You finally bought Quinoa! Now what?
Quinoa Salad.

The fella: What is it?

Me: Quinoa.

The fella: What is it?

Me: Quinoa. It’s an ancient grain. All the people who eat things we’ve never heard of eat it.  You know.  Hipsters.  ‘Sposed to be better for you than rice or potatoes.

The fella: But what is it?

Me: Don’t worry about it. It’s round rice. Just eat it.

The fella: Round rice? That’s fun.

1/2 hour later …

The fella:  That was gross.

Me:  Yup.

The fella:  What was that again?

Me:  Gross.

That’s the approximate conversation from a few years ago when I made Quinoa for the first time. It was also the last time I made it until last year when we underwent the dreaded, asshead, whole foods, takes 17 hours and knocking a cow on the head to make dinner, “meal plan”. Not a diet. It was a “meal plan”.

The meal plan included a recipe for Stuffed Peppers made with Quinoa instead of rice.   I gave them a shot, they were gross and I put the Quinoa back in the cupboard just behind the 7 year old “Family Pack” of Lipton Cup-a-Soup but slightly in front of the cardboard box of “potatoes”.

Then last summer we went for dinner at a local restaurant which served Quinoa salad.  Out of the blue that’s what the fella ordered for an appetizer.  He must have been having one of his adventurous days.  Or he thought Quinoa was French for chocolate cake covered with chocolate sprinkles, filled with chocolate pudding on a bed of Chunky Monkey ice cream.   He loved it (the Quinoa salad).  He loved it a lot.

He loved it so much it led to an assault.  More on that later.

Seems all those years ago I was making quinoa.  I was making it gross.

Quinoa’s kindda like rice.  Or tofu.  You need to add stuff to it to make it more than just a lump of something on your plate.

As we were leaving the restaurant the fella saw a man with food stains all over his clothes walking in.  Now, I would have assumed this guy was just a messy eater.  The fella assumed he was a “cook”, and grabbed the fella by the lapels and said “HEY!  Are you the one griddling up stuff?”  Or something like that.

Quite possibly on the verge of making another stain on his clothes, Jeff Crump, owner of several high end restaurants around town said … Yup.  I’m the owner and chef.


Jeff:  Um … er … um … well there’s quinoa and some lemon and some oil and um …

While the shake down was going on, I had my iPhone out recording all of the ingredients.

A few days later I scratched out some semblance of the recipe and we’ve been eating it ever since.   It’s not as good as the one in the Bread Bar restaurant but it’s good enough for you people.


So … do you have yourself a bag of Quinoa with no idea what to do with it?

Do this …


Gather your Ingredients …

1 cup Quinoa

1 Tbsp. White Wine Vinegar

3 Tbsps Olive Oil

2 Green (spring) Onions (sliced thin)

1 Cup drained and rinsed black beans (scant)

1 Cup drained and rinsed chick peas (scant)

1 – 2 jalapeno peppers (diced super-fine)

Lemon (for juice)

Feta Cheese

Ingredients 2


Cook the quinoa.  For this recipe I just use the immersion method.  Dump your cup of Quinoa into slightly salted boiling water (uncovered).  The amount of water doesn’t matter.  4 cups or so.  Simmer for 13-14 minutes.  Drain.

Add quinoa to a big bowl, mix in vinegar, olive oil, green onions, black beans, chick peas, jalapeno peppers and a big squeeze of lemon juice.  Crack in some pepper, add a sprinkle of salt (not too much) and top with feta cheese.  Taste and adjust salt if needed.  (remember the feta cheese is really salty, so you may not need to add salt at all)


Quinoa Salad Mixed


The first day this salad tastes O.K.  The second day, it tastes like something that would prompt  you to grab someone by the lapels and scream “WHAT’S IN THAT QUINOA SALAD?!?”


Quinoa Salad Spoon


Jeff Crump by the way, is the chef who graciously let me use his pizza dough recipe on this site.  The one from his fantastic Earth To Table cookbook.  Jeff Crump has no idea my fella was the one that accosted  him for his organic, Quinoa and fresh feta salad recipe, and I plan to keep it that way.

Quinoa?  What’s that.

Amendment: Many people are commenting that Quinoa needs to be rinsed. While that used to be true, it no longer is. Most commercially processed Quinoa now comes with the bitter, outer shell already removed. Unless you’re buying your Quinoa from a local farmer or sometimes in bulk, you do not need to rinse and soak your Quinoa.


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  1. Jen Morris says:

    I made this salad this morning and am currently sitting here eating it for lunch and it’s delicious. Thank you for the recipe – it’s my first time eating quinoa :)

  2. JBess says:

    Thank you so much for this! I made it for a potluck last night and it was so good someone literally STOLE the leftovers at the end of the night. I’ll be making it again this week, I wanted those leftovers so bad.

    By the way, since I didn’t have enough quinoa for a double batch (I had just enough red and regular quinoa together to make one cup) I threw in a whole bag of spinach, and extra oil, white balsamic vinegar, and pepper. It added enough to make a respectable sized potluck offering and was super tasty, I liked the little extra crunch from the spinach and it looked extra colorful and enticing in the bowl.

  3. Rebecca says:

    So far the best quinoa salad I’ve had! I think this might be a go-to for my carb load meals. Delicious!

  4. Diane Stairs says:

    I read your article in the Spec this morning and added your blog to my favorites…love everything about it. I will be making the Quinoa Salad tonight!!!

  5. too shy to say says:

    Does quinoa give any one else gas? I’ve rinsed it well and it still is giving me, um, negative feedback.

    • Karen says:

      too shy to say – Me? No. No gas. The fella? He’s a fella. Everything gives him hysterical gas. And by hysterical I mean, it makes him laugh to no end. I do seem to recall someone else saying it did give them gas though. Can’t remember if it was a Facebook or a blog comment. You’re not alone though. ~ karen

  6. Amy says:

    I like quinoa, and have a good recipe for curried quinoa and butternut squash I invented (it’s very much a fall/winter recipe). It was once voted best recipe at a work pot-luck (doesn’t sound like much, but there were good cooks at that office). I’ll email it to you, if you like…

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Amy, that’d be great. I like curry and butternut squash so I’m bound to like the recipe. ~ karen! (just click on the envelope mail icon at the top right of the site to email me)

  7. Katy says:

    I’ve never made, nor tried quinoa, ever. Then I stumbled upon your recipe and thought, “hell! why not try it if it’s worthy of grabbing someone by their lappels!” So I conquered this recipe lastnight and LOVED it! I think ill use a bit less jalapeno next time, my children weren’t exactly pleased with the heat lol. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. ELISE says:


    THANK YOU!!!!!

    <3 <3 elise

  9. Bols says:

    So I finally made the salad last night. I cooked the quinoa on Sunday but didn’t have time for anything else. I was surprised by how good the quinoa was on its own, with nothing added. I think the beauty of the salad is that one can virtually add anything. I went with chopped red pepper, chopped dry cranberries, chopped red beet (raw), sliced almonds, lots of dill, lime juice, say sauce and rice vinegar. I think that’s it? I did not add any garlic because I felt it was so good even without it (and that’s quite rare for me to say that).
    Next time, I will go with maybe grapefruit and mango, and feta.
    I used red quinoa and I had to rinse it (it said so on the box).
    thanks, Karen, for this excellent recipe!

  10. nancy says:

    Wow, I just cook it like rice, in the rice cooker, I think it’s good. I mix it with a little grated asiago while it’s hot. But then, I am more like your sister that doesn’t cook. I completely skip the menu posts.

  11. ghilto says:

    Love this recipe but one correction, quinoa is not a grain, it is a seed. It can be confusing; most people think that tomatoes and avacodos are vegetables.

  12. Pat says:

    I’ve been making Quinoa salad for a couple of summers now; recipe came from Canadian Living mag or Homemakers mag, something like that. It’s similar to yours (my recipe has diced red pepper thrown in which is tasty and colourful) and tangy aside burgers, grilled fare. Just don’t tell your family it’s something different until they’ve eaten it a couple of times!! No turned up noses then. And thankfully quinoa, now that it’s more popular, seems to have come down in price! Those teeny little boxes used to be painful to buy!

  13. Carolyn says:

    I made this tonight & it was yummy!!
    I can’t wait to try the leftovers.
    Next time I’ll make it in advance & let the flavors meld.

  14. Ally says:

    I’m so thankful for your recipe …I’ve had a whole bag of quinoa for a couple of months, and did not know what to do with it.

    My hubby loved your recipe too. And he’s a tough one! ;-)


    • Karen says:

      You made it, did you? Glad you liked it. It really is better the next day. ~ karen!

      • Ally says:

        Ouch! we ate it all yesterday! I will make some more today….easy, healthy and fabulous…..then we’ll have it tomorrow. LOL

        Thanks again for a great simple recipe.

        Love your site! :-)


  15. Andreae says:

    I love quinoa! I make a quinoa and brown rice salad with cashews and red peppers and oranges and green onions and a bunch of other crap and it’s fantastic, and super proteiny. I also use cooked quinoa in place of ground beef in chili recipes, and I throw leftover cooked quinoa in cornmeal-blueberry (or any berry, really) muffins. I also made some kind of quinoa-feta burgers once, from a recipe that was floating around Pinterest. They were great.

  16. Bols says:

    I have some red quinoa that I purchased a while ago (a long while ago I might add at Home Sense [they often have interesting stuff in the food section]). Thanks for this post, Karen. The quinoa is going to see the daylight today and I am making the salad. I will probably combine your and Laurel’s recipes (a good thing x 2 is an even better thing, right?).

  17. Louise says:

    I’ve been doing this Cristina Ferrare’s Roasted Vegetable Quinoa for a while and I really love it. I made a mistake once and used bulghur instead but it was as good. Here’s the link to her recipe:

  18. Debbie says:

    At a restaurant in Toronto, my friend had quinoa onion rings. They used the quinoa in place of bread crumbs and they were amazing with some sort of curry dipping sauce. Given the french fry love around here, maybe you could figure out a quinoa onion ring recipe for us??

  19. Kim Steinmetz says:

    this is so weird… just Wednesday I finally bought some quinoa — determined to make it…into….something….. thanks! I’ll try your “now what” salad!

  20. Kana says:

    Funny quinoa story. About a year ago, I was making pizza but I realized I didn’t have any cornmeal to spread under my crust. I called my other half and asked him to pick up some cornmeal on his way back from work. He comes home proudly with a bag of quinoa and says, “it was hard but I found it!” My reaction: ….I said CORNMEAL. Him: oh I couldn’t find any so I looked for something that sounded like it. A for effort I guess..

    To this day I still have that quinoa… I should probably throw that away.

  21. karenagain says:

    It’s Keen-Wah? Seriously? I am so glad I never tried to order this off a menu. It’s like the time I tried to buy Acai Berry at the health food store. It looks like little barleys. Does it taste like barley? I like barley. The salad looks delicious.

  22. kelli says:

    Been there, done that! Discovered quinoa …probably from some smarty pants PBS cooking show back when smarty pants PBS cooking shows were all that was. Back when quinoa was a lot harder to find. Now it’s easy to find, but still kinda ‘spensive! :( I usually make it with broth or a cream soup and make a batch half-n-half with rice or couscous. BTW you can tell the FF that quinoa really is one of the ‘true grains’ – it’s been around in the Americas probably as long as rice in Asia! Good stuff, Maynard. :)

    • Karen says:

      kelli – How long something’s been around will have no influence on whether or not he considers it a true grain. It’s too trendy for it to be a “true” anything for him. ~ k!

  23. Jess says:

    Karen, discovered your blog yesterday. You are pretty funny. My hubby is very similar- goes out in the garage, puts around, comes back in and fixes whatever I was hoping to buy new. Boy has he saved us money, and I am finally able to appreciate his virtues.

  24. Brianne says:

    OMG I’m totally addicted to quinoa! I love it!! I do love it in place of rice in stuffed peppers. Here are a couple other wonderful recipes you must try!

  25. SamiJ says:

    Is quinoa one of the five True Grains?

    • Karen says:

      SamiJ – Don’t be ridiculous. You’re so ridiculous. I don’t want to speak for the fella’s father but I’m pretty sure he’d call Quinoa a “trumped up, pretentious grain that doesn’t deserve to be in the same class let alone kitchen as the true grains. Bah.”. ~ karen

  26. Ha, I loved the shake-down story. My quinoa is also gross, so I will try making this! It seems like something my husband would like, as we love the artistically created salads at the co-op and sometimes try to make them.

    Also wanted to share, we just made a new website perhaps you might like to use sometime. It’s for comparing two photos, and giving a description. You can make your own page and showcase the gist of all your projects there if you want. It’s if you’re interested. We’d be honored if you gave it a whirl. My page is coming along at . Thanks!

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