Rainbow quinoa salad

  • Preparation Time 15 Minutes
  • Cooking Time 15- 40
  • Serves 4-6

Vegan, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Dairy-free

This has to be one of my favourite salads this summer, and I have certainly made a few.

Times have been difficult lately, and at times shopping for ingredients has been frustrating and sometimes near impossible. It was time to get inventive and use what ingredients we had in the fridge and cupboard.

Some of the reasons this is such a great dish are because it is

  • Versatile
  • Healthy
  • Nutrient packed
  • Delicious
  • Filling
  • Vegan and gluten-free
  • Provides a source of vegan protein
  • An edible rainbow of fruits and vegetables

I normally keep a big jar of quinoa in my pantry, mainly because of its versatility in both sweet and savoury dishes. It contains more protein, fibre than white rice, given this quinoa also keeps you fuller for longer. To me, this is always an added bonus. If you don’t have quinoa then swap it for wholegrain rice.

I started using quinoa about 3 years ago. I must admit my early attempts were truly awful and it was a wonder I kept on trying. To me, it was bland, boring and had a weird texture. Since then my vegan food has come a long way and I am now much more experimental.

Being high in protein I have used it in place of rice, and even in porridge in their flake form.

Quinoa comes in a variety of colours such as red, black, tri-colour or white. The white quinoa is the least chewy. Quinoa is also available in flakes which are great in cereal bars or granola.

Cooking quinoa

  •  Here’s how to cook perfectly fluffy quinoa:
  • Use twice as much water as quinoa, as usual, so 1 part quinoa to 2 parts stock or water.
  • Place the quinoa into a fine-mesh sieve and run cold water over it for a few minutes, this rinses away any excess starch to stop it sticking together.
  • Add a tsp of olive oil to a pan and over a low heat gently toast for a few minutes.
  • Add the water or stock and a pinch of salt and bring to a rolling boil. Once it has reached a boil, turn it down to a low heat.
  • Cook then for approximately 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed,
  • Once the water is all absorbed, remove the pot from heat, place the lid on and let steam for 10 minutes, the quinoa pops open into fluffy quinoa perfection. 

It is now ready to to be a carrier and absorb all those wonderful flavours you choose to add.



  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 a red pepper chopped
  • 1/2 an orange pepper chopped
  • 1/2 a cucumber seeds removed and diced
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn or equivalent in cooked frozen
  • 40g of dried fruit such as cranberries, sultanas or apricots
  • 70g of  mixed seeds and nuts such as walnut, pine nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 80g of feta cheese, vegan if needed such as Violife
  • 400g can of kidney beans rinsed and drained, you could substitute this for chickpeas or black beans
  • 1/2 a red onion finely chopped
  • 20g pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 50g chopped pineapple fresh or tinned
  • 1/2 a cup of herbs such as mint, flat-leaf parsley, basil or coriander or a combination
  • 1/2 a cup of finely sliced greens such as baby kale or bok Choi
  • 14 baby plum or cherry tomatoes
  • A small section of roasted vegetable such as courgette, peppers and aubergine (optional)
  • I medium carrot grated


  • 6 tbsp of virgin olive oil
  • The juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Zest of a whole lemon
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper


  1. If you are roasting vegetables, preheat your oven to 200 C.
  2. Toss the vegetables you are using in a little olive oil and season generously. Place on a lined baking tray and cook for 25 minutes until soft and slightly charred.
  3. Cook the quinoa following the method above. Once it has rested, add to a large bowl and cool slightly.
  4. Now we begin to add all the fruits, nuts, herbs, chickpeas/beans, seeds and greens that you want to add to the salad.
  5. Once everything has been added then toss it all together.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and pour over the salad and stir through.

The quinoa salad will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Due to quinoa having the ability to take on flavours, it makes it great to use for different cuisine

With the right ingredients, you could do a Moroccan, Italian, Greek or Spanish version. This dish makes a perfect side for any BBQ or as a side dish. You could also vary the taste with a different dressing.

If you make this, don’t forget to tag me on twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thegfveganalchemist I love seeing your versions of the recipes. I would love to hear your comments too.

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