Quinoa Confetti Salad: A Lunchtime Standby

June  6, 2013

Vegan lunches can -- and should -- be a lot more interesting than bare salads or carrot sticks and hummus. New Veganism columnist Gena Hamshaw will be sharing inspiration for midday meals that stave off both hunger and boredom.

Today: A formula for quinoa confetti salad that will carry you through every season -- no matter what's in the fridge. 

Quinoa Confetti Salad

Shop the Story

If you were to survey my apartment, you’d find it lacking in certain essentials: band aids, scotch tape, a flashlight. What you’d find quite a lot of, though, is quinoa. I tend to make heaps of it over the weekend, then store it in the fridge and use it all week. And when there’s lots of quinoa, there’s lots of quinoa confetti salad.

This salad changes as the seasons and the contents of my fridge change, but the basic formula is always the same: 2 to 4 cups of cooked quinoa, whatever veggies and legumes I have in my fridge, lemon, olive oil, sea salt, pepper. I often finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil or a hunk of avocado, and serve it atop crunchy, fresh greens. Today’s assortment was a celebration of spring greens (kale) and my first batch of summer squash, mixed with crunchy red peppers over a bed of spinach. I had black beans at the ready, but lentils, edamame, and other beans would also be great here, as would a sprinkle of toasted nuts or seeds.

Photo by Gena Hamshaw

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • krusher
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
  • AntoniaJames
  • hardlikearmour
  • Brette Warshaw
    Brette Warshaw
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


krusher July 27, 2013
Gena, I am working my way through your recipes because I have friends I dearly love who are vegans and I want them to be well catered for when they come to my house for a meal. I do eat some meat and fish but more for B12 reasons than the pure delight of eating it. I have learned a great deal from your articles and following your vegan activities. Thank you. I have brought my vegan friends over to the food52 site which they now follow only because of your presence and the growing vegan community.
Marian B. June 6, 2013
Quinoa is a lunchtime stalwart of mine, too! I love cooking it in a little bit of coconut milk to add flavor and creaminess.
AntoniaJames June 6, 2013
Well, I had no appropriate veggies handy in the fridge today, but I always have fresh herbs and greens, so I cooked up a batch of red quinoa and made a nice little tabhouli, topped with a slice of avocado and enjoyed warm over arugula. Absolutely perfect lunch! My sister, who eats quinoa all the time, has been urging me to as well; I've been meaning to do so, but hadn't quite gotten around to it (other than to buy the quinoa!) Well, this is obviously going to become a regular lunch template for me. Thanks so much for the inspiration. ;o)
hardlikearmour June 6, 2013
This is great! I've been thinking about trying the vegan before 6 thing after reading Michael Pollan's article in the winter 2013 Lucky Peach. I figured it would be feasible if I cooked up whole grains and veggies to make bowls and salads. It's nice to have a guideline as to proportions!
AntoniaJames June 6, 2013
hla, I've been eating 18 vegan meals a week for about 8 months now, for health reasons (with spectacular results), and have gotten a great deal of inspiration along the way from this column! It's been such a fun, rewarding adventure. (I eat fish two evenings a week and the 21st meal is a wildcard, usually reserved for dinner parties at friends', or while traveling or the occasional meal out.) You should try it. VB6 would be so simple for you to do. ;o)
hardlikearmour June 6, 2013
AJ -- The sentence in the article that really shocked and disgusted me was: "All told, it takes fifty-five calories of fossil-fuel energy to get one calorie of beef". I figure I do buy grass fed (though sometimes grain finished) beef so I'm probably doing better than average. But I also like to eat cheese and yogurt, and I'm pretty sure most dairy cows are grain and silage fed. I doubt I'll ever go 100% vegan, but at least I could move toward eating more sustainably. Odds are it'll be beneficial too my health as an added bonus.
Brette W. June 6, 2013
Loving this new column -- great inspiration!
Gena H. June 6, 2013
So glad!!
krusher July 27, 2013
A total inspiration for me I can tell you.