Red Quinoa Salad Recipe - Your Way

Red Quinoa Salad Your Way

A healthy grain salad recipe that starts with red quinoa (don't worry, regular white quinoa works too, so would another grain), a few vegetables for crunch, a sprinkle of fresh herbs for brightness, a handful of feta cheese for creaminess, all tossed in an easy vinaigrette. This will be my go-to salad for the summer, protein-packed, fiber-good and eminently variable.

This recipe is so quick and easy
that I'm adding it to a special collection of easy summer recipes.
Watch for new 'summer easy' recipes all summer long.
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Spring’s come early to Missouri this year. In the country, the redbud appears especially pink against the dark green needles of the cedars, too bad they’re invasive, the scourge of the Midwest. Here in the suburbs, the fern garden should be little more than fiddleheads, instead, full furls reach west to find full sun.

But mine’s a northern soul. When it’s 80-something already in April, the calendar feels all rushed. Slow down! I want to demand. We’ve not yet had spring and already it’s feeling a lot like July and a surly-hot summer.

The only consolation? Summer cooking is simple and spare, it takes just a spark of inspiration to throw together something for the grill, a salad from the garden, a fruity dessert. Last year I collected easy summer recipes all summer long. In 2010 already, my head and my grocery list are headed back that way. Come along, won’t you?

While our salads look not the least bit alike, mine is inspired by the red quinoa salad from Tea Austen, author of the beautiful blog Tea & Cookies and the just-published book, The Butcher and the Vegetarian: One Woman's Romp Through a World of Men, Meat, and Moral Crisis. Step on over, she just might be your 'cup of Tea'!

ALANNA's TIPS Red Quinoa Salad is a concept salad, begging for adaptation depending on what’s in season and what’s on hand. So do make it ‘your way’. Start with quinoa – or heavens, choose another grain, barley, kashi or couscous, even brown rice. Have fun with the add-ins, my choices slant to the Mediterranean but don’t stop there. Just be sure to include the sharpness of some onion, a small dice of red onion or a sweet onion, say. You’ll also want something wet and something crunchy, something salty like olives or capers, something slightly sweet like fruit.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes 5 cups
    ADD-INs (for example)
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 8 halves sun-dried tomatoes, sliced in thin lengths
  • 8 halves dried apricots, sliced in thin lengths
  • Half an English cucumber, diced small
  • 8 olives, halved
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons good vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon good mustard
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh greens for serving

QUINOA Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa and cook on medium heat until the quinoa fully cooks and the water cooks off, 15 – 20 minutes. If needed, drain. Stir a bit to help cool.

ADD-INs Prep the vegetables and collect in a large bowl. For the moment, leave the feta aside.

VINAIGRETTE In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients.

SERVE & SAVOR Stir the quinoa into the vegetables, add the vinaigrette and gently stir in the feta. Best served immediately but can be refrigerated to serve later, but save the feta to stir in just before serving. Serve atop fresh greens.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (How many calories in Red Quinoa Salad? How many Weight Watchers points in Red Quinoa Salad?) Per half cup for a side serving/cup for a main dish serving: 109/218 Calories; 4/8g Tot Fat; 1/2g Sat Fat; 5/10mg Cholesterol; 147/294mg Sodium; 15/30g Carb; 2/4g Fiber; 3/5g Sugar; 4/8g Protein; Weight Watchers 2/4 points This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in fat.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite healthy summer recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!

What Is Red Quinoa?

Red Quinoa & White Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is a high-protein grain that originates in the Andes Mountains of Peru although these days is raised across the world. It cooks quickly and is easily digestible, it's also gluten-free and considered a complete protein. It comes in two variations, red and white. While I love the drama of red quinoa's nutty-red color, it tastes just like the easier-to-find white quinoa. Red quinoa is just now showing up in St. Louis, I've found it at Global Foods in Kirkwood. Otherwise, look for regular quinoa beside other grains at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and natural food stores. If your grocer carries Bob's Red Mill, look for quinoa there, or ask your grocer to order it. For more information about healthy grains, see this great guide to grains from Culinate.

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Nice to see another quinoa salad recipe! I've blogged about two different ones myself recently, and have also bought a packet of red quinoa. Perfect for Alanna's salad :)
I've never used the red quinoa. I must pick some up. Looks delicous!
Hi Alanna! Thanks SO much for the tip on poppy seeds! They are so expensive... I will stock up on a huge bag :)

Btw, love your site. I'm totally adding it to my google reader right now.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna