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close up shot of quinoa salad in white serving dish

Meaningful Eats

Best Quinoa Salad Recipe

The BEST recipe for quinoa salad! Full of toasted pine nuts, corn, cranberries, greens, parmesan and all tossed with a creamy buttermilk basil dressing. Perfect for meal prep, bbqs, parties or anytime!
Course gluten-free, quinoa, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings


For the Quinoa:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa rinsed
  • 1 ¾ cup water
  • pinch of salt

For the Buttermilk Basil Dressing:

  • cup chopped basil leaves
  • cup mayonnaise
  • cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 3 cups baby kale & spinach chopped
  • ½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • ½ cup pine nuts toasted
  • cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cups white corn


  • For the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer . Bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa and a pinch of salt. Bring back to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Allow to cool slightly.
  • For the dressing: Place the ingredients for the dressing in a blender. Blend until smooth then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss the slightly cooled quinoa with the remaining salad ingredients. Pour over the dressing just before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper (a pinch more salt is sometimes needed!). Enjoy!
  • Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


I like using a mix of baby greens - both spinach and kale in this salad. The baby greens have a nice mild taste and texture, however you can use whatever greens you like!
Quinoa can have a natural coating called saponin that gives it a soapy flavor. Rinsing quinoa helps remove this coating. Most quinoa you buy at the store comes pre-rinsed, but even so an additional rinse helps the quinoa to cook up nice and fluffy. It works best to use a fine mesh strainer to rinse quinoa.


Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 318mg | Potassium: 759mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 5760IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 4.3mg