Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad I

I made quinoa again.

Sort of trendy. Nothing that exciting. But when all the flavors mesh together, very exciting.

I like it.

I like you. So I’m telling you about it.

Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad I

I hesitate to call this one of my ideal summer meals since it still involves a fair amount of cooking. After all, it is like 90 degrees (or as I like to refer, 432 degrees) outside, but I’ve had an ear infection and gross stuff like that so for me, it’s been a nice, chilly 68 degrees. In my house. For dayssssss. I didn’t realize what a dumb idea it was to turn on the oven until I walked outside and was smacked in the face with my own personal thick cloud of hell. If you don’t know me… heat is not my friend.

So anyhoo, this bowl of quinoa is certainly a MEAL. It has chicken and beans and bacon and corn and roasted red peppers and I can’t even think of one more thing that it might need.The best part is that it tastes awesome cold, so while the whole oven-turning-on thing is a pain, it’s worth it in the end. Make a big batch, stick it in the fridge. Uh, I actually stuffed this into tortillas one day too. Like BBQ quinoa salad tacos.

Too much?

I didn’t think so.

Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad I

It’s also a completely perfect complementary meal if you’re sitting on the couch trying to belt out every Bruno Mars song known to make in your own little a cappella group.  I’ve spent the last ten days (at least) speaking in Pitch Perfect lingo and I have to say… I think it’s the Mean Girls of this decade. Right? The amount of times I’ve watched it in the last two weeks is absurd and I realize that all of you must think that I do nothing else but sit on the couch and watch TV.

You’d be partially correct. I eat too.

Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad I


Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad

Yield: serves 2 to 4

Total Time: 40 minutes


2 cups cooked quinoa
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/3 cup BBQ sauce + more for drizzling
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup sweet corn kernels
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup freshly torn cilantro
4 green onions, sliced


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crispy and fat is rendered, then remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain. Add the onions to the skillet and toss to coat in the bacon grease. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low and cook until the onions begin to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally while cooking. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then remove the onions and the garlic and place them in a bowl.

Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder. Add it to the same skillet over medium-high heat and cook until it is browned and golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked through, stir in 1/3 cup of the BBQ sauce and reduce the heat to low. Add in the cooked quinoa, onions, chickpeas, corn, red peppers and half of the cilantro and green onions. Toss well to mix. Right before serving, stir in the bacon, reserving a little bit for topping. Serve and garnish with the remaining cilantro, green onions and bacon.

Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad I

I lasted less than a week attempting to share a recipe without corn. Swear it’s worth it.

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96 Responses to “Summer BBQ Quinoa Salad.”

  1. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — July 17, 2013 @ 6:58 am

    What a fantastic Salad! I love it! The flavors sound incredible!!! Awesome recipe!


  2. #
    nicole @ I am a Honey Bee — July 17, 2013 @ 7:00 am

    hope your ear infection goes away soon. hey totally suck.

    salad looks incredible.


  3. #
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl — July 17, 2013 @ 7:04 am

    This combo of ingredients is pure deliciousness! Definitely making this ASAP!!


  4. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 17, 2013 @ 7:23 am

    I love all the textures and layers of flavor. And I love the wood surface you shot it on!


  5. #
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun — July 17, 2013 @ 7:29 am

    This looks BEYOND delicious. My husband typically loves anything involving BBQ so I will have to add this to my dinner menu one week VERY soon!


  6. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — July 17, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    Haha well that’s just fine that you couldn’t resist the corn, because I went a little overboard at Costco on the weekend and bought way more than I needed…. so in a way, you’re helping me not let it go to waste! This sounds awesome. i’m down for anything BBQ-related!


  7. #
    Jodie — July 17, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    I have some leftover quinoa in the fridge and was planning to make your crispy quinoa sliders for lunch, but now I am seriously considering this salad!! Such tough decisions


  8. #
    Tracy | Peanut Butter And Onion — July 17, 2013 @ 7:38 am

    Nice summer salad!


  9. #
    Molly @ Baklette — July 17, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    As always gorgeous photos! And heat is not my friend either, the humidity has been brutal lately!


  10. #
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) — July 17, 2013 @ 7:51 am

    First off, I hope you feel better soon! Ear infections are no fun at all. Secondly, the salad sounds amazing! I’m definitely doing this for the boys once Tony gets off this stupid cleanse he’s on. This is the third time he’s done this dang thing and it’s miserable just being around him! HANGRY! Third, I swear, in my own world (you know, the kitchen, the car and the shower) I sound just like the Bellas belting out that Bruno Mars song. You know, much like how I sound like the perfect compliment to James Taylor. ;)

    Feel better my friend!


  11. #
    Ashley — July 17, 2013 @ 8:12 am

    I want those plates!!! Feel better! :)


  12. #
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat — July 17, 2013 @ 8:15 am

    What a beautiful salad! I love the combination of flavors!


  13. #
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — July 17, 2013 @ 8:37 am

    Cold salads are always made in double at my place. They make for rich pickings when you are looking for something to nibble on. Who care if it is trendy? if it taste good that all that matter to me! I could eat this all up!


  14. #
    Tieghan — July 17, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    I love this salad, I love quinoa and I love corn. It looks pretty darn perfect to me!

    Also, I want those plates! They are so cool!

    Oh and feel better soon!


  15. #
    Harper — July 17, 2013 @ 8:45 am

    Yeah this looks amazing.

    Hope you are feeling better soon!


  16. #
    Amanda @ Food, Fitness, Faith — July 17, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    I lo-hove this! It looks amazing!!! I’ve been on the same Pitch Perfect kick too! The soundtrack is the only thing getting me through my workouts lately!


  17. #
    Chelsie — July 17, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    I’ve used the phrase “Even though some of you are pretty thin, you all have fat hearts, and that’s what matters” at least four times in the past week….


  18. #
    Marcie @ Flavor the Moments — July 17, 2013 @ 11:02 am

    This looks really delicious! It’s one jazzed up quinoa salad, which I just love.


  19. #
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — July 17, 2013 @ 11:04 am

    It’s like you took all the best things and then mixed it with more of the best things to make this. I want it SO BAD right now.


  20. #
    Alaina — July 17, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    Oh yeah, this is definitely getting bookmarked! The flavors sound amazing! Can’t wait to make it. :-)


  21. #
    tianna @ the spark — July 17, 2013 @ 11:26 am

    anything with barbecue sauce reminds me of summer and is good in my book. looks delicious. – and as always, beautiful photos. :)


  22. #
    Laurie E. — July 17, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    I’m making this this weekend when it’s supposed to be cooler.
    Today? They are forecasting a 102 head index. Yes, in Wisconsin- a.k.a. “The Tundra.”
    It’s so humid, it feels as though you are walking through pea soup.
    Stay cool Jessica.


  23. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — July 17, 2013 @ 11:45 am

    I definitely need this!!! Looks amazing!!!


  24. #
    Melissa — July 17, 2013 @ 11:52 am

    I love the addition of BBQ sauce in this recipe; so seasonally appropriate!


  25. #
    Melinda — July 17, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

    I had an ear infection last week, too! Is it possible we have bacon poisoning? If so, I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.


  26. #
    Maria Tadic — July 17, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    This is a really great idea! BBQ sauce gives dishes a “meaty” flavor without really having to add meat – which is good for me. Did the quinoa get mushy at all from adding a sauce to it? Would you recommend maybe cooking it a little shorter?


  27. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — July 17, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

    Get in mah belly!


  28. #
    joelle (on a pink typewriter) — July 17, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    Sounds really yummy!


  29. #
    Larry — July 17, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

    This would be perfect shoved inside some crispy-fried tortilla taco shells. OMG you’re mad genius. MAD GENIUS I TELL YOU!


  30. #
    Dana Ivy — July 17, 2013 @ 1:52 pm

    I’m absolutely UB-sessed! with Quinoa lately, too! And salads! This is right up my alley– namm nammm.

    Dana Ivy – Check out my blog!!


  31. #
    Joan Collier — July 17, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

    That recepie looksdelicious!! mmm..


  32. #
    Eileen — July 17, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    This salad sounds great! I love the idea of transforming the traditional BBQ into a huge whack of salad. I would absolutely have stuffed this into a tortilla wrap too!


  33. #
    Annie — July 17, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

    Umm, absolutely making this sans the chickpeas (beans make my stomach hurt). Thanks, Jessica! When are you publishing a cookbook, lady?!


    • Jessica — July 17th, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

      late 2014. :)


  34. #
    Jamie @lifelovelemons — July 17, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

    oh my gooooooodddd this looks unreal. Ahhhh!!!


  35. #
    Cristina — July 17, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

    I often make a quinoa that’s almost identical. But without bacon. What have I been thinking? Need to include bacon next time!


  36. #
    Margot — July 17, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

    This looks great, i am going to make it for dinner tonight. What do you mean by cooked chickpeas. Did you just saute them in olive oil?

    Thanks for taking time to answer my question.


    • Jessica — July 17th, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

      nope just cooked meaning you can used canned beans! either ones you cook yourself or canned – if you use canned make sure they are drained + rinsed!


  37. #
    LisaG — July 17, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

    Yum I foresee this in lettuce wrap form!! Still loving your weekly menu at the bottom of blog!!


    • Jessica — July 17th, 2013 @ 9:31 pm



  38. #
    Wendy @ all kinds of miles — July 17, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

    Oh my gosh, yum. This looks amazing! What are your thoughts on adding goat cheese to it?


    • Jessica — July 17th, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

      I think maybe I’d add feta before goat!


  39. #
    Des @ Life's Ambrosia — July 17, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

    This is quiona perfection! I cannot wait to try it. I’ve been using quinoa instead of rice in my kitchen for the last two years. I just love how versatile it is. And I keep hearing about Pitch Perfect but I have yet to see it. I might need to change that.


  40. #
    Jenni — July 17, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    Your idea of stuffing this in tortillas sounds amazing. You really ARE trendy. Quinoa wrap-like things. Sounds magazine-worthy. Like maybe even a healthy mag. ;)


  41. #
    Jessie {Life As A Strawberry} — July 17, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

    Ummm, this looks aca-awesome. Also, have you heard of Pentatonix? They’re the a cappella group that won the last season of the sing-off. And I’m kind of obsessed. They post crazy amazing covers on YouTube all the time and have sold out three tours already (I went to a concert. Mind = blown).


  42. #
    Kim in MD — July 18, 2013 @ 8:03 am

    Oh my…this looks SO delicious! I know what’s for dinner tonight!


  43. #
    Christine @ Gotta Eat Green — July 18, 2013 @ 11:13 am

    Oh wow.. what a delicious looking salad! I would SO stuff this into a wrap too.. I’m a tad wrap obsessed.


  44. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — July 18, 2013 @ 11:25 am

    Mmmm such deliciousness going on in this salad!!!


  45. #
    katie @ ohshineon — July 18, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

    I’m totally buggin’ out about this combo.


  46. #
    Aggie — July 18, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    I hope you are starting to feel better! Nothing worse than feeling sickie in the summer time heat. I love that you went BBQ with quinoa. This looks so good girl.


  47. #
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen — July 18, 2013 @ 5:03 pm



  48. #
    BJ — July 18, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

    I can’t be clever & witty worthy as SEVERAL replies here (Aca-amazing kills me.) becuuuzz I’m too hungry to mess around right now. I’m using the bags of brown rice/wild rice/quinoa pre-cooked from Costco miss mash to speed up the process of stuffing this in my face.


  49. #
    Colette (Coco in the Kitchen) — July 18, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

    I’d lick the plate.


  50. #
    Ronni — July 18, 2013 @ 11:48 pm

    This looks amazing and it’s definitely going on my “To Do” list for the weekend.



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