Lemon Quinoa Salad

Cooking for a Crowd, Cooking for One or Two, Recipes, Worknight Dinners
lemon quinoa salad
lemon quinoa salad

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Quinoa has become an absurdly popular kitchen staple for even the most reluctant home cook, but a lot of us barely know how to pronounce it, let alone know what it actually is. Lets just say that there was a steep learning curve from the time I made quinoa to the time I mastered a lemon quinoa salad as pretty and as veggie-full as this one.

Cultivated in the Andes for over 5,000 years, quinoa has been dubbed the “the gold of the Incas.” With a slightly nutty taste and as a source of protein, iron, magnesium and fiber, quinoa is one of our healthiest and easiest pantry staples.

This salad is packed with super food properties and flavored with lemon juice and a little bit of honey. You could easily substitute ingredients here: green, orange or yellow pepper for red pepper or golden raisins instead of currants to add sweetness.

Quinoa is one of the most versatile things you can cook, but before we start, let’s talk basics.

How much cooked quinoa will I need to make?
1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa. A plain cup has about 220 calories, 4 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. Most recipes will call for 1 dry cups of quinoa depending on how many people you’re serving.

How much liquid do I need to cook 1 cup of dry quinoa?
To cook 1 cup of dry quinoa, you need about 2 cups liquid, similar to what you need when you make rice.

How long does it take to cook quinoa?
1 cup quinoa will cook in about 20 minutes.

How do I make quinoa taste good?
Before cooking, remove quinoa’s natural bitterness by removing the outer coating with a vigorous rinse in a mesh strainer. When you’re cooking quinoa, use vegetable or chicken broth in place of water.

After cooking, add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt to each cup of dried quinoa while cooking. Depending on how you plan to use it, you could also add black pepper, fresh herbs, a smashed garlic clove or grated onion.

lemon quinoa salad

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Lemon Quinoa Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ oz. red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup dried currants
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (slivered almonds work too)
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
  • Sliced green onions, for garnish (optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook until all of the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let cool.
  2. Add the chopped bell pepper, currants, pine nuts and parsley. Stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and stir to combine. Top with green onions and serve at room temperature or refrigerate, covered until ready to serve. Keeps about 3 days.
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  • Reply
    Kris Cain
    January 23, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    I have only had quinoa a couple of times. It was pretty good. This looks great! #client

  • Reply
    January 21, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I had quinoa for the first time this weekend and loved it. I am definitely going to make this

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