Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Raisins, and Walnuts

Are you still following through on that New Year’s resolution? You know the one you made, promising yourself that you’ll eat healthier (More fiber? More veggies? Less meat?) in 2010? If it has been a bit of a struggle, or even if you’re still on board, but you’re sick and tired of the lettuce-based salads, smoothies, and the like, check out quinoa.

Quinoa is a tiny seed that acts like a grain. But it’s more than just another grain. Quinoa is packed with healthy fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals. It’s nutty in flavor, and will fill you up, leaving you satisfied. It’s gluten-free, so for those of us that have to stay away from gluten, this seed makes a perfect stand-in for recipes that call for bulgur or couscous. I personally love it – it cooks up in 15 minutes, and absorbs flavors and dressings without getting mushy, making it perfect for a salad such as this.

What’s wonderful about this salad? You can throw in pretty much anything you want. Really. I stood in my kitchen last night, deciding what easy-to-make, easy-on-the-tummy meal I wanted to throw together. This salad literally originated from leftovers and pantry staples. Substitutions are simple – I can imagine dried cranberries in place of the currants and raisins, almonds or pine nuts in place of the walnuts, or fresh spinach, kale, or chard in place of the frozen spinach used here. Really, it’s all about you, and choosing a mixture of ingredients that will satisfy, and keep you on that road to eating healthier.

Quinoa Salad with Spinach, Raisins, and Walnuts

1 T olive oil

2 T minced red onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 c quinoa, rinsed (rinsing is to remove the bitterness from the seeds)

1 ½ T golden raisins

1 ½ T dried currants

1 2/3 c water

1 c frozen chopped spinach, thawed

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

¼ c toasted chopped walnuts

2 T chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 T good quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

3 oz feta or goat cheese

 In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil to medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Add the quinoa and continue to sauté for another minute or so. Add the raisins, currants and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook until water is nearly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach and cover again and let cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, walnuts, and parsley. Season generously to taste. Drizzle olive oil over and stir in. Serve chilled or at room temperature, topped with a bit of feta.

 Serves 4.


  1. says

    I love throwing quinoa or millet into a pot with random things – it always works brilliantly! I like the addition of raisins and currants – I’ll have to throw some in next time I’m cooking quinoa.

  2. says

    I really love the texture of quinoa, but for some reason we don’t often use it. I guess if we just kept it in the pantry, we could use your recipe with whatever else we have because your recipe is so flexible. That will come in handy on a weeknight for dinner.

  3. says

    Must get quinoa. Must remember to get quinoa. That salad looks really great. Something i need to incorporate into my diet right now. Not that I’ve fallen off the wagon or anything like that. I just like salads of all kinds. ;-D

  4. says

    It’s challenging to eat healthy but even with small steps, I’ll give myself a pack on the back. I absolutely love quinoa but since they are expensive, I don’t eat it as often. But if they’re really affordable, I would eat them everyday.

  5. says

    Yes! I’m still keeping up with my New Year’s resolution! Well, I try, at least. Every once in a while, I crave bad food…. :) This looks like a great recipe for everyone who is trying to eat a little healthier and balanced. Love all the ingredients in the salad. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. says

    This dish of yours looks wonderful. I haven’t made anything with quinoa in a while. You’ve inspired me. I love the addition of toasted walnuts and currants. Must try that. I also love healthy meals like that that don’t require searching for ingredients. Like you said, you can make this with whatever you have on hand. Perfect recipe in my mind. Thanks!

  7. says

    I love quinoa, and yet I haven’t had any for ages. What’s my problem? So thank you for reminding me of how easy and good it is! Great photo – very appetizing!

  8. says

    hey! Thanks for visiting my blog today! It is always a treat to meet more Dallas-food blogger let alone GF and a mom of 3(same boat). Be sure to pick up a copy of the DMN tomorrow. smile. And sure, interested in this group possibly that you were talking about. Let me know more. I will add you to my blog roll this week.
    amy :)

  9. says

    Quinoa salad is great. I make mine exactly like your … a little bit of this … a little bit of that. It works beautifully. Yours looks scrumptious. I need to stock up on quinoa again. It’s not something I can get at my regular grocery store, so thanks for the reminder.


  10. says

    Quinoa has become a staple in our kitchen. I usually use some kind of broth, in place of water, to add just a bit more of a kick (and depending on what I’m putting in it) I love your combo of goat cheese raisins and spinach.

    • tastyeatsathome says

      TastyTrix, Serena, Scott, atxglutenfree, glutenfreeforgood, Debi, Natasha, Shirley, amy, Amy, chayacomfycook, Amber, Carol Egbert, Rochelle, Simply Life, Angie, Sook, Ali, jenn, Vegetable Matter, Christina, Katie, Miranda, Teanna, lululu, Lauren, MyMansBelly, Jenn, opks, and Esi – Thank you!

      Divina – You are correct, quinoa is definitely more expensive than other grains. I can find it for about $3-4 a pound at Whole Foods, but compared to brown rice or other grains, that is pricey. But if you consider it as a complete protein (it is), then it’s as expensive as meat – and a great substitute for vegetarians. We don’t have it every day at our house, but I love the variety!

      Scott – Thank you for the award!

      pegasuslegend – forum? I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

  11. says

    Fabulous — another reminder that I need to pick up more quinoa. So good to have around in the pantry. I love the little crunch when you eat them. If enjoying food is half flavor, half texture, quinoa certainly has the best of both worlds.

  12. says

    Looks delicioso! i think i can pull this off, i just need to get myself some quinoa. 😛

    thanks for sharing this, i want to share this to my other friends too in to guide Foodista, just if you won’t mind adding the foodista widget for quinoa at the end of this post and that should do it. Thanks and keep em coming!

  13. says

    This looks delicious to me. (My husband wouldn’t like the raisins, nuts or feta. To him I say, pppbbbbttttt.)
    I just bought a big bag of quinoa.


  1. […] 30 Days to a Food Revolution – Get Creative! May 26, 2010 tags: avocado, avocado ice cream, coconut milk, coconut milk ice cream, dairy-free, dairy-free ice cream, food revolution, Gluten-Free, gluten-free desserts, gluten-free recipes, healthy recipes, jamie oliver, real food, vegan, vegan ice cream, Vegetarian by tastyeatsathome Over at one of my favorite gluten-free blogs, The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, a revolution is occurring. That’s right, a Food Revolution! Every day for 30 days, a different guest blogger is posting tips and a recipe using REAL food, in an attempt to further the Food Revolution brought about by Jamie Oliver. I’ve been following along eagerly, and I’m learning so much. Now, it’s my turn. If you visit The W.H.O.L.E. Gang here, you can check out my post about getting creative in the kitchen and where I share my quinoa salad recipe. […]

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