Basic Quinoa Salad Recipe
Throw some fresh tomatoes, briny olives, and pieces of salty cheese into quinoa, and the slightly boring but healthy grain gets a flavorful face-lift.
What to buy: Quinoa can be found in your local health food store, gourmet grocery store, or online.
Game plan: Steps 1 through 3 can be done the night before. Refrigerate the cooked quinoa until you’re ready to assemble the salad.
To see this recipe with illustrated steps, check out The Basics: How to Make Quinoa Salad.
- 1 3/4 cups quinoa, any color or variety
- Kosher salt
- 3 medium tomatoes, cored and large dice
- 3/4 cup mixed olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 5 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup feta, blue, or ricotta salata cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Place the quinoa in a large saucepan, cover with about 2 to 3 inches of cold water, season with salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, until the white outer casings on the quinoa have popped, revealing translucent little beads, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Strain the quinoa and transfer it to a large bowl. Let sit at room temperature until cooled, about 45 minutes. (Or to cool it faster, spread the drained quinoa in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; it’ll cool in about 15 minutes. Then transfer to a large bowl. You can prepare the recipe through this step the night before you make the salad.)
- Add the tomatoes, olives, measured lemon juice, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. If you choose, fold in the cheese. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.