Fresh Corn and Quinoa Salsa

fresh corn and quinoa salsa in serving bowl with blue corn chips

Summer is truly here when fresh ears of sweet corn hit the local farm stands. This fresh corn and quinoa salsa takes that perfect fresh corn and turns it into the most amazing vegan side dish that will please everyone sitting around your table!

This is the best kind of summer recipe – it’s simple to prepare, packs a flavorful punch, is a crowd-pleaser, keeps well, and travels well. It’s the perfect thing to bring to a picnic or any other gathering. And it plays well with so many other things, like grilled meats or salad greens. It’s a healthy option you won’t mind including in all kinds of meals.

Grill Your Veggies

One of the best things about this corn quinoa salsa is that the corn and bell pepper are grilled. The grill enhances the sweetness of these vegetables and adds just the right amount of smokiness. We use a gas grill and it’s amazing. Charcoal would add even more flavor!

Do you all grill your fresh corn? After you taste it grilled, you won’t want to have it any other way. Almost every vegetable benefits from some time on the grill. Try it in all your summer cooking, starting right now with this wonderful salsa!

fresh corn on the cob and red bell pepper on the grill

Make Fresh Corn and Quinoa Salsa

Fire up the grill and grill your corn and bell pepper over medium heat. Turn the corn occasionally so you get a bit of char on all sides. The pepper is easiest to grill flat, so slice it open from the stem to the bottom tip, then remove the stem and seeds before pressing it open. Get some char on this, too. Then set these all aside to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk up the dressing by combining olive oil with lime juice, cayenne pepper for a bit of kick, cumin, and salt in a large bowl. Adjust the amount of cayenne to suit your own taste for spice, but keep in mind that the jalapeno is bringing a bit of heat, too. Adjust one or both to make it spicier or more mild, depending on how you like it. As written, you will get a medium amount of heat – enough to taste and enhance the flavors of everything else, but not enough to set your mouth on fire.  

fresh corn and quinoa salsa in serving bowl with corn and jalapenos

Put it all Together

When your corn and pepper are cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from your ears of corn (you should end up with about 3 cups of kernels) and dice the pepper. Add these to the dressing along with the cooked quinoa, jalapeno, green onion, and black beans. Mix it well.

This dish is delicious warm and equally delicious cold or room temperature. I like to have the leftovers straight from the frig over salad greens for a healthy lunch. You might want to make a double-batch so that you have lots of leftovers because this dish is so versatile. It will keep in the frig for up to a week.

This dish is healthy, but doesn’t taste like it. You won’t believe how good it is for you with the benefits of quinoa and black beans taking the lead, and the bell pepper and corn solid background players. The perfect excuse to have a second serving!

But just because you are eating a healthy dinner doesn’t mean you have to forego dessert. Add some Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies, Strawberry Shortcake using our Strawberry Shortcake Scones, or Lemon Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze for the perfect end to your summer meal. Our Refreshing Homemade Strawberry Lemonade would be the perfect beverage, too.


fresh corn and quinoa salsa
fresh corn and quinoa salsa

Fresh Corn and Quinoa Salsa

This Fresh Corn and Quinoa Salsa brings together grilled corn, quinoa, and spices to make the most amazing vegan side dish for summer!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Gluten Free, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Servings 6 cups


  • 5 ears fresh corn on the cob husked
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice (from 3 small limes)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons finely-diced jalapeno pepper (from 1 medium jalapeno)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions, white and green parts (from 5 green onions)
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounces, drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  • Preheat the grill to medium heat, then grill the corn for 12-15 minutes, rotating occasionally, until the kernels are tender-crisp and beginning to char.
  • Slice open the red pepper and pull out seeds and stem. Lay flat and grill alongside the corn for 4-5 minutes on each side until it begins to soften and char.
  • Allow the corn and red pepper to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, dice the bell pepper and cut the kernels off from the ears of corn (you should have around 3 cups corn kernels). Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Add the corn, bell pepper, quinoa, jalapeno, green onions, black beans, and cilantro. Stir to combine.


Serve warm or chilled, as a side dish or as a salsa. It is delicious with grilled chicken (or other grilled protein), on tacos, or with tortilla chips!
Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Keyword corn, quinoa, vegan

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