Rainbow quinoa salad

Quinoa salad is really my favorite kind of grain salad (even if quinoa isn’t a true grain, yeah yeah). I love the way the little quinoa kernels kind of pop in your mouth and they are so small they quickly absorb all the flavors of the dressing you add. For this quinoa salad recipe, I wanted it to be as colorful as possible so I combined a rainbow of fresh, crunchy vegetables with a blend of white and red quinoa. It’s dressed simply with orange juice, olive oil and a little mustard. This quinoa salad keeps great in the fridge for up to a week, making it perfect to pack for lunch during the week or to have on hand as a quick side salad with a larger dinner.

quinoa salad

To up my rainbow-quotient, I used purple radicchio but some people might find it too bitter for their taste. You could use shredded purple cabbage instead.

Aaaaannnnd … many sources say you need to rinse quinoa before cooking it to remove bitter flavors. I have tried rinsing and not rinsing and I don’t taste a damn bit of difference so I never rinse my quinoa. If you are very sensitive to bitterness, you might want to rinse it. I think that most packaged quinoa is pre-rinsed, though.

rainbow quinoa salad video – scroll down for recipe

rainbow quinoa salad recipe


Rainbow quinoa salad

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5 from 2 reviews

Quinoa salad with colorful vegetables and a light orange juice dressing

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • 1 cup white (or blended) quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 head radicchio
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil (or parsley or dill)
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, optional


  1. Combine quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water in a small pot. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce to low and simmer 12 minutes. Turn off heat and add corn but do not stir. Put the lid back on. Let it hang out while you prep the vegetables.
  2. Grate the carrot and dice the celery and bell pepper. Shred the radicchio.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and pour the orange juice over, then the olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper. Toss gently with a spoon to mix. Add in the vegetables and herbs. Stir again.
  4. Serve warm or cold, topped with toasted nuts

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You might like these other quinoa recipes:

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Sesame

Quinoa Salad with Jalapeños


  1. The Other Randy on March 31, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    I can taste the bitterness of un-rinsed quinoa when it’s all by its lonely self, but when mixed with other stuff I can’t. However, I generally buy large bags of quinoa at Costco who seems to always stock brands that are pre-rinsed.

    • Hilah on March 31, 2016 at 3:56 pm

      I usually get it from bulk bins which don’t specify pre-rinsed or not. I kinda was thinkin most brands are pre-rinsed? It’s in their best interests to make the product as easy to prepare and as tasty as possible …

      • Laura West on May 18, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        Also, bitterness can be a positive flavor profile, (think bitter greens) when balanced
        with mellower flavors…
        by the way, many of my friends and I can’t seem to digest red or green bell peppers.
        So I made this with canned, mild green chilis instead and 1/2c more roasted corn, (to replace
        sweetness). In Berkeley we love strong flavors, so I added the grated peel from the
        blood orange I was using, and crushed in a garlic clove. FABULOUS! Will have some
        healthy lunches and a great potluck dish for future…..

        • Hilah on May 18, 2016 at 7:50 pm

          Totally true. I love a little bitterness in a salad contrasted with sour vinaigrette.
          So happy you enjoyed this recipe with your modifications! Sounds good 🙂

  2. Jetté Momant on March 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    You’re so cute, my friend. I’m def making this, Hilah.

    • Hilah on March 31, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Jetté! So good to hear from you. Hope you enjoy!

  3. Rhett on April 1, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Love the video Hilah. This is the first time I’ve visited your blog and I’m sure it will not be the last.

    With your permission, can I share this recipe on our fb page?

    • Hilah on April 4, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Hey Rhett!
      Yes, you may! Thanks.

  4. Karen on April 25, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Hi! I’m looking for the Quinoa salad with apples and jalapenos and black beans. I cannot remember the spices/dressing. Is it posted somewhere?

    • Hilah on April 25, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      Hi Karen!
      Here is that recipe. It was part of a series I made for another company and I don’t think it’s online anywhere any more. But you can still make it!
      1/2 cup quinoa
      1 cup sliced green onions (1 bunch)
      1 cup diced apple
      2 tablespoons lime juice
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      ¼ teaspoon salt
      1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
      ¼ cup minced cilantro
      1 16 ounce can black beans (1 1/2 cups cooked, drained beans)
      ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese, optional
      shredded napa cabbage

      Cook quinoa in 3/4 cup water for 12 minutes or so. Cool.
      Combine oil, lime, onions, apple and seasoning in a large bowl and mix.
      Add drained beans and cooled quinoa and stir gently.
      Serve over napa cabbage
      Serve with cotija cheese if you like

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