Incan Quinoa DelightDo you have a go-to dish to bring to a summer potluck? Or when someone asks you to bring a savory dish to a potluck, do you freeze? It’s easy enough to bring cookies or brownies to a casual summer get together, but sometimes it’s harder to choose what main dish to bring.

I love attending potlucks because I like seeing all the creative dishes that people bring, that might inspire new recipes for me to create when I get home.

When trying to decide what to bring to a potluck, I usually look for a dish that:

  • Can be served at room temperature
  • Doesn’t have meat so I don’t have to worry about sickening anyone if it is left out for several hours, and so vegetarians like my daughter will have more options
  • Is light and healthy to balance out all the fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and aforementioned cookies and brownies that others will likely bring (and that I find so hard to resist)
  • Is colorful so it will tempt people to spoon it onto their plates (my goal is to go home with an empty dish, rather than lugging a potluck reject back home)
  • Has lots of flavor so it will stand out among the crowd.

Six O’Clock Scramble member Michele Houghton sent me her healthy and flavorful quinoa salad recipe that fits all the above requirements, and can even be made a couple of days in advance. Try to find the Inca Red quinoa, sold by Ancient Harvest, which makes the dish even prettier.

Quinoa is an ancient Incan whole grain grown in South America, that is popular because it’s so healthy, cooks quickly, and has more protein than typical grains.  If you haven’t tried it yet this is a great way to dive in.  You may enjoy the mixture folded into warm tortillas, too, topped with slices of creamy avocado.

Recipe: Incan Quinoa Delight

  • Total Time: 30 min(s)
  • Servings: 6 servings, about 2 cups
  • Easy to make ahead and can be served at room temperature.


      • 1 cup quinoa (Inca Red if you can find it)
      • 2 ears corn, or use 1 ½ cups canned or frozen corn kernels
      • ½ yellow or white onion, finely diced
      • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
      • 1 tomato, diced
      • 15 oz. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
      • 4 oz. sliced black olives, drained
      • ¼ cup fresh cilantro and/or chives, chopped
      • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
      • 1 lemon, juice only, about ¼ cup
      • ½ tsp. salt
      • ½ tsp. black pepper
      • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
      • ½ tsp. ground coriander
      • ½ tsp. ground cumin
      • 1 tsp. honey or agave nectar


      Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Combine the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a medium-sized heavy saucepan with a lid.  Bring it to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer it for 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let it sit for 5 more minutes.  Lift the lid and fluff the quinoa.

      Meanwhile, remove the kernels from the cobs, if necessary, and cover and steam them in the microwave or on the stovetop (no additional water is necessary) for 2 - 3 minutes.  (No need to steam the corn if using canned.)

      In a large serving bowl, combine the onions, peppers, tomatoes, beans, olives, corn and cilantro and/or chives.  In a large measuring cup or bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, coriander, cumin and honey or agave nectar.  Add the quinoa to the serving bowl with the vegetables and toss it all with the dressing. Serve it immediately or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

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    One Response to “Perfect for Potlucks: Incan Quinoa Delight”

    1. Kat

      I’ve made this before (from Six O’Clock Scramble) and I love it. Great flavor. One of my go-to dishes. Thank you for all the great recipes!