Not Recipes

How to Make Quinoa Salad Without A Recipe

By • September 2, 2013 • 18 Comments

Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: How to make any quinoa salad, using whatever ingredients you like, in 5 steps flat.

How to Make Quinoa Salad Without a Recipe on Food52

This is my secret weapon for never, ever eating a boring or otherwise unsatisfying lunch. I practically live on this.

Quinoa prepared this way also provides the launch pad for casual dinner party sides that your guests will adore. For easy weeknight dinners, we like this with just a few chopped tomatoes stirred in, along with a handful of arugula -- used as an herb, really -- to serve with grilled meats, shrimp and sausages. 

How to Make Quinoa Salad Without A Recipe

1. Wash the quinoa thoroughly under cold, running filtered water for about a minute. This gets rid of the bitter taste some quinoa otherwise will have. Black, red, or white quinoa will all work.

How to Make Quinoa Salad Without a Recipe on Food52

2. Put the quinoa into a heavy saucepan with twice its volume of water or stock -- I use a fragrant corn stock made from the inside husks of recently picked summer corn for this -- along with a crushed, but intact, clove of garlic, and a good pinch of salt. Give it a good stir.

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3. Bring to a boil; then, reduce to a low boil and let it cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the water or stock is absorbed, and the little white rings on the quinoa have popped up.

Quinoa Salad

 

4. While the quinoa is still hot, fish out the garlic clove, and immediately stir in any finely chopped alliums you want to mellow. One scallion per quarter cup of dry quinoa works well. You can also finely chop the cooked garlic and throw it back in, but that’s optional. Add a couple generous splashes of vinegar -- I use about a tablespoon of vinegar for every quarter cup of dry quinoa but then, I really like vinegar -- and fluff up the quinoa with a fork. Taste it, and add more salt if necessary.

Quinoa Salad

5. Let the quinoa sit, covered, until cool and then, stir in a few tablespoons of finely chopped herbs. (We like parsley or cilantro, or both.) Follow that with a generous drizzle of the tastiest extra virgin olive oil you own, and a few grindings of nice black pepper. Taste just before serving, and add more vinegar, too, if it's not quite bright enough. This keeps for about four days in the fridge.

Quinoa Salad

This tastes delicious as is, but also provides the perfect blank canvas for a side or main dish salad. Stir in any combination of the following: chopped roasted or grilled vegetables, corn kernels (either raw or cooked), chopped cherry or heirloom tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, avocado or peppers, or marinated vegetables or olives.

A handful of toasted pine nuts or pepitas, or a small chunk of feta or blue, crumbled, goes well. Add whatever other chopped fresh herbs or acids, e.g., lemon or lime juice or sherry vinegar, strike your fancy. Have some leftover grilled shrimp, fish, or chicken? Cut into bite-sized pieces and add that, too, if you like. The possibilities are endless.

More: For more ideas, browse the entries for Your Best Quinoa Recipe!

Quinoa Salad

Still looking for a recipe? Here are some for inspiration:

Photos by James Ransom

Jump to Comments (18)

Tags: quinoa, salad, how to, how-to & diy

Comments (18)

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about 1 month ago bamoo99

I have a question on this part : "After the installation is finished, you should remove the i386- and the boot-folder" : what do you mean by "the boot folder" ? I don't find any "boot" folder on my BUS Key.Watercolor Paintings

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3 months ago Dorothy4s1ss

Sometimes it is so hard to find good and useful posts out there when doing research. Now I will send it to my colleagues as well. Thank you for being one of them.
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3 months ago Alice4s1s

I like the way you described the topic with such clarity. This is something I have been thinking about for a long time and you really captured the essence of the subject.
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6 months ago Ruth McAllister

Sarah, try using apple cider vinegar.

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6 months ago Sarah

Thanks, Ruth! I even have that one in my kitchen already. :)

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6 months ago Sarah

What kinds of vinegar do you use? I'm a pretty novice cook and not sure what would work best.

Alice

10 months ago Alice Gardner

Grain salads are great, but quinoa provides the extra protein I need to make it a whole meal. The best thing is that it can be hot or cold, whichever tickles your fancy. I like mine with lemon juice, olive oil green onion and feta- both warm and cold.

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10 months ago stitchinfox

I make a cup of Quinoa weekly and have it ready to go in my refrig. I nuke it to heat it and add arugula or any green, avocado, goat cheese, green onions, grape tomatoes, left over cooked veggies or fruit(raspberries, grapes, apple, pear)or nuts. Then I splash it with avocado oil and white balsamic vinegar or Lemon Honey or...The possibilities are totally endless...I eat it for breakfast as a hot cereal...Love, love, love it!!!

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11 months ago Susan

I also use QUINOA as an extender for meat sauces and for taco meat! The family cannot tell the difference in taste but can tell by the look of the little tails! I now use 1/2 pound of ground beef and 1 or 2 cups of prepared QUINOA! I believe that I can continue to minimize the portion of meat and add even more QUINOA! HEY! Even my 18 year old grandson loves it!

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11 months ago Susan

I put leftover QUINOA, fresh or leftover sauteed veggies such as onions, peppers, broccoli, etc., into a low carb tortilla shell that I have spread with hummus, dijon mustard, and nuts and/or seeds or both! Makes for a quick, filling, and nutritious meal! I love the nutty taste of QUINOA and the protein and nutritional value!

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12 months ago CottageGourmet

We eat a lot of quinoa and consider it as you do, a blank canvas -- but this puts everything into a really pretty frame. Thank you!

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12 months ago phyllis

I'm trying to lose 10 pounds and, for me, lunch is the hardest to control, so I boil up a pot of Quinoa, bulgar or faro put in the refrigerator and add chopped up raw vegetables for a delicious healthy lunch. Thanks for sharing this.

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12 months ago Ruth McAllister

It's also really delicious with cooked green lentils, lemon juice and curry paste or powder. Thanks for posting.

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12 months ago harriet

Quinoa, like bulgar, has so many variations. I usually add chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced radishes, cukes (any kind), chopped garlic, celery, lime juice, kosher salt, olive oil. Mix it up the day before, and when ready to serve, taste and add more kosher salt and/or juice and olive oil.

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12 months ago Fairmount_market

Thanks so much for a great post. This will be the backdrop for tomorrow's left over grilled vegetables and corn.

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12 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thank you so much, F_m. I hope you all like it. As I mentioned in the head note, I practically live on this stuff . . . we have found it quite handy for (very) quick bean and quinoa burgers, too!

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12 months ago cookinginvictoria

This is such a great post, AJ! Quinoa and salads made with grains have been some of our favorite make-ahead dishes to eat this summer. I love all of the thoughtful, helpful tips here, such as cooking the quinoa itself in a flavorful stock (just made corn stock last week for a quinoa soup and it was delicious!) and mixing the aromatics and acid into the cooked quinoa while it is still warm. I always look forward to your excellent writing, AJ -- so wonderful to see your work featured as part of the Not Recipes column! :)

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12 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Thanks, cookinginvictoria. If you make it with corn stock, you'll find yourself eating it right out of the pot and asking yourself why you didn't make a double batch. Putting the vinegar in the warm quinoa is a carryover from my all-time favorite potato salad -- "German potato salad" is what my mother called it -- made by tossing the hot potatoes with vinegar. They both absorb the vinegar. And the scallions . . . well, I'm just not a fan of raw onions of any kind, so the scallions get cooked a bit when folded in right away. ;o)