• Difficulty Easy
  • 14 Ingredients
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Since quinoa started making headlines in Western cooking and making the racks in supermarkets, people have hilariously misspelled the pseudo-cereal in myriad ways.

Pronounced ‘KEEN-wah’, the grain has been called ‘quinwa’, ‘qinoa’, ‘quina’, and even phonetically as ‘keenwah’! But in all honesty, the spelling of ‘qiona salad’ takes the win for me. Too funny!

In all seriousness, this healthy little grain is grown in South America and was a staple food for the Incas. Although it behaves like a grain and is similar to couscous, quinoa is actually a seed, and strangely enough comes from the same food family as beets, chard and spinach, according to BBC Good Food!

When making any kind of quinoa salad (or qiona salad, if you’d prefer) it’s important to make the most of your qiona salad by treating the quinoa (and your diet!) right.

Prepare the quinoa well

Make sure you rinse the dry quinoa seeds before you cook them, because it will give your ‘qiona salad’ a tasty, nutty flavour.

Go crazy with colour in your qiona salad

Choose lots of brightly coloured veggies to add to your ‘qiona salad’ – the more vibrant the better! For reds I usually go for raw or roasted capsicum, cherry tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes. I always love adding kumara (sweet potato) to all my salads for an orange colour, but orange capsicum or carrot work too! I use yellow capsicum for the yellow colour, and obviously there’s plenty to choose from for greens! Rocket, spinach, herbs, peas, cucumber and the more bitter green capsicum fit here. Blue… yeah, nah. Purple is easy with raw or sauteed red onion, purple sweet potato or purple carrot. You can even indulge the shades by adding creamy, white feta cheese and black kalamata olives in your ‘qiona salad’!

Maximise flavour with your dressing

Quinoa is a great base for adding protein and chew to a salad, but doesn’t have much flavour on its own. The veggies will add their own nice flavours, but adding an extra-flavoursome dressing for the salad is imperative! The quinoa will absorb the dressing over time.

Below is a recipe for a summery, fresh and cold quinoa salad (AKA qiona salad) to be enjoyed as a light dinner, as a BBQ side dish, or as lunchbox material. Other additions can be feta cheese, olives, and even dried fruit! Make it your own.


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup rocket leaves
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • Any leftover roast veggies like kumara, onion or capsicum
  • 1/2 cup chopped herbs (depends what you have in your garden, but parsley goes best I think!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional, but I like salted almonds or honey cashews)
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Mustard, dijon or wholegrain, to taste
  • Honey, to taste (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse the quinoa in water, before adding to the pot with 2 cups of water. Cook until the water has been totally absorbed by the quinoa, about 10-15 minutes. After it's cooked, take the pot off the heat and pop a lid onto it to fluff up the quinoa for about 5 minutes.
  2. Whilst the quinoa is on the boil, chop up all of your salad ingredients and veggies (after washing them) and add to a serving bowl.
  3. In a small jar, add the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, some of the herbs, mustard and honey) to a jar and shake well to combine. Add more of the ingredients to taste.
  4. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then add to the veggie bowl. Mix the two, and then add the dressing. Season to taste and enjoy!

  • Looks very colourful and delicious! Thanks for posting!


  • Love the dressing for this, I made a bit extra and added a bit more as I love a good dose of dressing.


  • Quinoa salad is just the best. Light and versatile


  • Thanks, looks beautiful and so delicious.


  • Looks filling good for you too and would be tasty thanks


  • A great filler in this time f staying at home isolating


  • Oh so yummy looking, all the colours of the rainbow as prescribed. I’m just not sure if I’ll like quinoa or not


  • I love quinoa. Such a versatile ingredient!


  • Love this recipe you can’t go wrong with quinoa dishes


  • this looks very fresh and healthy – I might have to buy a bag from the supermarket and make myself this salad to take to work – maybe if I rave about it the hubby and kids will try it too!


  • This looks so easy and healthy


  • Might have to try quinoa when I’m eating out. If I like the taste I’ll have to try and buy some to give this refreshing salad a try. Must admit it does look very tasty and refreshing.


  • Great recipe. We do try to have it more often and this looks very tasty. I might have to make this up for my work lunches.


  • Whilst I enjoy eating quinoa out, I struggle using it in my own food prep.


  • Looks very colourful


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