January 11, 2013

Quinoa salad with arugula, craisins, pistachios, balsamic vinegar

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I originally shared this recipe back in May of 2011 – and it’s still one of my favorite quinoa salads. My friend Monica made it at a playdate and it was the first time I’d ever had quinoa – I was instantly hooked.

If you’re a Costco shopper – you can get most all of these ingredients at a great price there. Trader Joe’s is another great option.


Prepare 1 cup quinoa, then chill for an hour (make quinoa in a rice cooker!)

Stir in 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Add 1/3 cup pistachios

Add 1/3 cup dried cranberries

Add 1 1/2 packed cups arugula

Add salt to taste

Add more of what you like, less of what you don’t. I would recommend buying a good quality balsamic vinegar as it’s the primary flavor in your salad.  You can substitute spinach if that’s your thing.

This is a good salad for a potluck, you could have the ingredients made up ahead of time and then you toss it all together. It’s a pretty salad, so you’ll get some oohs and ahhs, and probably some yums!

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This salad recipe is part of our Soup and Salad recipe series!  You might also like:

Do you have a favorite soup or salad? Send it in! You could get a $10 Amazon gift card if I feature your recipe!


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  1. I just made this tonight! Surprisingly delicious. I’ve had a bag of quinoa in the cupboard that I didn’t know how to use. Thanks!

  2. Do I win? haha….so glad you still like it!

  3. Colleen K. says

    Thanks Heather and Courtney for the quinoa recipes! I was introduced to quinoa last summer and instantly liked it….but my family hasn’t had the same reaction. I’m thinking it’s just because I haven’t made it in the ‘right’ way. I’ll be trying one or more of those recipes soon!

  4. Thank you so much for this receipe! I love this salad! I modified slightly by using spinach, adding blue cheese and subbing sliced almonds for the pistachios. So good!

    I also love to add quinoa to Turkey Loaf, it adds a subtle flavor and nice texture.


  5. So when I made the salad I did a handful of the arugula and then the rest Spinach — loved it!
    Also was jsut at Costco and they have a cookbook of over 365 recipes for Quinoa…and then of course there is the internet with millions…=)

  6. Looks yummy, thanks for sharing!

  7. Courtney says

    Ok, last one. If anyone wants some more recipes they can email me at courtney.nicodemus@gmail.com I have hundreds of recipes using quinoa because my family loves it so much and I like to change it up.


    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 onion, chopped
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    2 carrots, diced
    1/2 cup quinoa
    1 cup hot water
    1 bay leaf
    1 tablespoon lemon zest
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
    salt to taste
    ground black pepper to taste

    1. Pour oil into a medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots; cook and stir for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
    2. Using a strainer, rinse quinoa under cold water. Drain well. Stir into the vegetables; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add water, bay leaf and lemon rind and juice; bring to boil. Cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
    3. Discard bay leaf. Stir in peas, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

    Nutritional Information
    Per serving Calories: 195 | Total Fat: 6.5g | Cholesterol: 0mg

  8. Courtney says

    This is a very yummy dessert. My kids ask for it regularly.


    1 1/2 cups water
    3/4 cup quinoa
    2 cups whole milk
    2 ripe bananas
    2 tablespoons white sugar
    salt to taste
    1/2 tablespoon butter
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Rinse and drain the quinoa. Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    2. Blend together the milk, bananas, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour the milk mixture into the saucepan with the quinoa.
    3. Place the pan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the mixture becomes thick and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla and serve warm

    • I was just going to post a similar quinoa pudding recipe. Quinoa pudding is definitely yummy! It never lasts long on our house.

  9. Courtney says

    Shrimp & Quinoa

    1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 onion, diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    8 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
    1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    1/4 cup craisins
    1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
    1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    salt and pepper to taste

    1. Bring the quinoa and chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the remaining liquid absorb into the quinoa.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, onion, and red bell pepper; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus, mushrooms, raisins, and ginger; continue cooking until the asparagus is tender. Stir in the shrimp, and cook until the shrimp have turned pink and are no longer translucent in the center.
    3. Stir the lemon juice into the quinoa, then toss the quinoa with the shrimp and vegetable mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

  10. Courtney says

    Here is my most favorite recipe

    Warm Quinoa Salad

    1 cup quinoa,
    2 cups vegetable broth
    2 cups frozen shelled edamame, thawed (10 ounces)
    1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup drained and diced jarred roasted red peppers, (3 ounces)

    1. Toast quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic and begins to crackle, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.
    2. Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook gently for 8 minutes. Remove the lid and, without disturbing the quinoa, add edamame. Cover and continue to cook until the edamame and quinoa are tender, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Drain any remaining water, if necessary.
    3. Whisk lemon zest and juice, oil, tarragon and salt in a large bowl. Add peppers and the quinoa mixture. Toss to combine. Divide among 4 plates and top with walnuts.
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts, preferably toasted

    Per Serving: 404 calories; 18 g fat ( 1 g sat , 6 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrates; 17 g protein; 16 g fiber; 645 mg sodium; 319 mg potassium.

    Nutrition Bonus: Fiber (31% daily value), Iron (25% dv), Vitamin A (20% dv), Vitamin C (20% dv).
    Carbohydrate Servings: 2 1/2
    Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 very lean meat, 3 fat (mono)

  11. This looks so yummy! Thank you – will have to try this!


  1. […] is your favorite way to use quinoa? Last year I posted this recipe for a Quinoa Salad with pistachios, arugula and balsamic vinegar, it’s a keeper, […]

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