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August 8, 2012

Summer Quinoa Salad

This week was my first time cooking with quinoa!  I have eaten a fair share of it, but never previously took the initiative to make my own mixed salad at home.

Quinoa (which – to me – is pronounced keen-wa) is a grain similar to rice.  You cook it the same, but quinoa is also gluten and wheat-free, packed with fiber and protein.  My eyes are often bigger than my stomach with this healthy starch, and a small serving seems to go a long way.  You can read more about the nutritional value here via Wikipedia.

After perusing the hot dinner bar at Whole Foods several times, I convinced myself to try and find something similar to theirs to duplicate.  Since I made this side for a family gathering, I needed to make enough to feed ten to twelve people.  I stuck to using simple ingredients, and as it turns out, cooking with quinoa is easy to do!

*This recipe is originally adapted from Yummly’s Garbanzo Bean and Quinoa Salad.  To feed 4-6 people, cut this recipe in half using 3/4 cups quinoa, 1 1/4 cups water, etc.

Summer Quinoa Salad

Summer Quinoa Salad


1 1/4 cups quinoa (dry)

2 1/2 cups water

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (drained)

2/3 cup dried *blueberries

2/3 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

*I used dried blueberries instead of cranberries to use up what I already had at home.  Tasted great!


prep time: 15 minutes

cook/cool time: 1 hour 30 minutes

servings: 10


1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.

2. Once boiling, reduce heat to a medium-low, cover, and simmer until all water has been absorbed – leaving quinoa tender, (this should take between 15-20 minutes).

3. Transfer quinoa into a large bowl, then refrigerate until cold, (this should take about an hour or so).

4. Once quinoa is chilled, stir in garbanzo beans, blueberries (or cranberries), raisins, almonds, mint, coriander, cumin and olive oil.

5. Season to taste with salt and pepper, until satisfied.

Don’t let the hour and a half time scare you!  Your actual amount of work time is only about fifteen minutes.

This recipe is pretty simple, really:

Cook quinoa.

Cook and Cool Quinoa

Use this cook time to prep all of your other ingredients.

Summer Quinoa Ingredients

Once quinoa is cooked and cooled (about an hour later), mix in remaining ingredients.

Ingredients for Summer Quinoa Salad

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Summer Quinoa Salad mixed


Summer Quinoa salad cooled

Remember, a little quinoa can go a long way…

Summer Quinoa Salad

… and enjoy!

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4 Responses

  1. That sounds like a very fresh summer salad! I love quinoa but my husband thinks it is strange so we don’t often eat it. Hope you enjoyed!

    • Heather says:

      Thanks Sandra! I want to try another quinoa salad soon and incorporate fresh fruit into the mix, it just wasn’t practical when trying to feed 10-12 people. Keep a look out for it soon! Also, don’t worry – my husband isn’t the biggest fan of quinoa either… I have to dress it up with dressing, fruit or veggies for him to even consider trying it ;)

  2. Eva says:

    Love this. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I always make mine hearty with strong spices and other beans and veggies. This sweeter version sounds perfect for the summer! I have made some sweeter versions with pistachios, craisins, dates, Greek yogurt, and cinnamon.

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