Quinoa Chipotle Salad with Roasted Corn & Avocado

This Quinoa Chipotle Salad with Roasted Corn & Avocado is might be the perfect salad. Truly delicious, so pretty and to top it off…a wonderful healthy mix of ingredients!

Quinoa Chipotle Salad with Roasted Corn & Avocado

This is the first in a series of recipes I’ll be doing that will be provided to me by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. I’ve mentioned before that I met a group of folks with this organization when they were in Denver doing a cooking demonstration at Whole Foods while in town for the Susan G. Komen annual Race for the Cure.

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I was impressed with their whole body focus of healing for people dealing with cancer and chemotherapy and that included a diet that was not only super healthy but super delicious too.

They won me over with Kale Pesto and sealed the deal with this Quinoa Chipotle Salad with Roasted Corn & Avocado. So good…but what was with those itty bitty cups for samples huh? I do believe I asked for 2nds 3rds!

I immediately bought some red quinoa at Whole Foods (if you can’t find it, certainly substitute the plain old ordinary variety) but that’s about as far as it went. Every time I had the urge to make it I was missing something. I will substitute often when making a recipe but these components were all critical. What do you use in place of cilantro or avocado anyhow? See?

If you read my post last week, you know that my youngest daughter Lauren has been diagnosed with breast cancer. A week later we know that the first test to see if it’s genetic came back negative; she will be doing one more to confirm that result but this is great news, as Lauren said, ‘It means I get to keep ‘my girls!’

She is also delaying a trip to North Carolina where she was born to get treatment started sooner; it’s Stage 2 and while a week or two shouldn’t make a big difference I think everyone who loves her is glad to just see her get started on the road to mending; trips can wait.


Despite all of the tests and scans and more information than one can almost absorb, one decision she did make was to cut off her gorgeous long hair and get a shorter look in anticipation of losing it after chemo starts.

I’ve always said her hair is model gorgeous, long, thick, just the right amount of curl and everyone knew how hard this was going to be.


So, we made it a celebration; her sisters Emily and Maddison along with friends and co-workers gathered in the salon with brownies, cookies, champagne, flowers and balloons and we made a big damn deal of it.

She had up to 10 people at the station of her hairdresser Jenny watching it come off, from that almost painful first cut to watching her get it dried and styled. She was absolutely valiant.

You know it was hard but she still  laughed and kidded with everyone and her keeping it together helped all of us do the same. And you know what? EVERYONE loved this look. It brings an element of sophistication to her style that was unexpected but is so stunning. But seriously, with that face, what could look bad, am I right?


Of special meaning was seeing the kids she has babysat for since she was thirteen; Calli, Lexi and Jimmy Ringsby. The kids took the news hard and it was as good for them to see Lauren as it was for her to be with them.


The kids and their mom Joanna spent hours making a whole bag of pink bead bracelets that they handed out to everyone there; the rest they gave to Lauren to give to other friends in support of this journey.

They created unique ones just for Lauren; the ones you see above with white crosses; mom said it was like a sweatshop cranking these out the night before but we’re all so grateful for this special effort. They also created the hashtag #WaunStrong for her to keep track of messages via social media.

What? Who? Why? Well…when the Ringsby’s oldest daughter Calli (2nd from right in photo) started to talk, she called Lauren ‘Waun’ and it just seemed perfect to bring that back around; the Ringsby’s have been a big part of Lauren’s life and their support of her now is especially heartfelt and welcome.

We all want to help keep #WaunStrong so I’ve decided to christen this effort of providing her love, support and good nutritious foods as Waunstrong Wednesday! I hope you will join me each week to provide constant loving support and encouragement and I promise to provide you with some great food. Deal?


I have to mention how amazing Blondie’s hair salon in Bonnie Brae was. If you’re in Denver, go there. Period. To a person they were kind and helpful and I simply can not imagine anywhere else that would have made us feel as if our party was not as obtrusive as I know we must have been!

Jenny? Your talent, patience, generosity and kindness will not be forgotten. Nor will your pink hair. Proof? I have an appointment with you next month! Whitney and Joe? So sweet, so helpful, really, all of you were such a big part of this day being so positive for Lauren and I can not thank you enough. Tell your boss I said so.

We kept the party going with a trip to Pink’s Clothing Boutique next door for some fashionista moments. The owner’s daughter is going through a health crisis of her own so we bonded and she was so generous, giving Lauren an adorable sweater she coveted.

We finished the day at Margs in Cherry Creek with some…you guessed it…margaritas! I know this is just one step on the road to many but my heart was so full when I got an email from Lauren the next morning, ‘Mom, yesterday was such a great day.’ I promise you sweetie, there will be many, many more.

Quinoa Chipotle Salad with Roasted Corn & Avocado

I made this Quinoa Chipotle Salad with Roasted Corn & Avocado for our dinner last night and it is not only delicious and flavorful, but it’s loaded with many different types of nutrients. Though quinoa is generally thought of as a grain, contrary to popular belief, it is actually seeds. Quinoa has an abundant source of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.

For those that are vegan or lactose intolerant, this can help with meeting daily calcium needs. Avocados, which are present in this recipe, are full of fiber and contain a healthy type of fat called monounsaturated fat, which does not clog arteries like saturated fat does.

They are also a higher containing source of potassium than a banana, are rich in B vitamins, vitamin K, and vitamin E. Try eating this with lunch or dinner as a side or even as your main entrée. It is so good that I hesitate promoting how good it is for you for fear that would cloud your opinion. Try it yourself; you’ll see.

Since this is quinoa and I’m sure I pronounced it wrong for a year or more, I can’t help but wonder if I’m alone.  If you’re ever in a social situation where you need to be all fancy pants and want to come off more Don Juan than “ermahgerd” Eat24 has prepared a list of 10 commonly mispronounced food items that I thought I would share.

I learned something today too!

  1. Quinoa: Pronounced: keen-wah
    The new king of the grains demands proper pronunciation.
  2. Pho: Pronounced: fəʊ or fuh
    Regardless of how you pronounce it, this soup contains the cure for just about everything.
  3. Quesadilla: Pronounced: key-suh-dee-uh
    Yes Napoleon Dynamite is hilarious, but its lessons on pronunciation are awful.
  4. Gyro: Pronounced : yee-row or zheer-oh
    You’re a hero if you were getting this right.
  5. Sriracha: Pronounced: shree-ra-cha (According to the official Sriracha website)
    Use tact when addressing the boss of sauces.
  6. Beignet: Pronounced: ben-yay
    As Django would say, “The “G” is silent”.
  7. Chipotle: Pronounced: chi-poht-ley
    Smokey smoked jalapeños that is as fun to pronounce as it is to eat.
  8. Espresso: Pronounced: e-spres-oh
    Yes it does give you energy but don’t you dare say expresso.
  9. Gnocchi: Pronounced: nyawk-kee
    Saying “That Potato Pasta” just isn’t fancy enough.
  10. Bruschetta: Pronounced: broo-sket-ah
    The Italian appetizer that is not a brush.
  11. Mascarpone: Pronounced mas-car-po-neh
    OK, this is my addition. Look at it closely. There is NO Mars anywhere to be seen!

Thanks for stopping by; Lauren has been encouraged by all of the tweets and comments supporting her. This truly is a time when the love and support of friends, family AND strangers means so very much. #WaunStrong!

UPDATE: So proud of Lauren and her positive spirit and happy to announce that she has been declared CANCER FREE after 6 months of treatment. Thanks everyone for staying the course; knowing how much support she had all over the world cheered her and made this journey that much less difficult. Now to start growing out that gorgeous hair!

Red Quinoa with Corn and Avocado from @creativculinary

Red Quinoa in Chipotle Adobo Sauce with Avocado

Creative Culinary
Maybe the perfect dish. Beautiful, so healthy and beyond delicious. We LOVED this salad!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 -6 Servings


  • 2 & 1/2 cups water
  • 8 ozs red quinoa it's pretty but use regular too if it's not available
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce the recipe from CCA says to use sauce only but that would have taken several cans to achieve; I simply put the peppers in a small processor and mixed with the olive oil and lime juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 bunch scallions sliced thinly
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro cleaned, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted corn If in summer, I would have roasted on grill but I actually thawed and drained some frozen corn, tossed with a bit of olive oil and roasted the kernels under the broiler for 3-4 minutes
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 -2 avocados diced (firm avocados work best)
  • juice from 1/2 lime to coat avocado


  • Bring water to a boil, stir in red quinoa.
  • Reduce to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes, or until liquid is gone.
  • Cool quinoa quickly.
  • Slowly whisk olive oil into lime juice and adobo sauce until well-blended.
  • Adjust flavor with salt.
  • Add chipotle lime dressing to red quinoa and mix well.
  • Dice avocado and coat with lime juice to prevent browning.
  • Gently stir in avocado and remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Chill before serving.


Nutrition Facts
Red Quinoa in Chipotle Adobo Sauce with Avocado
Serving Size
1 grams
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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  1. A gluten free, healthy southwest pasta salad with an incredible sweet and spicy chipotle-lime greek yogurt dressing. Great for Summer BBQs — protein and fiber packed!

  2. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughters diagnosis Barbara. My thoughts and prayers are with you both. I know you both will get through it as Lauren seems to have a wonderful support network. My Grandmother was diagnosed 2 years ago, but after chemo and radiation treatment she is now in remission. Best wishes for you both.

    1. Thank you Jennifer; we have a tough road for sure as she has chemo; lumpectomy and radiation planned. But she’s young and strong and remission is our goal for sure.

  3. A beautiful post, Barb! It’s wonderful to see your daughter surrounded by so much love and support. I’m truly inspired by this celebration together and Lauren’s new haircut is stunning on her. You’ve created a terrific dish here – I eat lots of quinoa and will be making it soon.

  4. Really lovely post, Barb. The support and love for Lauren jumps out of that photo. Even though the coming days will be challenging I am glad to know that she has such a good support system. She is not alone in this fight.

    btw, love the pronunciation key!

    1. Thank you Winnie…if ever you would like to do a guest post and offer up something; it would sure be appreciated. I’m SO glad Lauren is going into this trial in the best shape of her life. Working out, drinking green (kale) smoothies…I just want to offer up the most nutritious foods possible and I know you know what those are!

  5. Barb, such a great post! I love this salad, just my kind of food it sounds amazing! Lauren’s haircut looks amazing, she really is gorgeous and what a lovely thing you all did together, moments like that are special indeed!

    1. She’s a strong girl but this journey requires a lot of support…we’re just getting started!

  6. I know what I’m going to be having next week for lunch!! This looks fabulous – the colors are truly stunning! And speaking of stunning, your daughter is definitely “stunning” – truth be told I think the new haircut is absolutely gorgeous – it really brings out Lauren’s beautiful features! The haircut party sounds like it was truly a wonderful experience for everyone… told ya cancer didn’t know WHO it was dealing with!!!

  7. What an awesome post and I love that you all made the hair cut into a celebration. I’m sure Lauren and your support of her are very inspiring to many people going through similar situations.

    On a different note, I’m obsessed with quinoa (which my husband pronounces Ken-a-Wah, drives me nuts but I’m just happy he’ll eat it), but I’ve never had red quinoa!

    1. Thanks Rachel; wishing I could go through this for her; least we can do is make sure we’re there every moment to support her.

      I think your hubs and about a billion others. I’m sure I said Quin-O-E-Ah for too long!

  8. What a moving beautiful post for a beautiful beautiful daughter. She really is. And she sounds valiant and courageous! I think she’ll be the one propping her mom up! What a wonderful day you organized for her. We are all behind her and cheering her on and I hope she feels our presence and our love. And lucky she has you to cook such incredible food for her. Sending virutal hugs.

  9. I love the salad it really sounds delicious and the health benefits make it even better. Lauren looks absolutely beautiful, her hair is gorgeous and that new short hair cut really suits her. She is very brave and I love how everyone is rallying with her and that you made haircut day a celebration, this is a tough time for all I know but you are all facing it with courage and a positive attitude, and that is half the battle, which you will win, I know it.

  10. Best of luck to Lauren! Cutting the hair must have been tough. Great salad! Quinoa is a wonderful grain, and even though I see it everywhere, I still find people who don’t know it. Love all the flavor in this recipe – anything with chipotle has my full attention! Thanks.

  11. I was wondering where the #Waunstrong came from and after reading this post, I love how it originated. How wonderful that the kids have kept in touch with Lauren all these years and how supportive these young people are being for her. The bracelets for everyone and the special ones for Lauren are so beautiful because of the special message and meaning they hold. I also love that you are going to be doing these Waunstrong Wednesdays and kicking them off with this healthy salad was a great choice.
    Life makes us take some paths throughout our journey that we would rather not have to travel. Yet, often more often than not, for many it seems, once we venture down it, even filled with fear and trepidation, we seem to grow stronger and less fearful with each step. I know that your beautiful Lauren will not have to take one step alone throughout this journey and I know that she will find strength that she never knew she possessed, as will you. God bless you.

    1. We love those kids; they used to be neighbors and often when Calli was little she would come here sometimes for a bit before Lauren got home from school to sit for her so I’ve always been close to her too. They are all great kids and I was almost in tears seeing them; for me it had been awhile! They’re all on Instagram and she will occasionally put up a baby photo of herself…oh the sweet memories! Thank you Paula, you always say the sweetest things but hoping your words ring true for Lauren. I just want Easter 2014 to be here, quick like a bunny!

    1. I love it too; she is struggling with it and thinks we’re just being nice. Um, no I LOVE IT MORE! She has some great friends; hoping they can all hang in there for the long haul.

  12. What a gorgeous cut for a gorgeous daughter! Prayers going up for the upcoming journey you will all take together.

    The only question I have is how many servings does this recipe make? I hope I haven’t overlooked it but I don’t seem to be finding that.

    1. Oops; hmm, need to fix that don’t I. Now it all depends. I could have eaten a huge big bowl so do I cite 2 servings or 8? 🙂 I’ll go find the document from the folks at CCA and see if they included that info; but in any event I will get it revised.

  13. What an upbeat way to start Lauren’s difficult journey. With the love of family and friends, she will certainly make it through this difficult time and come out stronger on the other end. What a delicious recipe, nourishing for both mind and body. I look forward to seeing more of these.

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