Zesty Quinoa Salad

Quinoa has a lovely nutty flavour and can boil in less than 20 minutes, so it's a convenient and nourishing alternative to pasta or rice for a quick meal.

Quinoa is a flowering plant grown as a crop, primarily for its edible seeds, which are rich in protein, dietary fibre, essential amino acids, B vitamins, and dietary minerals in amounts greater than many grains.

Considered to be a ‘superfood’ thanks to its high nutrient value, quinoa also contains antioxidants and is naturally gluten-free.

It’s no surprise then that quinoa is a terrific and popular source of additional protein for vegans and vegetarians, as well as those needing to keep gluten out of their diet.

Quinoa Adds Goodness To Everything

Quinoa has a lovely nutty flavour and can boil in less than 20 minutes, so it’s a convenient and nourishing alternative to pasta or rice for a quick meal.

As it can be quite plain on its own, quinoa can do with a little boosting by adding some seasoning, lemon and chopped herbs of your choice – and even some chopped chilli if you like a bit of a kick. 

Stuffed into vegetables (like red peppers), quinoa makes a great stuffing, with the addition of a bit of crumbled feta mixed through it. It also makes a tasty base in healthy salad bowls.

Because of its high protein and fibre quotient, quinoa is not only a healthier option than rice and barley, but will also fill you up faster, allowing for smaller portion sizes.

How To Cook Quinoa So It Comes Out Fluffy Every Time

To cook quinoa perfectly every time, you want to get the right ratio between quinoa and water. The best ratio that produces the perfect quinoa texture is 1 ¾ cups of water for every 1 cup of quinoa.

Like couscous, if you use any more water, then the quinoa will end up mushy, and any less, and it will become too dry.

  1. Place the quinoa in a sieve or strainer and rinse under the tap to clean off any dirt and remove the outer coating of saponins, which would otherwise give quinoa a slightly bitter taste.
  2. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium pot, using a ratio of 1 ¾ cups of water for every 1 cup of quinoa.
  3. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to allow to simmer.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa liberally with a fork to separate and prevent clumping.

Let’s Make A Zesty Quinoa Salad

We have two delicious versions of a quinoa salad, showing how versatile, delicious, healthy, and energy boosting this superfood really is!

Zesty Quinoa Salad | Cooking Clue

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Corn

This salad is packed with flavour and nutrients, with black beans and corn for extra fibre and colour.
Servings 4
Total Time 34 minutes


For the Salad

  • cups cooked Quinoa
  • 1 cup corn kernels canned or fresh
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup red onion chopped
  • 1 avocado chopped

For the dressing

  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup coriander leaves chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt

Alternative Dressing

  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • tsp salt
  • pinch cayenne, optional for additional heat


For the Salad

  • Toss together the quinoa, black beans, corn, avocado, red onion, and half the fresh cilantro

For the Salad Dressing

  • Add the other half fresh cilantro, yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and cumin to a blender
  • Blend until smooth, adding extra yogurt or oil if it is too thick
  • Toss into to the salad when ready to serve

For the Alternative Salad Dressing

  • Whisk together all the ingredients and set aside until ready to serve
  • Toss into to the salad when ready to serve


If making ahead of time, wait to add the avocado and dressing.
Course: Sides
Keyword: black beans, corn, quinoa, quinoa salad, sides, vegan, vegetarian
Zesty Quinoa Salad | Cooking Clue

Quinoa Prawn Salad Bowl

These prawn, pesto and quinoa bowls are delicious, healthy, pretty and take less than 30 minutes to make. They're the ultimate easy weeknight dinner.
Servings 4
Total Time 25 minutes


For the Prawns

  • ½ kg large prawns, 16 -20 size peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved if you prefer
  • 1 avocado large dice

For the Dressing

  • cup prepared pesto
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper


For the Prawns

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat
  • Add the prawns and cook, stirring, until just cooked through with a slight char, 4 to 5 minutes
  • Set aside on a plate

For the Dressing

  • Whisk together the pesto, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl
  • Keep 4 tablespoons of the mixture aside in a small bowl
  • Set both bowls aside

Bringing Together

  • Add arugula and quinoa to the large bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to coat
  • Divide the arugula mixture between 4 serving bowls
  • Top with the tomato, avocado and prawns
  • Drizzle each bowl with 1 tablespoon of the reserved pesto mixture
  • And serve


The dressing will keep refrigerated for up to 2 days
Course: Sides
Keyword: prawns, quinoa, quinoa salad, salad bowl, sides
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