Foodist Approved: DIY Quinoa Salad

by | Aug 20, 2014

Quinoa Salad Kopecky Summer Tomato sm

So you want to eat healthier but you’re not sure where to begin? A good place to start is revamping your lunch.

Lunch is easy to overlook, inconveniently located smack-dab in the middle of the day. This means you might be tempted by anything you can grab on the go, often a processed-deli-meat sandwich or a deceptively-labeled energy bar.

Since a long lunch and an afternoon siesta are not likely to become a part of our culture anytime soon, the best routine you can get into is to make a big batch of a veggie-loaded whole-grain salad on Sunday evenings. My go-to is a seasonal quinoa salad that I pack with whatever veggies I have left over from our weekly farm share and toss with my favorite lemon miso dressing.

Below is a recipe guide for creating your own quinoa salad. Keep the basics in mind (grain + veggies + dressing) and you really can’t go wrong with mixing and matching. Once you’ve made this recipe a couple of times, you’ll be able to accomplish it in 30 minutes or less.

DIY Quinoa Salad

Yield: 5-6 servings

  • 1 cup quinoa or other favorite intact grain (farro, wild rice, wheat berries)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • kombu seaweed (optional, cook a 2-inch piece with the quinoa to make more digestible) 
  • 2 cups favorite seasonal vegetables, chopped (green beans, cucumber, kale, tomatoes, fennel, arugula, leftover grilled veggies, etc)
  • 1 cup favorite beans (optional, black beans or chickpeas)
  • something salty (feta, parmesan, olives or capers)
  • something crunchy (chopped walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds)
  • salt and pepper

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste, white or yellow
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Rinse quinoa and place in a pot with water, kombu and salt. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Discard kombu. Transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Whisk together the garlic, miso, lemon juice and olive oil and pour over quinoa.

Chop the veggies and toss with the dressing and quinoa. Mix in any additional favorite ingredients like beans, nuts, seeds, cheese, olives, etc.

Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Cover and chill in the fridge.

Elyse Kopecky is a social media and digital technology consultant based in Portland, OR. After 10 years working for NIKE and EA SPORTS in Portland, Amsterdam and Geneva she briefly left her desk job for the chance to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at and @freshabits.

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10 Responses to “Foodist Approved: DIY Quinoa Salad”

  1. Pat says:

    Awesome salad and it looks Yummy too ..

  2. Tracy K. says:

    This recipe looks delicious and so well balanced! Looking forward to trying it.

  3. lynda maccagnan says:

    Like the option of using different ingreds, whatever is on hand. I will be taking this to work for lunnch…and miso for pre/probiotics, too!

  4. Laurence Hughes says:

    A wonderful salad! So nutritious and tasty! Thank you, Elyse, for a great lunch!

  5. Mike says:

    I was looking through your posts and just wanted to ask about your overarching personal food philosphy, your OPFP. Several pages of recipes in I didnt see any beef and generally a high proportion of plant vs animal products in ypthe recipes. Do you consider yourself a vegetarian or similar?

  6. Brianna says:

    I love the snowing effect on your website, it is very fitting for where I live (Buffalo, NY). Keep the awesome posts coming and Happy New Year! 🙂

  7. Sue says:

    Hi Darya, I found your website from a magazine and I think it’s fantastic. The problem that I’m having is I can’t see the recipes. When I click on a link, it describes the dish but no recipe. Am I missing something? Thanks

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