The Basics: How to Make Quinoa Salad

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You'll need:

  • a strainer
  • a medium pot or saucepan
  • a large bowl
  • a knife
  • a spoon
  • one (12-ounce) box of quinoa
  • salt and pepper
  • three tomatoes
  • a couple of handfuls of your favorite olives
  • half a lemon
  • olive oil
  • crumbly cheese such as feta, blue, or ricotta salata (optional)

Step 1 of 7

Rinse the quinoa in the strainer under cold water until the water runs clear.

Step 2 of 7

Put the quinoa in the pot and cover it with about three inches of cold water. Salt the water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil the quinoa uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked. You’ll know it’s ready when the white outer casings have popped, revealing translucent little beads.

Step 3 of 7

Strain the quinoa and transfer it to the bowl. Allow it to come to room temperature (about 45 minutes). Steps 1 through 3 can also be done the night before you make the salad.

Step 4 of 7

Chop the tomatoes and olives. If the olives have pits, smash them under the palm of your hand and remove the pits before chopping.

Step 5 of 7

Add the tomatoes and olives to the quinoa. Hold your hand over the bowl and squeeze the juice of the lemon half into your palm to catch the seeds, letting the juice fall into the quinoa.

Step 6 of 7

Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and stir.

Step 7 of 7

Crumble the cheese (if using) over top of the quinoa and fold in. Taste, and add more salt and pepper as desired.