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. #
    David Hogman — July 19, 2013 @ 5:41 am

    Salads can be so tasty..very healthy, colorful and delicious salad. Thanks for the recipe.


  2. #
    dorothy — July 19, 2013 @ 5:45 am

    yummmmmmmmmmmm! this has made me hungry!

    my lifestyle blog –



  3. #
    onegirl — July 19, 2013 @ 7:13 am

    I have always hated cilantro, but I keep trying and trying. THIS RECIPE IS IT!! I made it last night, and my future hubs and I just loved it. As you say, cilantro is a thing. HA!!HA!! Thanks so much for making my palate finally mature.

    Also, I really appreciate that most of your recipes are for 2-4 servings. Usually recipes feed an army and I hated halfing them, so your recipes are perfect for me. Thank you!!!


  4. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — July 19, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    Piiiiiitch Perfect. i’m sure it’s no surprise that I love the crap out of that movie.


  5. #
    Mary — July 19, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

    OMG, this was a huge hit at my house, my hubby said he could eat it every night…I made the following changes: I used leftover chicken, I did still season it before heating it in the pan, I used Mexican Hot Chili Powder instead of paprika… I’m not a fan of garbanzo beans, so I substituted kidney beans… So good….


  6. #
    Karen — July 20, 2013 @ 1:20 am

    This looks so tasty!!!!! I love all the yummy things you included. I will definitely have to try this. I think Hubby will love it too. Thanks for sharing!


  7. #
    Jackie — July 20, 2013 @ 10:10 am

    Looks great! Can you freeze this dish?


  8. #
    Christine Szalay-Kudra — July 20, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

    I have been trying to find a way to introduce the kids to Quinoa, as it is so healthy and so good for you. Thanks for giving me the perfect recipe to try them out on it. I love the blend of ingredients it makes it so versatile and who doesn’t love barbecue. Do I have to tell them up front that it is suppose to be good for them or can I just sneak it past them?



  9. #
    theresa — July 20, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

    definitely trying this out! for the quinoa, do you measure two cups and then cook it, or two cups after its been cooked? i know it kind of fluffs up a bit after cooking…or am i being too particular here…


  10. #
    Heather — July 21, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

    We made this for dinner last night and it was delicious! Many of our favorite recipes are from you, so thanks!


  11. #
    Hayley — July 21, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

    I just finished eating my bowl and had to tell you how amazing it is! I think eating bbq chicken and corn together in July is just meant to be. :)


  12. #
    Erika — July 24, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

    Hey! This looks really great…. your BBQ sauce looks pretty awesome too. Did you make it? If not, what kind do you use?


  13. #
    Daniel Fletcher — July 25, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

    Adding quinoa based dishes to my diet has been a new year resolution from me in 2013; thank you for this amazing looking recipe i hope it tastes just as well, because i am going to try it today.


  14. #
    Angie @ Pint of Goals — July 27, 2013 @ 5:53 am

    My husband (and me a little) made this for dinner last night, and it was fantastic! The flavors all worked so well together, and the cilantro and green onions kept it fresh.
    Love love love your blog!


  15. #
    Traci — August 10, 2013 @ 11:25 pm

    I made this tonight for two friends and myself. I made several additions/substitutions, including using spicy jalapeno chicken sausage instead of chicken breasts and sauteed red peppers rather than roasted red peppers. Long story short: everyone loved it, and it’s something I’ll make again and continue to tweak to my liking/what I have in my refrigerator and pantry at the time! Thanks for the recipe inspiration, and congrats on the cookbook. :]


  16. #
    Tara — August 19, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

    Made thus tonight and it was amazing, and boyfriend approved with four sources of protein ( I also never serve enough protein with dinner)!


  17. #
    Amanda Z — November 12, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight, and hubby and I thought it was delicious! Such a great mix of flavors, and I love bbq. Thanks for the recipe!


  18. #
    Rachel — January 23, 2014 @ 1:35 am

    Made this tonight and it was a huge hit with husband and kid alike. We substituted Pinto beans for garbanzo. It will definitely become a staple in our family. Thanks for the recipe!!!


  19. #
    Olga — June 22, 2014 @ 6:08 pm

    I tried this and it was AMAZINggggggggggg. Do you mind if i post this on my blog in my own words and with my own pictures and i will credit the recipe to you ?


  20. #
    Kristi Rimkus — March 25, 2015 @ 1:22 am

    I discovered this delicious looking quinoa recipe over on Pinterest and wanted to stop by to tell you that I’ve linked to it on My Weekend Healthy Recipes Roundup. I love the barbecue sauce. What a terrific idea!



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