There is so much to love about this gorgeous and nutritious quinoa salad with corn and crispy bacon. You get the sweetness, saltiness and crunch in one dish; plus, this salad is hearty and satiating while being light and healthy at the same time. Featuring crunchy peppers, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, feta and delicious lemon honey mustard dressing, this is a meal you will want to cook over and over again. You can make this quinoa corn salad with the help of the Instant Pot or using the stovetop (both methods are provided). Gluten-free and can be made vegetarian-friendly.
With sweet corn in peak season and some streaky bacon on hand, we decided to make a lovely quinoa salad that is filling enough for lunch or dinner. The sweetness of the corn is complimented by the saltiness of the bacon and added feta cheese, while quinoa served as the perfect protein and fibre-rich base with its neutral, nutty flavor. The salad is full of other nutritious goodies: tomatoes, peppers, herbs, onions and a lovely dressing.
We used the Instant Pot to cook the quinoa and corn at the same time, which turned out perfectly and meant that we didn’t have to use the stove too much. You can, of course, cook them in a regular pot.
HOW TO MAKE QUINOA CORN SALAD WITH INSTANT POT
Cooking quinoa in the Instant Pot is super easy and the time required is perfect for also making the corn at the same time. We pan-fried the bacon while the two were cooking in the pressure cooker but you could also cook the bacon on a Saute function in the Instant Pot before or after you make the quinoa and corn.
To cook raw quinoa, you need to follow these simple guideline:
- Rinse quinoa under cold water first
- Use 1: 1.25 water to grain ratio (1 cup quinoa with 1.25 cups water)
- Cook for 1 min on HIGH pressure with natural release
Cooked quinoa doubles or almost triples in size similarly to when you cook rice, so for 4 servings, we found 1.25 cups of uncooked quinoa were sufficient but you might want to make more or less, so simply decrease or increase water as needed. In our case, we used 1+1/4 cups mixed color quinoa and added 1 + 3/4 cups water (or just a little under). This ratio is perfect for cooing the quinoa without having to strain it afterwards as all of the liquid is absorbed into the grain while it cooks.
You will find the full list of ingredients, methods and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below. Here is a handy step-by-step video to guide you through this corn bacon and quinoa salad.Print
Quinoa Corn & Bacon Salad (Instant Pot or Stovetop)
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Learn how to make delicious, satiating quinoa, corn and bacon salad with cherry tomatoes, peppers, cilantro and feta, drizzled with yummy lemon, honey and mustard dressing. You can make this gluten-free recipe using the Instant Pot or on the stovetop. It’s perfect for a healthy dinner or hearty lunch and can also be served as a potluck dish.
1 + 1/4 cups uncooked quinoa (any color, 190–200 grams)
1 + 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2–3 sweet corns on the cob, cut in halves (see more options below)
8 oz. / 220-230 g bacon rashers
1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 cup diced sweet red or yellow peppers
3 scallions/spring onions, diced
1/4 cup packed with chopped fresh cilantro
3 oz / 90 g crumbled feta cheese
For the dressing
3 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
4–5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard or Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove (minced, crushed or grated)
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
A pinch of pepper
We used the 6-quart Instant Pot for our cooking method.
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water and allow to strain in the sieve. Cut the corn cobs in two halves.
- Part 1 – Instant Pot method. Add the quinoa to the inner pot followed by water (1:25 grain to water ratio) and salt and stir through. Gently place the corn halves on top of the quinoa. If using frozen corn kernels, scatter them on top. Pop the lid on, lock and set the pressure cooker to Manual/Pressure Cook for 1 Minute at HIGH pressure. The Instant Pot will take about 5 minutes to build up the pressure. Once the timer is done, allow the pressure to release naturally, which will take about 10 minutes. So the total should be about 20 minutes max.
- Once the pressure is released, open the lid and remove the corn to a bowl to cool slightly. Fluff the quinoa with a spatula and allow to cool in the pot or in a salad bowl. The liquid should all be absorbed and the quinoa should be fluffy. If there is still any liquid left, strain quinoa through a sieve.
- Part 1 – Stovetop. Add quinoa, water and salt to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmering, add the corn on top and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-12 minutes until the quinoa is fluffed up and liquid is mostly absorbed. Keep an eye on the pot so the bottom doesn’t burn (if the pot is wider, it might take less time for the water to get absorbed). If it feels like quinoa is not completely cooked but the liquid is absorbing too quickly, add a little more hot water to the pot. The corn will steam on top but you can also cook it in a separate pot.
- Part 2. Prepare other ingredients. While the quinoa and corn are cooking, pan-fry bacon rashers in two batches if needed, until crispy on each side. We didn’t add any oil to the pan as the fat in the bacon released enough oil while rendering. Once crispy, remove to a plate with some paper towel to absorb excess fat. Diced cooked bacon into small strips or cubes.
- Prepare the remaining salad ingredients and whisk the dressing in a bowl or a small jar.
- Part 3. Assemble the salad. You can serve this quinoa corn salad in a flat platter or in a deep salad bowl. Simply combine pre-cooked quinoa with most of the other ingredients and the dressing, reserving a little bit of corn, feta, bacon, veggies and herbs to garnish the top of the salad. Drizzle any remaining dressing over the top.
Corn: We used fresh corn on the cob as we made this salad in the summer. You can use 2-3 cobs, cut in halves, depending on how big they are. Frozen corn kernels can be used, add about 1 cup on top of quinoa. If using canned corn, you don’t need to cook it, simply open the tin, strain and use in the salad.
Vegetarian option: Omit the bacon and replace with either grilled halloumi cheese, more feta, sun-dried tomatoes or pan-fried mushrooms.
Bacon-free: For a pork-free version, you can use turkey bacon or some grilled chicken or shrimp instead.
- Serving Size: 2 cups of salad
- Calories: 658
- Sugar: 10.6 g
- Sodium: 1181.4 mg
- Fat: 42.2 g
- Saturated Fat: 12.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 53.4 g
- Fiber: 6.3 g
- Protein: 19.3 g
- Cholesterol: 51.3 mg
Keywords: Quinoa, Corn, Healthy, Salad
MORE INSTANT POT QUINOA RECIPES
- Kale & Quinoa Pilaf (GF, Vegetarian)
- Mexican Quinoa Salad With Cilantro Dressing
- Pressure Cooked Quinoa With Broccoli & Cheese
- Miso Quinoa With Mushrooms & Peppers
SAVE THIS CORN BACON & QUINOA SALAD TO PINTEREST
The colors really show how really good this is! Will surely try this again!
This salad is gorgeous! I have a big group coming for a BBQ on Saturday and will be making this one for them. Can’t wait – so many great flavors!
Anything with bacon in a salad will grab my attention! The only bacon I have is turkey so I’ll crumble it and make my quinoa over the stove top too. This will be my lunch for a few day!
Colorful and refreshing salad recipe. So delicious. Thanks for sharing
Love the crunch and flavor in this salad! Perfect for our BBQs this summer!
So happy that I found this recipe! Really quick & easy. Really fresh & DELICIOUS! Really filling & satisfying. Follwed the recipe exactly, using Dijon mustard, as suggested because that is what I had on hand and was so happy with the results! This is one that i would make again and again!
This recipe arrived with perfect timing as I had all but a couple of items – subbed regular tomato for cherry, and no peppers but a few pickled pepperoncini. I was not sure how the slightly sweet dressing would work, but it does. Excellent and a recipe wide open for easy improv. Thank you!
Thanks, Katherine! Glad you enjoyed it and that you added your own twists to it 🙂