Quinoa Salad with Yummy Goodness

Quinoa: A staple at Casa Metcalf

Quinoa: A staple at Casa Metcalf

Quinoa is a go-to item in my weekly meal planning.  Not only is it yummy, but it has many nutrients and lots of fiber so we can definitely call it a super food.  I love this seed/grain as you can take it in many different culinary directions.

I’ve enjoyed it for breakfast, with cinnamon, blueberries and strawberries…

quinoa bfast

Quinoa goes well with edamame, red onions, and local cherry tomatoes

quinoa edamame

You can make a hearty quinoa dish, similar to risotta with fresh tomatoes and parmesan cheese…


My friend, Mary Stuart, has introduced me to Costco and when I accompanied her on a recent trip to this mega-store, she pointed out the large bags of quinoa to me.  Of course I added the hefty bag to the cart.  We’ll be eating a lot of quinoa in the next few months.

Who knew Costco had quinoa?

Who knew Costco had quinoa?

Earlier this week, I made a batch of quinoa with sautéed onions and served it as a side dish with honey mustard chicken.  Of course I doubled the recipe so for lunch all week, I’ve been enjoying my quinoa with roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  Mmmm…

Last week I tried a new quinoa combo.  I made the Gluten Free Goddesses’ (also known as one of my favorite blogs, Karina’s Kitchen) recipe for Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach, Chickpeas and Maple Vinaigrette.  Quite a combination, right?  It was so delicious and the textures worked really well together.  I particularly enjoyed the toasted pecans.  (I just toasted mine on the stove with a little olive oil on medium high heat for a few minutes.  You want to toss them as they cook to prevent uneven cooking.)

quinoa meal

Gluten-Free Goddesses’ Quinoa Salad: (Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side)


  • 1 cup organic quinoa
    Sea salt
  • 2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
    1 large ripe pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
    1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
    Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
    A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

quinoa pecans
Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.

Toss is the pear, spinach, and chick peas.

Mix in a separate bowl the maple syrup, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Pour on salad and toss gently.  Add S & P to taste.


quinoa up close

Note: If you want the leftovers to keep during the week, I would suggest adding the spinach on an ‘as needed’ basis or even just using it as a bed on your plate for the rest of your salad.  Then it won’t get soggy during the week.

Not only did I make this dish for dinner, but the next night I enjoyed Mary Stuart’s version of the same recipe.  Of course she and I both thought sweet potatoes would go well with the dish.  She also made an amazing GF quiche but more details on that later…

What do you like to add to your quinoa?

  1. Anissa says:

    Hey Betsy,

    There is another blog I follow that has a lot of quinoa recipes that I’ve been meaning to tell you about:


    Hope to see you next time you are in DC!

  2. ABC says:

    this looks delicious! A generous friend recently bought us a BUNCH of boxes of quinoa on sale at Whole Foods after hearing I was interested in cooking with it. Those little boxes have been staring me down for awhile now, begging to be used. I think we will have to try your recipe this weekend. Might add some feta crumbles, too. The maple vinaigrette looks yum. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kelly says:

    mmm, looks awesome, Betsy. We love quinoa in our house and have been eating lots of it lately. Have you tried the red? Same taste, but fun to play with color on the plate.

  4. Chili T. says:


    I have made this gluten-free Tabbouleh recipe from Whole Foods, and it’s delish…


    Who needs cous cous?!

  5. Thank you, very useful. I wasnt really a big fan of Spinach for many years ( understatement, I hated the stuff), but after shacking up with a vegan I kind of had to get used to it, and have slowly come to absolutely love the stuff. Spinach curry is undoubtedly my absolute favourite! I recently found an entire spinach recipes website which is my new favourite site now, you should take a look!

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