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Quinoa Salad to Make You Swoon

Want a Quinoa Salad that will make you swoon? This would be it. It’s one of my favorites to make for a hearty, protein-packed lunch.

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Quinoa Salad | Good Cheap Eats

When I first met quinoa, I was a reluctant fan. I knew it was really nutritious, but the taste was a little bland. And then I learned some fun ways to cook with it, like this and this and this, and then I was definitely in the Quinoa Camp. Once I made this Quinoa Salad, I became a full-blown, raving fan.

This Quinoa Salad combines some of my favorite things: scallions, feta cheese, red bell pepper, cilantro, garbanzo beans, and tangy Dijon Vinaigrette with the hearty, protein-packed psuedo-cereal of South America, otherwise known as quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). It is awesome-ness incarnate.

You can tell this salad makes me do a happy dance, right? I highly encourage you to make it as soon as you ever can.

How I make this good:

Whenever possible I like to cook with plain old ingredients. While the convenience of mixes and canned sauces is nice, I feel better about feeding my family just real food whenever possible. (Go here for some of my reasons on all that.)

This recipe is one of my very favorites. I crave it fortnightly. It’s just plain old good food: quinoa, garbanzo beans, red bell pepper, feta cheese, scallions, cilantro, and a homemade Dijon Vinaigrette. Nothing processed here!

I’m pretty partial to Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa as it has already been rinsed and doesn’t taste bitter like other brands can. I follow the directions on the package, but during the rest period, I place a paper towel between the pan and lid. This absorbs the steam and extra moisture in the pan so that it’s fluffy and beautiful quinoa.

Quinoa Salad Good Cheap Eats

How I make this cheap:

Here are some of the strategies I use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Do a price comparison. I know that Costco is the best place to buy ingredients like bell peppers and feta cheese when there isn’t a great sale elsewhere. I keep track of prices so that I know who has the best deal where.
  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on garbanzo beans or quinoa, I buy a lot. The same goes for red bell peppers. Sprouts has had them for 50 cents a piece at different times this summer. I’ve bought 10-12 at a time!
  • Use more affordable alternatives. Quinoa, unfortunately, is not cheap. I recently stocked up when Sprouts had it 30% off its regular price. Still, the total was pretty stiff. While its best made with quinoa — lots of extra protein there — you could also make this salad with rice or orzo. Still very tasty, just not exactly the same.
  • Store your cilantro so that it lasts! Most recipes only call for a handful of the fragrant herb, so stretch that purchase as far as you can.

Tools I use to make this recipe easy:

This is a pretty straight-forward salad. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just make it.

However, having the right kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.

This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase through those links, I am paid a small amount in advertising fees. Thanks for your support. I really appreciate it.

Quinoa Salad | Good Cheap Eats

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Comments

  1. What a lovely salad! Can you suggest a substitute for the feta? I don’t like feta or gorgonzola. Thanks for the suggestion to try Bob’s Red Mill Quinoa.

  2. Could you add a link to your dijon vinaigrette?

  3. This looks great! How are the leftovers? I’m just wondering if I make it, will it all need to be eaten at one meal?

    • There are rarely leftovers at my house unless I stash it away first. I was so mad when my husband ate most of it last time. 😉 The salad is good for up to 4 days if you’re able to stash some away.

  4. This looks great – except for the cilantro. (I’m one of those people with a strong cilantro aversion.) Would you swap something else for it? Parsley? Basil?

  5. What kind of dijon vinaigrette did you use ?
    This salad sounds great.

  6. Made this for the second time today. Subbed in grape tomatoes, as I didn’t have any peppers. Liked it even better that way. One odd thing though… I cooked 1 1/2c dry quinoa and came up with a good SIX cups of the cooked grain! The extra went into the fridge and will be used later on, but that is a big difference. It is quite a bit tastier with the 3 cups cooked that you called for. First time around I just threw it all in there.

  7. I added extra feta, because I like the salty taste, but other than that, I followed your directions exactly, and it was very easy, even for a novice chef like myself. I now have a bunch of single servings stacked in my fridge – perfect for days I have to run around campus and need a lunch on the go. One question…can I freeze a couple servings or do these ingredients not freeze well? Thanks for a great recipe! 🙂

  8. Now that you have Aldi near you, have you tried the Aldi quinoa?

    • I prefer to use quinoa that’s already been rinsed. ALDI’s requires rinsing, so I won’t be buying it. Costco actually has an amazing price on their Kirkland brand, so that’s what I buy.

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