Kitchen Sink Quinoa Salad

It’s the new year and I know many of you are trying to eat a little cleaner so I thought I would share this awesome vegetarian quinoa salad I made earlier this week.


This salad was one of those gems that I just “threw together.” My son turned two on Tuesday and we hosted a little pool party for friends and family. We were having pizza delivered but I wanted to have something in addition that would be a little more healthful and would appeal to my friends that don’t eat cheese and try to avoid gluten.


So often cooking isn’t about following a recipe. It’s experimenting, tasting, and being creative. This colorful quinoa salad was a result of cleaning out the produce drawer, nothing more. It’s fresh, colorful and gets a nice boost in flavor from the cilantro and dried cranberries which I added at the last minute. I felt like it was missing something sweet and the cranberries were the finishing touch. The dressing was no different as I just started throwing a little of this and a little of that in a mason jar, tasting after each addition until I got what I wanted. The end result was healthful, beautiful and absolutely delicious. This is definitely my kind of cooking. Where you cook from taste and trust your instincts.


When making a quinoa salad that I want to serve cold, I cook the quinoa then lay it on a cookie sheet to cool before adding any other ingredients- especially dressing. I don’t want it to get soggy or overcook.


The dressing was simple and used basic pantry ingredients: fresh garlic, fresh lime, red wine vinegar, ground cumin and coriander, a pinch of agave nectar, grape seed oil and a little salt and pepper.


Dried fruit is something I always have in my pantry. It’s a great snack on its own but I think a little bit of natures candy makes a good salad great.


This salad made quite a bit as I was feeding a crowd. Feel free to cut it in half to make a more manageable amount. It does, however, make great leftovers and would be delicious with some sliced avocado or chopped chicken for lunch.