Red Quinoa, Mango and Grilled Corn Salad with Basil Orange Dressing


I was at a gluten-free cooking class the other night at my local cookware store and one of the recipes the chef did was a version of this quinoa salad.  It was amazingly refreshing with a nutty taste I couldn’t wait to make it at home and put my own spin on it.  I wanted to serve it with the Korean BBQ Chicken I had marinating in the refrigerator for our lunch yesterday but I am not sure how I managed to finish the first batch (1 cup) of salad I made.  I thought I was just tasting it to  check if I had the spicing right and the next thing I know, it was gone. So I made another batch last night, let it chill in the refrigerator and hopefully serve it today with the steak hubby bought yesterday.

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah), is technically not a grain but the seed of the Goosefoot plant. It is used in breads, soups or even beer-like beverage and a staple in the South Americas. Some say quinoa is “the best source of protein in the vegetable kingdom”, with about 12 – 18% protein content.  It is very nutritious and does not contain gluten, which makes it popular to people who are on the wheat-free/gluten-free diet.


  • 1 cup red or white quinoa grains, washed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 ear grilled corn, cut from the cob
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 pcs green onions, chopped



  1. Boil water over medium heat then add quinoa  and salt.  Cover then reduce to a simmer, cook for 15 – 20 minutes.  Remove the lid, fluff with a fork and then set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine cooked quinoa and the rest of the ingredients.  Add the basil orange dressing, mix and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Basil Orange Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbs agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tsp sriracha sauce or chili sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.

Note: This salad can be made 1 day ahead and kept in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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» meatlessmama said: { Sep 5, 2009 - 02:09 }

I love quinoa, yours looks fabulous!

» Natalie said: { Sep 5, 2009 - 03:09 }

Yum! This looks healthy and delicious. I have plenty of cooked quinoa in my fridge (from my last post) and adding mango sounds great! The dressing sounds interesting too.

» Rita Huneault said: { Sep 5, 2009 - 04:09 }

Love quinoa, but I’ve never seen Red Quinoa

» virtual chef said: { Sep 5, 2009 - 04:09 }

Rita: I can’t really tell the difference taste-wise but it looks good with the salad ingredients! :)

Natalie: The dressing is amazing. You can also use lime and/or lemon instead of orange but the sriracha sauce gives it a mild kick!

meatlessmama: thank you!

» Tita Beng said: { Sep 5, 2009 - 06:09 }

I wonder if we have quinoa here. That looks easy to make.

» Cookin' Canuck said: { Sep 5, 2009 - 07:09 }

Your salad looks so refreshing! I adore quinoa, red or white. It has become my go-to lunch meal, with a little feta and whatever veggies I have in the fridge.

» Laura Laurentiu said: { Sep 5, 2009 - 08:09 }

Great pictures! Very nice blog!

» Angie@Angie's Recipes said: { Sep 5, 2009 - 10:09 }

Red quinoa looks really good with all the salad…

» Annie's Pantry said: { Sep 6, 2009 - 05:09 }

This looks really healthy and YUMMMY….!
I think it would be really tasty served with bourbon Glazed Chicken.

» virtual chef said: { Sep 6, 2009 - 06:09 }

tita be: maybe you can check at divi…they might be called something else.

cookin’ canuck: and they are so healthy and delicious!! i will have to try it with feta.

laura: thank you!

angie: and tastes wonderful, too!

annie: wow..bourbon glazed chicken! i’m checking your blog for the recipe!!! sounds like a winning combination!

» Alta said: { Sep 6, 2009 - 10:09 }

Wow! I mean…wow! This looks so good. I have just started to get into quinoa (recently went gluten-free) and this looks delicious.

» Elin said: { Sep 6, 2009 - 10:09 }

Hi Cafenilson,

Congrats, this salad is looks good…I love mango haha anything with mango would be great for me. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

» Winnie said: { Sep 7, 2009 - 05:09 }

All I can say is YUM!

I love red quinoa- it’s so stunning in recipes.

And that looks like a delicious sauce I will have to try- sweet and spicy all at once- my favorite combination!

» Gina said: { Sep 7, 2009 - 06:09 }

I’ve never used red quinoa before -that looks great!

» wasabi prime said: { Sep 7, 2009 - 12:09 }

Love, love, love quinoa and I love this recipe! I have a few friends who have developed wheat intolerances, and quinoa has been such a great ingredient to use for salads. I love all these flavors — so fresh and summery! Will have to try it!

» sizzlechef said: { Sep 8, 2009 - 06:09 }

Sounds good and healthy. Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

» virtual chef said: { Sep 8, 2009 - 08:09 }

alta: it tastes good, too!!

Elin: you’re welcome and thanks for stopping by. I am a mango fan, too! green or ripe!

winnie: i think the dressing really added to the YUM in this dish. the taste of basil and sweetness/tartness of orange plus a bit of sriracha put it all together. :)

Gina: let me know when you try it. I’ve used white quinoa before and just started using the red one.

Wasabi Prime: let me know how it goes. i just love the crunch and knowing that it is a healthy grain!

sizzlechef: thanks for stopping by!

» Kevin said: { Sep 13, 2009 - 05:09 }

Quinoa is great for making salads like this.

» Squeaky Gourmet said: { Oct 11, 2009 - 07:10 }

this looks so yummy–great for making ahead!

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