Peach and Corn Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Ranch: filled with nutritious ingredients and bright, fresh flavor. This summer quinoa salad is perfect for meal prep lunches or easy entertaining.
Happy August! We have officially entered PEAK peach AND corn season, and I cannot get enough. Together, peaches and corn are the sweet stars of summer, and I can't think of a better use for them than fresh + filling salads.
Peach and Corn Quinoa Salad: Summer BLISS
My love of quinoa salads runs DEEP. Not only are they perfect contenders for make-ahead meals, they're as versatile as it gets. This peach and corn quinoa salad can be assembled on a Sunday, and enjoyed on repeat throughout the week. (Two of my other favorites that fit the bill: Quinoa Southwest Salad with Chipotle Dressing and Fiesta Mango Quinoa Salad.)
- This stellar summer quinoa salad is a bright blend of fiber and protein-packed quinoa, stone fruit, pepitas, and queso fresco.
- The ingredients are tied together with a zippy, creamy cilantro ranch dressing that you’ll immediately crave on everything.
Thanks to its protein- and fiber-rich ingredients, it's filling enough to stand on its own for a lunch you’ll look forward to all morning. It's also an ideal companion to a wide variety of proteins, from Pesto Salmon to Chipotle Black Bean Burgers to my favorite weeknight Chickpea Meatballs.
- Quinoa: gluten free, whole grain goodness and a complete source of plant-protein. Quinoa has a nutty flavor and is filled with fiber, making it a wonderful, hearty base for the salad.
- Peaches: fresh peaches are juicy sweet flavor to this salad. You can either dice the peaches, or thinly slice them.
- Corn: use fresh, frozen/thawed, or canned corn! If using fresh, you need about 2 cobs, which you can grill or boil, if desired. I personally love using Trader Joe's frozen fire-roasted corn.
- Red Onion: adds a tasty crunch and bite. Alternatively, you can use shallots.
- Pumpkin Seeds: for richness and crunch, I love using roasted, salted pumpkin seeds. Alternatively, you can use almonds, pine nuts, or pecans here.
- Avocado: For a jolt of satiating fats and fiber, one whole avocado lends crave-worthy creaminess.
- Cheese: I suggest using a creamy, salty cheese like queso fresco, which is traditionally made from raw cow's milk. Alternatively, you can use cotija or feta cheese.
- Dressing: a mix of fresh cilantro, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, olive oil, garlic, and vinegar create a creamy, zippy dressing.
Step 1: Cook the Quinoa
Start by combining the quinoa, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a low boil, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer, covered, until the quinoa is fluffy. This usually takes about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Prepare the Dressing
In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, yogurt, olive oil, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper; stir with a whisk until smooth.
Step 3: Assemble Peach and Corn Quinoa Salad
To the bowl with quinoa, add corn, peaches, avocado, red onion, pumpkin seeds, and queso fresco. Pour dressing overtop, and toss to combine.
Health Benefits of Quinoa:
Pronounced “keen-wah”, this pseudo seed has an impressive nutrient profile (see below). Quinoa has a nutty flavor and is extremely versatile in cooking. If I’m not using it in a salad or wrap, I use it as a higher protein substitute for rice or couscous.
- Plant-based complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids.
- Contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat omega-9, and polyunsaturated fat omega-3.
- Contains antioxidant phytonutrients called flavonoids.
- Loaded with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:
- To Make Ahead. Feel like a meal prep master by prepping this healthy quinoa salad recipe at the start of the week. From there, you can pull it right out of the fridge and enjoy on chilled or closer to room temperature.
- To Store. This salad will last in the refrigerator up to 4 days (even after being dressed!). This salad DOES not freeze well and should not be frozen.
More Quinoa Salad Recipes
If you make this summer quinoa salad, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review!
Peach and Corn Quinoa Salad with Cilantro Ranch
- Medium Saucepan with Lid
- Mixing bowls
- ¾ cup dry (uncooked) quinoa
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ cups grilled corn kernels (from 2 cobs) (sub frozen/thawed fire-roasted corn or canned corn)
- 2 small-medium peaches, thinly sliced or diced
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
- ½ cup Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled
- ⅓ cup minced red onion
- ⅓ cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and stems
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 grated garlic clove
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Combine quinoa, salt, and 1 ½ cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer, covered, until the quinoa is fluffy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
- While quinoa cools, prepare Cilantro Ranch. In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, oil, yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic, pepper, and salt; stir with a whisk until smooth.
- To the bowl with quinoa, add corn, peaches, avocado, queso fresco, red onion, and pumpkin seeds. Pour Cilantro Ranch overtop, and toss to combine. Enjoy warm, chilled, or closer to room temperature.