Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spring Herb Quinoa Salad with Dandelion Greens and Peas

Light, refreshing, and full of Spring's intoxicating flavors. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, and chives. Fresh dandelion greens, peas, and lemon. This quinoa salad is balanced and uber nutritious. I've added salmon and sheep's feta but it can be made vegan too. In fact, once you have the quinoa cooked and tossed with the simple herb dressing below, the options for creativity are endless.

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and one of our favorite grains. It is high in protein, antioxidants, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. We cook it at least twice a week. I love that it cooks up in only 15 to 20 minutes! Here is a tip for cooking quinoa (actually most grains): Be sure to bring the quinoa to a boil when it first goes on the stove and then it bring down to a simmer. If it doesn't boil first, the quinoa can end up mushy and the grains stuck together.

Spring Herb Quinoa Salad

This simple grain salad makes a fantastic lunch or light dinner. Serve it with a fresh baby green salad tossed with toasted walnuts for a balanced meal. If you are vegan, replace the salmon and sheep's feta with either cooked garbanzo beans or chopped toasted walnuts.

2 cups quinoa
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 teaspoon Herbamare or sea salt

1 cup lightly cooked fresh or frozen peas
1 cup cooked salmon
1/2 cup chopped fresh dandelion greens
1/2 cup sheep's feta (or goat cheese)
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

To cook the quinoa, first rinse well in a fine mesh strainer under running water to remove the bitter saponin coating. Then place into a 2-quart pot with the water and sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low (or medium-low) and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let cool for about 30 to 60 minutes before making this salad.

To make the dressing, place all ingredients into a blender and blend for about 30 seconds. The herbs don't need to be completely pureed into the dressing, just enough to release their potent flavors.

To make the salad, place the cooked quinoa into a large bowl. Pour dressing over it and lightly toss. Then add all other salad ingredients, gently toss, and serve at room temp. Source:

More Spring Recipes:

About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Hello,

    I recently read that, to make dried beans more digestible, one should use soda when soaking them.

    Do you have a comment on this advice? If you agree with the analysis, do you know the appropriate proportions?

    Sorry this has nothing to do with the gorgeous salad recipe you just posted. Although you have convinced me to try again with quinoa.

  2. Hi...I have recently found your lovely blog! I love Quinoa is so versatile...I also have the same dishes as you do...and those chive flowers look lovely! I too have just done a post on spring time vegetables from the market, if you want to check it out think I will be making some more quinoa dishes after looking at yours, Ina

  3. Wow, Ali, if I didn't want to eat this salad by the description and recipe alone, I know I would because of the photos. They are just gorgeous. That first one especially is so appealing. I admit I've never eaten dandelion greens, but I know they have a lot of nutritional value. When I was growing up, my dad's family often used dandelions to make wine. ;-)


  4. I love quinoa salads for lunch! This sounds great. I also love your photos with the little purple spring-time-y!

  5. Jeff, have you tried the trick referenced in the book of adding a piece of kombu seaweed to the cooking water of beans? It really works, I tried it recently.

    Re: these quinoa salads, I found it necessary to halve the recipe. I tried the Quinoa and Black Bean salad in the book and it made a monstrous quantity! Despite me and my husband eating some almost every day for a week, it ended up going bad :( Freshly cooked beans do not keep very long. Lesson learned - the salad was delicious and I'll make it again - just not as much :-)

  6. This looks amazing! It's topping my list of spring recipes to make before summer gets here. :)

    The photos are splendid, by the way!

  7. I love quinoa - it really makes eating and cooking gluten free manageable. And boy, is it easy to cook or what? I've made it in the microwave, the pressure cooker, the stovetop, and in my rice cooker. It always comes out great! I have some recipes on my blog that features quinoa - from a hearty breakfast cereal to salads. It's about as versatile as you can get. Thanks for the beautiful post and pictures!

    best, Ellen

  8. Ali- such beautiful photos, and what a tasty combo.. have to try soon. Thanks.

  9. I love those ceramic bowls! What a talent you have for photography, Ali. Sure, I'll be making the quinoa salad, but couldn't resist commenting on the photo.
    like other posters, I love quinoa too and used quinoa flakes today (mixed with ground chia and some spices) as a breading substitute for schnitzel. Yum!

  10. this looks so good--i will have to try it soon. i really appreciate all of the gluten free things you post here. i'm new at the whole allergy thing--dealing with no gluten, wheat, dairy or shellfish--it's been an adventure.

  11. Hello!

    I made this dish today. I happened to have everything I needed to make this except the rosemary-- this was a delicious dish! Thank you!

  12. this dish looks delicious! Cant wait to make it. I am in phase 1 of the diet and have been eating lots of quinoa. I have a question about the diet... When can I start using vinegar or mustard? Is that not until phase 3? Thanks!

  13. Ali! I love your blog so much!! We use your recipes so often in our kitchen and I rarely tell you how much I love them! This quinoa salad is no exception!! Your photos are not only pretty, but they are happy! You and Tom make super happy healthy food! Thank you So much!!

  14. This is such a gorgeous salad, love the blossoms and the matching bowls too - beautiful photos!


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