Trying to make quinoa salad a spring staple -- what's your fave?
April 4, 2015 9:27 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite (cheap & simple) quinoa salad recipes?

Every week or so I've been making a simple quinoa salad with black beans, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and a dressing of olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and red pepper flakes. I've made a few variations on this (once with roasted eggplant instead of cherry tomatoes, and a couple times with feta cheese and cucumbers in a more greek-style). They've been tasty, but I'm looking for more recipes/variations on this.

I'm a college student, so I value cheap ingredients (I probably won't be buying fresh herbs), as well as ease of cooking (I liked the roasted eggplant, but it obviously took longer than chopping up cherry tomatoes). I'm not a vegetarian, but don't eat a ton of meat, and would like this salad to be more/less a complete meal.

All that said, what's your favorite recipe(s) you think I might like?
posted by kylej to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 73 users marked this as a favorite
Chopped apple or pear, raisins or dried cranberries (try a brief soak in hot water to plump them up), Champagne Pear vinaigrette from Trader Joe's.

I feel like it would be good with cubed chicken breast, or walnuts, but that might be too fussy/spendy for you. Green onions would be nice in there as well.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:32 AM on April 4, 2015

Caprese salad (mozzarella, basil, and tomato). I like bulking it up with spinach and serving with a balsamic vinaigrette. I know you said no fresh herbs, but basil is so, so easy to grow in a window!
posted by mchorn at 9:34 AM on April 4, 2015

Best answer: Try chickpeas and a tahini sauce for a hummus-y flair with a chunkier texture! Avocado, jalapeños, and tomato for a guac flavor. Canned tuna, chopped up preserved lemon, and olives. Hard boiled egg, bacon, and frisée. Black bean, cilantro, and lime...
posted by thirdletter at 9:42 AM on April 4, 2015

Quinoa tabbouleh is a fave - it's the same core ingredients as the original middle eastern salad but with the bulgur wheat swapped out for quinoa. Here's an example of a recipe:
posted by elkerette at 9:50 AM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I eat this one all the time (minus the feta usually): Greek Quinoa and Avocado
posted by backwards guitar at 9:59 AM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Room temp or cold quinoa + sliced grapes + lemon juice + chopped scallions + crumbled feta + a splash of olive oil = ZOMG it's like heroin we eat so much can't stop nom nom nom.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:10 AM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Do you cook your quinoa with broth or water? Using broth (even vegetable stock instead of meat stock) will bring out more flavor. I'd try an Italian version myself by adding some tomatoes, cucumber, black olives, green peppers, and balsamic type dressing. I've definitely seen people add chick peas. Also, if you are in the mood for some meat, adding some canned or otherwise separated chicken would be a nice touch.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:21 AM on April 4, 2015

A few that I've either tried, or pinned to try when I get round to it:

Ultimate detox salad

Quinoa salad with basil and pistachios

Crunchy August salad

Fennel, quinoa and broad bean salad

Roasted brussel sprout quinoa salad

The final one is a bit more involved, cooking-wise, but it's totally worth it. I know what you mean about herbs being expensive. I have had some success growing certain ones on my kitchen windowsill, which is much more cost-effective.
posted by schmoo at 10:23 AM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Quinoa, baby peas (frozen is fine), chopped mint, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garnish with pine nuts.
posted by quince at 10:44 AM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

I will cook just about any recipe Heidi Swanson posts at 101 Cookbooks--and she's got a ton of quinoa recipes. I definitely recommend double broccoli quinoa. It's primarily broccoli and garlic. I prefer to dry toast or otherwise precook the garlic since the raw garlic can get a little intense. And you can sub whatever nuts or seeds (sunflower seeds are cheap) for almonds if they're too pricey.
posted by carrioncomfort at 12:17 PM on April 4, 2015

I use a mustard shallot vinaigrette and then add dried cranberries, walnuts, and whatever crunchy veggies I have around (celery, english cucumbers, red/orange/yellow peppers).
posted by sciencegeek at 12:21 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's a hot dish, not a salad, but I love this Smoked Sausage, Kale, and Cider Quinoa Skillet. It does call for fresh sage, but you could easily use dried. It's a super easy, relatively cheap, quick meal that I make all the time.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:29 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love basically a greek salad with quinoa. Chopped cucumber, onion, tomato, feta, dressed with a little oil and vinegar. Throw some sunflower seeds in for texture.
posted by padraigin at 12:45 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I make versions of this a lot - salmon (I usually used tinned rather than smoked or fresh), lemon, feta, dill (or other herbs - either dried or the ones you can buy in a tube in the produce section), and whatever green veg I have on hand.
posted by une_heure_pleine at 1:52 PM on April 4, 2015

Edamame, dried cranberries or raisins, red peppers, almonds or pepitas and a mustard vinaigrette is my go to.

A little protein, something sweet, something crunchy, and some veggies is my template for all grain salads
posted by peppermind at 4:57 PM on April 4, 2015

I like this buffalo chicken quinoa salad, though I usually use feta instead of gorgonzola, and I don't always use that exact combination of veggies - it'll work well with any mix of veggies that are crunchy and can be chopped into small cubes. You can also omit the chicken, though a little goes a long way in this recipe.
posted by lunasol at 6:29 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Diced sweet potato, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, cayenne, and a little olive oil.

Also, seconding using broth over water.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:46 PM on April 4, 2015

My favorite is quinoa, asparagus, strawberries, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese. If you go to Trader Joe's you can get the really fancy herbed goat cheese for cheap! Oh, and if I have pine nuts or sunflower seeds, I throw some of those in there, too!
posted by assenav at 7:53 PM on April 9, 2015

« Older Stovetop simmer --> crockpot?   |   Should I move from private sector to public sector... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.