Citrus Red Quinoa Salad

When the Carnival Season comes to a close with Fat Tuesday’s feasting and all that is left from my King Cake is crumbs and jewels, it’s definitely time to slow down the pace, clean up the eating and begin the Lent Season.  I do observe these 40 days of Lent starting on Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter.

Abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday, I am looking forward to cooking and sharing many of my fish and seafood recipes and veggie main dishes.  And so my daughter doesn’t feel like her only option is eating tuna fish, I’m posting this salad for her as I heard the slight panic in her voice the other day when we were chatting over the phone about meatless meals.  Her long busy day running from classes to work to all her activities does make it hard for her to take the time to eat well.  And she knows that getting enough protein in her meals helps her stay fuller longer.

Quinoa is a perfect little grain, actually a seed; that is a complete protein and a great source of nutrients.   I’ve purchased both the white quinoa and red quinoa, now preferring the red more for salads.  But either will work well, as I used the white in my Quinoa Tabbouleh .  For this salad I kept it light and citrusy with chopped oranges, green onion, bell peppers and pine nuts for crunch, but the possibilities are endless; from dried fruits to chopped raw or cooked veggies, various fresh herbs and chunks of cheese.

Citrus Red Quinoa Salad

2 cups red quinoa, rinsed well
3 1/2 cups water

Pinch of Kosher salt

Zest from 1 large orange, then peel and roughly chop orange segments

1 red or orange bell pepper, diced

1-2 green onions, finely chopped

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice or lemon juice

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon minced fresh ginger

Pinch of cumin

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine well rinsed quinoa and water in a saucepan.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork and spread out evenly on a baking sheet to cool completely.  Prepare the vinaigrette by combining all in glass jar and shaking well.  Combine the cooked quinoa with the remaining ingredients, dressing lightly with some of the vinaigrette tossing to combine well.   Season to taste with the salt and pepper.  Serves 6.

61 thoughts on “Citrus Red Quinoa Salad

  1. Quinoa is one of my favorite ways to sneak in more protein. I also eat a lot of lentils, which I think would be great with your ingredients here too. I may try that this week – the orange juice and ginger sound fantastic in the vinaigrette!

  2. I’m probably the last person in all of WordPressLand to have never tried quinoa and it seems to me you and I may have had this conversation once before. One of these days, I’ll remember to buy some and then I’ll come back here and look up your quinoa recipes. If they taste anywhere near as good as the rest of your recipe file, I’m in for a treat. Wouldn’t it be ironic if quinoa was a proven memory booster? 🙂

    1. I’m surprised to see that you are not the last person to have tried it based on the comments I’m seeing here!! I thought it was going to be another quinoa recipe, nothing new, but I’m so glad that many have not yet tried it. Hopefully you will some day and definitely report back and let me know!!

  3. You just explained something for me, Linda. I thought I hated quinoa, but I ate it a few times in New Mexico. I didn’t know there were two types. It is white quinoa that I hate (formerly served as a breakfast cereal at retreats). I like red. I also like cumin, mint and citrus flavors, so I’m sure I would like your salad.

      1. I fix quinoa for breakfast, just like I do oatmeal: brown sugar or maple syrup and milk. And I’ve branched out to adding coconut and raisins :)!

        re the entire “meatless meals” – I typically cook a batch of quinoa or brown rice or both…and a pot of beans – on the weekend. The ways to use them are many but my fallback with both is a quick saute of “grain”, beans and whatever veg I have – in olive oil. A finish of lemon juice or a good vinegar and I have a meal that is filling and enjoyable and quick. Currently, citrus season, I add clementine or mandarin sections. But apple slices work also.

        LOVE the citrus added to your quinoa recipe and I’ll have to try the red. I’ve assumed they all tasted the same – duh…

      2. Oh Liz, that sounds really good for breakfast. I do have to try that. I like your tips for the meatless meals. I’m going to share those with my daughter. It is easy if you prepare ahead and this would be perfecft for her giving her more options. And for me too!

  4. This looks really good. The first time I used red quinoa I thought it cooked at the same speed as white. It was REALLY chewy. 🙂

    I’m going to try this but I think I’ll add raisins or sultanas to it just for a hint of sweetness.

    Lovely recipe.

  5. This looks like a fantastic meal. I think I would enjoy this for lunch. It would be fresh, tasty and would keep me full until dinner. (And it’s much better looking that tuna fish.) 😉

    1. I was actually thinking of you Kristy as we’ve mentioned to each other how we like to pack up lunches similar to this. A batch of this lasts me for several lunches and I’ll even throw in more stuff along the way to stretch it out!

  6. I´ve still not cooked with it as its so expensive here but I do enjoy it. Didn´t know though there was red and white….you see, you learn something every day! Am going to tell my mum about this as she uses it a lot and also observes lent so she´ll love a new way to cook with it 🙂

    1. lol…I probably should have written about that in my post. I use a fine mesh strainer and turn on the water! Some will definitely float up and some will sneak through the mesh. I have also placed a paper towel over the quinoa to hold it down when rinsing. That seems to be the best way to keep them in place!!

  7. I love quinoa, my son’s trainer introduced us to this “super food” two summers ago. It takes a simple salad and makes it a complete meal and I love that about it! I haven’t tried red quinoa and I’ll be looking to buy some know, it makes your salad so pretty and colorful!

  8. Mmmm, I love red quinoa, especially in salads, sometimes I just toss a handful into a salad or soup that I’m making 🙂 This looks like an excellent recipe, love the vinaigrette!

  9. I didn’t even know there was red quinoa?!? I need to get some, stat. I love the citrus mix with it, too. So jealous of your access to all the citrus. It’s not quite the same up here in the Pacific NW.

  10. What a lovely salad; red quinoa is delicious and there are so many different ways you can enjoy it and serve it up. I like the addition of nuts and citrus here – what a gorgeous vinaigrette too with the ginger… yum, a perfect protein for meatless days…

  11. I’m not sure that I’ve ever had quinoa before. Going to have to check with Liz, as she keeps records of the foods I’ve consumed (I keep track of the wines she’s enjoyed). 🙂

    It does sound good to me though!! Have a great weekend Linda!

    1. Thanks so funny Jed, I’ve definitely heard of keeping records on wine favorites, but food too??!! I’d love to see a list of all the food you consumed!! I did keep a list of things I knew my frequent guests didn’t like or were allergic to so that when I threw dinner parties I wouldn’t serve something they didn’t like or couldn’t eat!

  12. The quinoa salad sounds delicious especially with all the fresh citrus available right now. I had a nice salad on our trip that was made with black quinoa but have not seen it in the stores in New Hampshire.

  13. Linda, this looks like the best way to start off the clean eating this week and one would never miss the meat. I love the mix of flavors with the simple vinaigrette. The photo is stunning; I’ve noticed your photos have gotten even better! Any tips?

    1. Geni, I still have a hard time taking photos!! Out of hundreds I take!! Really, its luck. I don’t have a fancy camera but do try to always take them in daylight tho my King Cake was taken indoors at night…I really need to take a class!!

  14. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as “red quinoa” – is that the only “other” colour, or are there other types too? I’m not sure if I could find it here – would have to look hard. It sounds wonderful, I bet it’s just great to heap onto a plate and wade in 😀

  15. Quinoa, I just bought a box for the first time the other day. Very difficult finding some of these ingredients here in HK. I would love to give this recipe a try as it sounds so refreshing.

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