Gluten-Free Grains: Quinoa Salad With Refreshing Add-Ins

quinoa salad
Dana Angelo White
Total Time: 40 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Servings: 6 (1 cup each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

227 calories
10g fat
26g carbs
9g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 (1 cup each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 227
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 387mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 1g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 9g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 327mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

You may have heard that quinoa is a protein-rich option (it has 8 grams of hunger-fighting protein per cup!), but this gluten-free seed is also packed with minerals like iron and magnesium, all reasons you'll want to incorporate it into any diet, not just a gluten-free one. When mixed with fresh veggies, beans, and a sprinkle of cheese, quinoa can be a satisfying side dish to serve with meat or fish or a standalone vegetarian main course.


  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 can (15-ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup green olives, sliced
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a saucepan, combine quinoa and water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

  2. Once quinoa is cooked, transfer to a large bowl, stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside to cool, at least 20 minutes.

  3. Add black beans, cucumber, goat cheese and parsley. Toss to combine.  

  4. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

This recipe features red quinoa, but any variety will work nicely.

The combination of quinoa and beans makes for a high-fiber meal that will keep hunger at bay for hours. Add any fresh, seasonal veggies for more color, flavor, and crunch.

If you aren’t a fan of tangy goat cheese, a milder feta works as a good substitute.

Cooking and Serving Tips

Make a large batch of this salad on the weekend and graze on it for lunches and dinners throughout the week; it tastes even better the few days after it's prepared. Serve with barbecued chicken or a piece of roasted salmon.

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By Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is an author, registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer, and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc.