Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad

This delicious quinoa salad recipe, with corn, diced kale and and quinoa, is a lovely gluten-free salad that everyone loves. Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad can be made ahead, letting the ingredients mingle together with the cilantro and lime dressing. Perfect for any party, it’s fresh and scrumptious!

Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad

Spring and summer are always special seasons for parties. The air is fresh and inviting—it’s an invigorating time to gather together, both friends and neighbors.

This time we made a giant Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad for a taco truck 50th birthday party! [Another great recipe? My Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad – yum!]

Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad Recipe

Every year it seems one of our dear friends is having a “big” birthday. This time was our friend, Steph, who is embracing “50” with everything she has! Along with her loving family and friends, we had a great celebration.

Quinoa Salad Recipe

A classic salad everybody loves? There are so many options with quinoa, and I love how you can chop ahead and cook the quinoa and corn ahead of time, too.

But first things first. This taco truck idea was born out of the practicality of not wanting to do it all (hello, tasty Tamale Boy taco truck), to be able to invite a lot of people, and not worry about the food.

Taco Truck Party

In an effort to make sure that everyone was well-fed, we set up drinks in the back yard, a giant table with fruit and chips and salsas and salads inside, and then of course, the taco truck in the front driveway.

We didn’t quite know how many families to expect, and folks dropped in throughout the evening, so we just went with the flow.

Easy Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad Recipe

How to make quinoa salad

My favorite salad? Steph’s Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad. [Another great popular quinoa salad on my blog, Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Fresh Basil – oh, boy!].

My secret to a delicious kale salad is to chop it finely, so it adds the flavor, but not a huge bite, of kale. If you know what I mean.

Cook the corn and quinoa ahead and allow to cool.

Kale Quinoa Salad

Then it all comes together.

Dice and chop and mix everything together.

So fresh, with a ton of cilantro and the lime dressing!

Sí, por favor!

Delicious Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad

Tips for Hosting a Taco Truck Party

Variety of foods. Make several giant salads. Set out berries or fruit, chips, and varieties of salsa and guacamole. Remember when you have a taco truck come, they provide most of the food!

Self-Serve Drinks. Since the party is come and go, set out pre-made margaritas in pitchers, and let guests pour their own. Have beer and ice water.

Lemonade Stands. Let the kids run the lemonade stand in the front yard!

Buy a Specialized Dessert. Steph had a friend’s Mexican mom make Alfajores (Mexican cookies). We treated these like gold, and said “adults only,” because they were $1 per cookie. For the kids, we had ice cream bars in the freezer!

Make It a Potluck. Depending on the size of your gathering, why not make it a potluck? Ask your neighbors to bring a favorite salad. For our party, we had enough help with out-of-town guests, so we didn’t feel the need to include this on the invite.

Head to the Front and Back Yards. On a warm spring night in Portland, Oregon, we were able to mingle outside for hours, enjoying each other’s company.

Paul and I love meeting new people, so this birthday celebration was a blast for us!

Oh, and the set-up and clean-up crew? You’ve got them, right here! We had a blast making everything come together with her family, John, Katie, and Steph’s mom. :)

Feliz cumpleaños Stephanie!

Fresh Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad

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Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad

Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad--make ahead, letting the ingredients mingle together with a cilantro and lime dressing.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 12 -16


  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups kale chopped
  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 cups corn
  • 4 scallions chopped
  • 2 red peppers diced
  • 2 yellow peppers diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 2 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 8 Tbsp honey or 4 Tbsp Agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp. cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • A LOT of fresh chopped cilantro


  • Cook ahead the corn and the quinoa and allow to cool.
  • Gently toss all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Drizzle with the dressing (garlic, olive oil, lime juice, honey, cayenne pepper, cumin, and salt and pepper).
  • Keep adding chopped fresh cilantro until you get the flavor you love!

More southwest recipes: Southwest Chicken Tortilla Pinwheels [Valerie’s Kitchen], One Pot Southwestern Alfredo Pasta [Wine and Glue], and Southwest Farro Salad with Corn and Tomatoes [Well Plated].

Best Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad

One comment on “Southwest Kale Quinoa Salad”

  1. Yum! Definitely pinned this and your other one, the chicken avocado. And I love your friends hair…

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