Charred Corn & Quinoa Salad

Charred corn, tri-colored quinoa, and a citrus vinaigrette make this a perfect choice for a light summer salad.

Charred Corn & Quinoa Salad, #quinoa #vegetarian

I often joke that I will always have a female dog to keep the gender in balance here at the Epstein house. With two little boys and a big boy that often acts like a little one, having a girl dog around makes me feel a little less like I’m living in a frat house. Except, of course, when my best four legged gal gets into the garbage and decides to spread the trash all around the bathroom floor. Then, I feel every bit like I’m outnumbered, living with a bunch of heathens.

grilled corn quinoa salad

When Chubby (our beloved chocolate lab), isn’t being naughty, she’s really is a great companion. I’d like to think she hangs with me in the kitchen as much as she does because she loves me SO much but truth be told, she is a total beggar and she knows that if she waits around long enough, at some point, food will fall from the counter. And there she’ll be ready to swoop in and pick up whatever has hit the floor. She likes to sleep not far from me while I’m cooking and every 20 minutes or so, she makes her way around the center island picking up any scraps I’ve been so kind to leave behind. Other than the occasional look out the window to bark at passerby’s or to pick up the piece of cheese I dropped, she’s pretty content to hang on the kitchen floor dreaming of tennis balls and bacon grease.


When I’m grilling outside, her demeanor is an entirely different story. As soon as she sees me making my way outback, she quickly jumps up and stands at the door impatiently, barking until I let her out. She immediately hunts down a tennis ball and promptly throws it at my feet waiting for a game of fetch. Have you seen Marley and Me? Remember how ball crazy Marley was? Yeah, that’s how my Chubby Girl rolls. BALL. OBSESSED. I can’t throw the ball far enough for her on my own and we’ve lost our Chuck-it so instead I use an old, kids tennis racket to get the ball as far out into our yard as I can. This game goes on for as long as I’ll play. She could run for hours, chasing tennis balls. Now that she’s getting a little older, I make her stop every so often to take a break in the shade. She’d run for hours if I let her. Sun up to sun down, she’d be happy chasing tennis balls in the backyard.

Grilled Corn and Quinoa Salad,

On this particular afternoon, I grilled corn and she hunted fuzzy, yellow balls. I made salad and she continued to hunt fuzzy, yellow tennis balls. When the heat got to us both, we took a break in the shade. I settled in with a book, a cold glass of water a big bowl of this charred corn salad. Chubby lat at my feet begging for just a bite. I might have dropped a fork full or two on accident so even she could enjoy the flavors of summer!

charred corn and quinoa salad,

Using fresh corn and grilling it is the key to this delicious salad. The orange and lemon juice make this fresh, light and the perfect light summer meal!


Charred Corn & Quinoa Salad


This vegetarian salad is all about the charred corn. The lemon and orange vinaigrette are perfect for this bright summer salad.


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 ears organic corn, husks removed
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled cojita cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon @ 3 tablespoons
  • zest and juice of 1 large orange about 3 tablespoons
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. In small sauce pan bring the water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook quinoa about 20 minutes or until done. Remove pan from heat and transfer quinoa to a baking sheet so it cools more quickly. (Alternately, you could use leftover already cooked quinoa- you’ll need about 3 cups, cooked.)
  2. While the quinoa cooks, heat the grill to medium-high. Brush the corn with the olive oil and grill about 5 minutes total, turning it often so it chars but doesn’t burn. Remove the corn from the grill and let it cool before removing the kernels.
  3. When the quinoa is cooled, add it to a large bowl. Add the charred corn kernels, minced red onion, red bell pepper, cojita cheese and cilantro.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, orange juice, and garlic. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is mixed together. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and corn salad. Sprinkle with extra cojita and cilantro if desired.
  6. Salad can be served room temperature or cold.