Corn, Edamame and Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette

Salad or Dip? You Decide … (Hint: It’s Both!)

~ This unique salad doubles as a salsa! Lemon-dijon soy sauce dressing, red pepper, corn, edamame, black beans, cilantro, quinoa. So delicious, so healthy! ~

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This is beyond good, every time I make it. Like, everybody-asks-for-the-recipe good. There are crunchy red peppers, sweet corn, edamame and black beans, all combined with a lemon-dijon vinaigrette. Add in the quinoa and … oh, yummmmm! Originally shared with me by Miss Karen (my kiddos’ beloved preschool teacher), I’ve revamped this over the years – without changing the great taste!

But there is a dilemma: Is this a “Cowboy Caviar” -style dip or a wow-your-guests salad? Honestly, I’m not totally sure. So I’ve just given in and served it as both (and sometimes even at the same party)!

And actually, that’s the really awesome thing about this recipe. You can set it out early at your party as an appetizer, then switch it over to the buffet line as a salad at mealtime. Two for the price of one – you gotta love that!

It’s delicious paired with pretty much anything. (I take that back. It may not be good with Frosted Flakes.) But, yes, it absolutely makes a fantastic dip for tortilla chips or pitas. And, it’s perfect next to a juicy burger at a summer barbecue. It even feels hearty enough to be a refreshing winter side dish.

Oh – and if by chance there happen to be any leftovers (which is rare!), I’m so happy to have this for lunch the next day!

Over the years, the recipe has evolved. I’ve cut back on the oil, and added nutritional and textural boosts from the edamame and quinoa. But it still has the uniquely delicious flavors that I loved right from the start.

I would just like Miss Karen to know that I still think of her often as I make this amazing, goes-with-(almost!)-anything salad! Along with all the handprint turkeys and popsicle stick art projects (ummmmm … yeah … I still have bins full of those), this recipe is one of my favorite preschool keepsakes.

With Memorial Day right around the corner, and a long summer of backyard barbecues ahead, I just couldn’t wait to share this easy, super-adaptable recipe!

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First, just dump a can of black beans into a colander along with some frozen edamame and corn. Give it all a good rinse to remove the liquid from the beans and to help the edamame and corn begin thawing. (Really – no cooking the edamame and corn, and no need to thaw it all ahead of time. See, I told you this was going to be easy!) Once it’s all drained, transfer it to a large mixing bowl.

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Then, add the chopped red pepper, cilantro, green onions and garlic. Toss in your cooked quinoa. (No panicking here – it takes only about 15 minutes to cook the quinoa. If you’re a little uncertain about how to do it, just hop over to our post How to Cook Quinoa (and Why You Should!) to learn more about this super-nutritious “whole grain” and how to prepare it.)

Ingredient Tip: As I promised, this recipe is incredibly adaptable. Can’t find shelled edamame? No worries – just sub a second can of black beans! Don’t have the extra 15 minutes to prepare quinoa? Totally ok to leave it out! Wanna really jump outside the box? Throw in a handful of chopped pecans! I’m not kidding – it’s awesome! C’mon – be creative!

You’re already almost done! Next, just whisk together your dressing – lemon juice, soy sauce, dijon, and olive oil – and pour it over your bowl full of gorgeous, colorful veggies. (Hey! If you’ve recently made our killer Blueberry-White Chocolate Muffins, you probably have a lemon on hand just waiting to be juiced for this recipe – perfect!)

Give it all a quick stir, and you’re done! It’s really best to pop it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving, just to let the flavors combine. But, honestly, who plans that far ahead? Besides, if you take a nibble or two to test it out, you may end up eating half the bowl right away … why wait a few hours?!?!

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When we’ve made this as a dip, we sometimes omit the quinoa – but it’s great either way!

So … Salsa or salad? Or both?

Who cares?!? Just eat!

THK By Shelley

We’d Love to Hear From You!

We’re really into quinoa lately, and are excited to head back to the kitchen to experiment with some new quinoa recipes. So, here’s the question: What’s your dream quinoa recipe? What should we try next? Scroll down to our comments box and share your ideas!

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We’ve Got Lots of Other Great Quinoa Recipes, Too! Check Out Our:

Corn, Edamame and Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette
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Yield: About 7-8 cups
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ⅓ cup quinoa
  • 3 cups frozen corn
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans
  • 1½ cups frozen, shelled edamame
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons smooth dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Place water and quinoa in a small saucepan and prepare according to package directions (which will probably indicate that you will bring them to a boil and then simmer, covered, for about 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed). NOTE: If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, then before you add it to the saucepan, you will need to rinse it in a sieve, swishing it with your fingers until the water runs clear.
  2. Meanwhile, in a colander, rinse and drain the corn, black beans and edamame, just to wash away the liquid from the beans and help the edamame and corn to begin thawing. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add red pepper, cilantro, green onions, garlic and prepared quinoa.
  4. To prepare the vinaigrette, combine lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard and olive oil in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine and then pour over vegetable mixture.
  5. Chill for an hour or two before serving to allow the flavors to combine.





Corn, Edamame and Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette — 41 Comments

  1. This looks great! We’ll be doing the traditional Easter Taco Bar again this year (doesn’t everyone have tacos for Easter?). And, we have a couple of vegans in the family right now, so this will be a perfect addition to the spread! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  2. This recipe looks great! Going to make to share at work. We like to snack all day and this looks delish and healthy. I have never had (but always wanted to try) quinoa, and this looks like the perfect way to introduce it into my diet! One thought…I have read that edamame that had been shelled should always be cooked first due to a risk of bacterial contamination. I usually buy the steamable bag and they are still nice and crunchy when served cold.
    PS…thinking I may throw some sun dried tomato feta in there too! Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi, Marlena! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment! Gretchen and I are big quinoa fans (and our families are, too! :D ). We’re thrilled to introduce you to ti! Regarding your excellent point about edamame – if you aren’t sure whether or not your bag of frozen edamame has been briefly cooked prior to freezing (most are blanched), or if you prefer a slightly less toothsome texture, then you absolutely should feel free to cook the edamame before adding it. You also could try doubling the black beans or using another type of bean (such as cannellini or navy bean) in its place. Oh! And I’m so excited to hear how the feta turned out! I love when a recipe inspires people to try their own spin – that’s really the true spirit of sharing recipes and a passion for food! Thanks again, Marlena! :D ~Shelley

  3. Wonderful! Made this for a retirement/leaving for a new job party at work last Friday. Received many requests for the recipe so I printed about 15 copies from your blog and left them in the break/party room. Only 3 copies left on Monday. Definitely will make again.

  4. YUM! I just made this for dinner and my husband AND kids love it! I did substitute Braggs Liquid Aminos instead of the soy sauce to cut down on sodium even further. I also couldn’t find Edamame out of the shell, so I subbed in baby lima beans. Delicious! Thank you so much!

    • This is one of our favorites, as well! Isn’t it wonderful when everyone at the table is happy?! Hmmmm … have never tried Braggs – does it give the same flavor as soy sauce? We’ve always just used the lower sodium soy sauce in my home. The lima beans were a great substitute – nice work! So thrilled you (all!) loved this recipe! ~Gretchen

      • Yes, same soy flavor, less sodium. We are mostly low sodium here, so we didn’t miss that salty flavor that you get with even the low sodium soy sauce. Give it a try! I use it in anything that calls for soy, including on our rice. :) Thanks again!!!

  5. Ladies – I just made this for the first time. All I can say is YUM! We served it with grilled tuna steaks, and it was a hit. I love how flexible the recipe is too: I subbed in avocado for the edamame. I also replaced the plain quinoa with Trader Joe’s “Harvest Grains Blend” which includes Israeli style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. I was worried that the dressing might be too heavy on the dijon mustard, but all the flavors melded together so well, we didn’t even notice a mustardy taste. Can’t wait to make it again…thanks!

    • Oh, Kristen, we are so excited you tried this salad! The avocado is a brilliant idea, and the Trader Joe’s blend sounds fabulous! (Yeah, ummmmm … if you read our Edamame Hummus post, then you know that we have a small Trader Joe’s addiction we are wrestling with!) You are so right that one of the wonderful things about this salad is how incredibly flexible it is. Oooooh – and serving it with grilled tuna steaks? Perfect! I hope you won’t be disgusted if I tell you that I’m drooling on my keyboard! ~Shelley

      • Ha! As long as I don’t have to use your keyboard, I’m OK with it! LOL. I forgot to mention that 2 of my neighbors stopped by while I was cleaning up from dinner. I told them about the recipe, and they also were excited to try it. Hopefully 2 more foodies following your great blog! Thanks

    • Thanks for stopping by, Cindy! Definitely give it a try – this version is a little different from the usual “Cowboy Caviar” because of the unique flavors in the vinaigrette. We absolutely love it and make it all the time – hope you enjoy it, too! ~G&S

  6. Love your site so much and LOVE LOVE LOVE this salad… SO GOOD! I made this when we had friends over this weekend and it was a huge hit! My husband told me “You need to make this more often- this is so good!” and my sometimes picky kiddos ate it up! I finished up the left over salad last night buy making a yummy quesadilla with some cheddar and pepper jack cheese and a couple whole wheat tortillas. YUMMY!
    This one will definitely become a staple in our house!
    Thanks so much Shelley and Gretchen!

    • Thanks, Gretchen! We’re so glad to hear that your whole family loves this salad, even your picky kids! And we LOVE your idea of turning this salad into a quesadilla filling – yum! Thanks so much for sharing that awesome suggestion! ~G&S

  7. This dip was excellent! I will definitely need to make this at home. Thanks so much for the great recipe

  8. Shelley – absolutely wonderful! Love the flavor and I have no idea what quinoa is but I look forward to more recipes with it. I am definitely making this for the family this weekend.

    • Adrey, we think you’re really going to like cooking with quinoa! (Check out our Quinoa Recipes board on Pinterest for lots more recipe ideas.) Quinoa is actually very ancient (dating back to the Incas thousands of years ago), but it’s grabbing headlines right now as a “superfood.” It’s loaded with protein and is one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein – great for vegetarians! Plus, it has complex carbs to keep you feeling full longer, and lots of vitamins and minerals. It’s also gluten-free. Super healthy, and also very quick and easy to prepare! You’ll probably find it in your store’s organic section or near the rice and couscous. If you can’t find it, though, definitely make this salad over the weekend anyway – it’s still delicious even without the quinoa! Let us know how it goes! ~G&S

  9. Scott brought to work your corn, edamame and Quinoa salad with the lemon dijon vinaigrette. Let me just say you blew my mind that was an amazing salad/dip. I could have eaten the whole bowl myself. I have printed out the recipe and I’m going to make this over the holiday but I’m going to add some roasted jalapenos to add a little heat. I look forward to trying some of the other recipes you two have created.

  10. Was very excited to try this salad when I got home for lunch. I was a little disappointed. The dressing was a little too tart and I really wanted to enjoy it. Maybe l will give it one more shot with chips if not I will have to toss it. Highly disappointed.

    • Oh, Whitney! I’m just crushed to hear this didn’t work well for you, and I’m racking my brain trying to think what could have gone wrong!

      I’ve made this time and time again and we absolutely love it, and it’s a huge, huge hit when I serve it at parties and get-togethers.

      I’m so hoping I can help you troubleshoot! I have several thoughts that might help you.

      One thought would be about the mustard. Did you use a true dijon, or maybe another mustard (there are so many on the market!) with a more acidic edge (such as plain yellow mustard). That could make a huge difference. A mustard like a plain yellow wouldn’t give you the same flavor profile and would be more biting. Regardless, to try to salvage this batch for yourself, you might try adding a bit more soy sauce and or/oil to take the edge off the tartness that’s bothering you. Adding a bit more of the sweet corn or the fresh-tasting cilantro might also help you. Next time around, you may also just want to cut back a bit on the lemon juice and taste your dressing as you go, only adding a bit more in small amounts until it’s perfect for your tastes. No matter how many times I’ve made it and how many people have swooned over it, it may simply be a flavor profile that’s a bit too tart for your tastes, so I really hope my suggestions have helped you troubleshoot it and adapt it. Thanks so much! :D ~Shelley

      • Shelley I am still beyond crushed I will do anything to save the remaining salad. I thought about adding more corn bc I don’t want to have to toss it. It was beyond overwhelming in the tart/citrus and I followed the recipe to a T. I’m still crushed bc all the other reviews are wonderful. :(

  11. Tossed this salad together earlier this evening and loved the results. The vinaigrette dressing was especially good.

        • I took the “Corn, edamame and quinoa salad” to a small family gathering yesterday. In spite of being mostly from the “meat and potatoes” generation, my cousins, who were reluctant initially, went back for seconds. They laughed at each other as each tried to correctly pronounce edamame and quinoa! The salad/dip was a hit.

          • This salad just seems to be one of those things that people really, really like, even if they can’t pronounce it and have never eaten quinoa or edamame before! It’s gotta be the dressing – that dressing is magical – maybe kinda like unicorns. :D Seriously, though – we’re so glad that it was a hit for you, and that we provided your family with a little entertainment, as well! We love happy, fun food! ~G&S

  12. I was lucky enough to get a sample from my wonderful neighbor and it is so good! My picky kids eat it with Tostitos Multigrain Scoops. My oldest will be upset to know I ate the rest for lunch while she was at school. I guess I will have to make more. I love this recipe!

    • Hi, Marrie! We are so thrilled to know that even your picky kids like this, but we’re sorry to hear that you’ll be in a bit of trouble with your oldest until you make some more! Maybe she can even help you make it!?! So glad you guys love it! Have a great holiday weekend! ~G&S

    • Hi, Terri! Good idea to sub the balsamic for your family! We could pretty much drink the vinaigrette with a straw, but everyone’s tastes are different, and it’s awesome that you adapted it to suit your family’s preferences! That’s one of the great things about this salad (so many reasons we love it!) – it’s easy to change it up to suit your family’s tastes or to use whatever you happen to have on hand in the pantry. Enjoy the holiday weekend! ~G&S

  13. I just added these ingredients to my shopping list. This will definitely be on the menu over the holiday weekend.

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