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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Enjoy!

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14 Responses to Kitchen Sink Quinoa Salad

  1. Terry M says:

    Being one of the lucky ones to attend the party, I can attest to just how amazing this salad was. It is going on my list of favorites!!

  2. kim says:

    i have been looking for something to make with quinoa. most recipes i have had tasted like cardboard…am going to give this one a try. looks delicious..

  3. I love kitchen sink creations, they happen quite frequently in our home. Love all the ingredients and pretty certain we have everything already on hand.

  4. Karista says:

    Beautiful and delicious! Just posted on my FB page. Happy Friday!

  5. The “just throw together” meals are often the best. Love the dried cranberries in it. Such a nice twist to bite into!

  6. Sometimes the best recipes are the “thrown together” ones. The cilantro and dried cranberry combination sounds really good to me. You have a way with flavors, my friend!

  7. Ive been on the lookout for a ‘kitchen sink’ kind of quinoa salad. Yours looks great! Love all the various flavours mixed together. This is the kind of dish I love bringing to work for lunch. Thanks! ­čÖé

  8. Kalyn says:

    Sounds delicious. That’s my favorite way to cook, just keep adding things and taste and when it tastes good, stop!

  9. Yolanda says:

    I fixed this for my lunch today and added grape tomatoes and kashi whole grain pilaf along with your ingredients and then served on top of fresh romaine. Oh my!!!

  10. Aggie says:

    AMAZING. I have all that stuff in my fridge, ALL OF IT. I need more quinoa salad in my life, such an easy lunch or last minute dinner if it’s waiting for you in the fridge.

  11. Rachael says:

    I tried this salad — my first time cooking with quinoa — and my husband and I both absolutely loved this salad. Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

  12. Love the simplicity of this recipe and the fact that it is jam packed with raw veggies.

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