Summer Picnic Quinoa Salad

This simple summer salad keeps well in the fridge and is a complete protein. Its great for busy weeks to pack for lunch, or to take to summer picnics or potluck dinners. If you’re looking to stretch your food budget and get lots of fresh vegetables into your healthy real food or gluten free diet, this delicious salad is for you. Give it a try!

Prep time: 20 minutes or less

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients: width=

2 cups quinoa (white, red, or mix both)
1 small red onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup watercress, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnuts, diced
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt


1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer until the water runs clear.  Heat a saucepan and dry roast the quinoa until you smell a nice aroma (note that burning is NOT a nice aroma).  You’ll know when it’s ready.  Add 4 cups of water to the quinoa and cover.  Set a timer for 20 minutes- when the timer goes off the quinoa will be all done.  Put in a large bowl to cool.

2. Chop all of the veggies and herbs and combine in a separate bowl with the walnuts and cranberries.

3. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a blender to make an emulsion.

4. When the quinoa has cooled a bit, add the chopped veggie mixture and add the lemon emulsion.   Add to salad and stir well.

5. This salad is best served chilled for an hour or so but can be eaten right away as well.  Enjoy!

Note: This recipe is super easy and very forgiving!  Make it your own.  If you don’t have some of the ingredients, just leave them out and feel free to add ingredients of your own in it as well.  Some great additions include raisins, sprouts, radishes, cucumber, black or pinto beans, and whatever veggies you want to use that are in the fridge.  Be creative- this salad is delicious any way you make it! 

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Erin Harner

Erin Harner is an Integrative Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), author, and speaker based in Ithaca, NY. Erin melds functional medicine and culinary nutrition to help her clients uncover their unique diet and confidently cook healthy nourishing meals that meet the needs of their whole family. Learn about Erin's services and connect on Instagram.

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