  7. Add dressing, avocado and cilantro, toss to coat.
  8. Serve with lime wedges if desired.


Laureens Signature
To see a text listing of Laureen’s gluten free recipes, click here

For dairy, egg, nut and gluten free flour substitutions, click here

Laureen Fox on twitterLaureen Fox on pinterestLaureen Fox on linkedinLaureen Fox on instagramLaureen Fox on facebookLaureen Fox on email2
Laureen Fox
Laureen is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in this Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.

Disclaimer: this post includes some affiliate links. If you order by clicking the links, the cost to you will be the same, but I may receive a small stipend for referring you. Thank you for supporting this Fox Kitchen!

Copyright ©

facebooktwittergoogle_plusrssinstagrammailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusrssinstagrammail Dairy Free Egg Free Gluten Free Grain-Free Real Food Recipe Refined Sugar Free Vegan Vegetarian


  1. Junia says:

    this looks sooo good!!! wow! toasted corn, quinoa, bean, and avocados is a sure winner and quinoa just makes it even more flavorful and heartier! thanks for adding it to the clean eating event at mis pensamientos! 😀

  2. Ricki says:

    Sounds like such a great salad! And so glad the vegan version didn't cause problems (yay for revamping recipes for Wellness Weekends!) 😀 . I'm amazed that no one noticed the quinoa-vs-rice, though! Gotta try this one on the HH. 😉

  3. Laureen says:

    Junia, I agree, quinoa does make it more flavourful. Thanks for hosting the Clean Eating Event.Stephanie, I would offer you some but we gobbled it all up :)Ricki, As you may have gathered from my posting, I had fun revamping the recipe and I too was amazed no one picked up on the quinoa-vs-rice. If your HH doesn't care for it, I'm sure the girls would offer to help you eat it :)

  4. Pingback: Weekly Gluten-Free Roundup – September 18, 2011 « Celiac Kitchen Witch

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *