Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad Recipe

I love to cook, but must admit that occasionally the thought of making a meal that takes longer than 15 minutes for one person can discourage me. Then along came this ancient grain into my joyous kitchen and life got a little bit easier.

If you're like me and appreciate meals that are simple and easy to prepare and you've not yet delighted your taste buds with this nutty, slightly crunchy, gluten-free grain, then let me introduce you to your new best kitchen friend -- quinoa, pronounced "keen-wah".

Quinoa is a pantry staple because just like rice, it keeps for a long time. If you buy it in bulk and have a few herbs and veggies on hand, then you have dinner in less than 15 minutes. I have even brought this delicious salad to my meat-and-potato-loving family shindigs and they actually liked it, no wait, they LOVED it.

If you are an inquiring mind and want to know all about quinoa's awesomeness and a cool trivia fact then you must check this previous recipe to learn how Inca warriors hundreds of years ago considered it to be the key to increasing their stamina.

Quinoa is such a versatile grain because you can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and it literally takes on the flavour of whatever you decide to add to it, herb or spice-wise. For non-vegetarians, instead of boiling it in water, you could cook it in chicken stock for even more flavour. As a breakfast dish, you could cook it in apple juice for a sweet taste. I remember when my mom used to cook brown rice in apple juice and then mix in chunks of apple to get my brother and I to eat rice, guess what -- it worked. But back to my latest love affair with quinoa, this recipe is fantastic as a side dish, but it's so good you might as well make it your main dish.

Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad Recipe


  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 20-30 grape or cherry tomatoes (slice them in half if they are large)
  • 4-5 stalks of chopped celery
  • 1 sweet white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro or basil or parsley (my fave is cilantro)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: 1/4 cup of soft organic goat cheese


  1. Bring quinoa and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes with a lid on, stir every so often.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, combine all the vegetable ingredients and herbs.
  3. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat and rinse in warm water. Once slightly cooled, transfer to a medium size bowl, add the veggies and mix everything together. Pour in some balsamic vinegar and olive oil to your desired consistency, squeeze half of a fresh lemon and mix completely.

For an extra little dollop of good fat, add about 1/4-1/2 cup of goat cheese (for the non-vegetarians). I like to add the cheese AFTER the olive oil/balsamic dressing to keep the rich white colour of the goat cheese.


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