Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad

Dating in your 40s is a little like dating in your 20s. You still plan fun trips together and talk about cool new cocktail bars. But, you also talk about blood pressure and progesterone levels and all sorts of middle age problems that you barely knew existed in your 20s. You also wonder things like, “If we get married and have kids, will I live to see them graduate from college?” And, because of that, you do things for your boyfriend like make him a week’s worth of “healthy” lunches.


The good new is that when healthy lunches involve Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad, you don’t mind at all. Why? Because the recipe makes a ton—enough for a week’s worth of lunches for you, your roommate, and your boyfriend (or you, your husband, and five small children)—and this stuff is good. Really good. Like, “Are You Sure There’s Actually Quinoa In This?” good.

I found an earlier version of this tasty “health food” on Pinterest. There are quite a few versions floating around the Web, so I’m not sure who came up with the idea first. Maybe My Quest to Become Plant Strong?

Regardless, the recipe lends itself to all sorts of playing. You can pretty much dump in whatever dried fruits, nuts, or veggies you have on hand and call it good. Next time I make it (and believe me, there will be a next time), I’m going to throw in some craisins…and cashews…and maybe the juice of a freshly squeezed Meyer Lemon or two…or even an orange. Just as it was though, it was fantastic.


As it so happens, it’s also great for make ahead lunches. It takes next to no time to throw together. All that citrus keeps it fresh. And nothing has to be refrigerated, so if it needs to sit out for a few hours at work, it can.

Also, did I mention it tastes amazing?

I know, I keep going back to that. That’s because my experiences with quinoa thus far have been “meh” at best. But not this time.

Hmmmm….I wonder why…






Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 15…generously


  • Quinoa, 2 cups, uncooked
  • Chicken Broth (or vegetable broth if you’re going vegetarian), 3 and 2/3 cups
  • Shelled Edamame, 20 ounces
  • Walnuts, chopped, 1 cup
  • Almonds, slivered, 1 cup
  • Coconut, shredded, unsweetened, 2 cups
  • Golden Raisins, 2 cups
  • Cilantro (or parsley), 1 bunch, chopped
  • Red Bell Pepper, 1 medium, chopped
  • Red Onion, 1 medium, chopped
  • Mango, 1, peeled and chopped
  • 5 limes, juiced
  • White wine vinegar, 3 Tablespoons
  • Kosher salt, 2 teaspoons

Cooking Instructions

  1. Measure out quinoa into a mesh strainer. Rinse well with water and allow to drain. (Note: Do not skip this step unless you love bitter tasting quinoa.)
  2. Combine quinoa and broth in a medium-sized stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. (Alternately, combine the quinoa and broth in a rice cooker like I did and cook on the white rice setting. If you have a rice cooker, this actually makes for fluffier, tastier quinoa, and I prefer it over the stove top method.)
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, chop your pepper, mango, onion, and cilantro.
  4. When the quinoa is done, transfer to a large (very large) bowl, fluff with a fork, and allow it to cool for five minutes.
  5. Combine all remaining ingredients in the bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve, as this tastes best cold.



8 thoughts on “Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad

  1. Rebecca says:

    Sounds amazing! I’ve been loving all your posts. I heard about this blog through your guest spot on the Jennifer Fulwiler show, and I’m so glad I did!

  2. Catholic Bibliophagist says:

    How do you tell if a mango is ripe? And where in the world does one find unsweetend, shredded coconut?

    • Emily says:

      You should be able to find the coconut most everywhere. I got it in the baking aisle at Kroger (the most common grocery store in these parts), and they even had a Kroger brand, so it’s not anything fancy at all. As for the mango, it should feel similar to a ripe avocado—not hard, but not mushy, just soft enough to slice without cursing.

  3. Lisa Kadlec says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe Emily! In my opinion, this is best make ahead salad I have every prepared! Just the right combination of sweet and savory. I love the brightness and crunch!
    I can’t wait to share it with friends.

    • Emily says:

      I got it in the freezer section of Kroger’s in Steubenville, so most places should have this. If you can’t find it in the regular freezer section, check the health food/organic freezer section if you have one. But, if you can’t find it, the recipe will still be tasty without it.

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