Copycat Costco Quinoa Salad

This Copycat Costco Salad takes about 20 minutes to make and is large enough for several meals. The dressing is a little tangy with just the right amount of sweetness. This zesty quinoa salad makes a great side year-round!


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I first created this Costco Quinoa Salad copycat recipe because, well, that quinoa salad recipe is amazing! This quinoa salad with lentils is a part of my summer meal preps because it’s filling and tasty with a tangy vinaigrette dressing with the right amount of sweetness to balance out the acidity.

Plus, the quinoa salad recipe takes almost no time to make! I love that it makes enough for side dishes or a base for a lunch salad all week!

I like to make this side dish recipe with tri-color quinoa for no other reason than it looks pretty!  What I love about this Costco quinoa salad recipe is that I almost always have all the ingredients in my house at any given time.  

This Easy Quinoa Salad takes about 20 minutes total to make and you can make it into a large salad easy but just doubling the recipe. It is a perfect recipe to make for summer parties or potlucks all year long!

What Makes This Costco Quinoa Salad Recipe So Great?

  • Quick and Easy: This salad comes together in just 20 minutes, making it a perfect choice for a fast and nutritious side dish or meal.
  • Flavorful Dressing: The tangy white wine vinegar and honey dressing provides a delightful balance of acidity and sweetness to complement the other ingredients.
  • Nutrient-Dense Ingredients: Quinoa, lentils, bell peppers, cucumbers, and red onion pack this salad with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Versatile and Customizable: The basic recipe can be easily adjusted to suit your tastes, with options to add more vegetables, protein, or switch up the herbs and seasonings.
  • Makes Plenty: This salad recipe yields a large portion, making it ideal for meal prepping, potlucks, or feeding a crowd.

Ingredients Needed for Costco Quinoa Salad

  • Quinoa – Rinsing the quinoa under cold water for 1-2 minutes helps remove any bitterness.
  • Lentils – Canned lentils make this a quick and easy salad, but you can also use cooked dried lentils.
  • Bell Peppers – Using a mix of red and yellow bells adds bright color and flavor.
  • Cucumber – Leave the peel on for extra texture and nutrients.
  • Red Onion – Finely chopped to provide a subtle onion flavor throughout.
  • White Wine Vinegar – Provides the tangy base for the dressing.
  • Olive Oil – Forms the backbone of the simple vinaigrette.
  • Honey – Balances the acidity of the vinegar with a touch of sweetness.
  • Salt and Pepper – Season to taste.

See the recipe card below for exact quantities.

How to Make Zesty Costco Quinoa Salad

  1. Rinse 1 cup of quinoa under cold running water for a minute or two to remove the bitter taste quinoa can have.
  2. Add the rinsed cup of quinoa to 2 cups of boiling water.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  1. Once quinoa is done cooking and all water is absorbed fluff up the quinoa with a fork and put it into a medium bowl. Add the chopped bell peppers, lentils, cucumbers and onions. 
  2. Costco’s version also has parsley but I am not a huge fan so I left it out.  If you like it chop about 1/2 cup of fresh parsley and add to the bowl. 
  3. In a small bowl add the oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
  4. Pour dressing over quinoa and lentil salad mixture and toss until well mixed. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Tips

Here are some tips I’ve learned from making this quinoa salad recipe:

  • Let it sit. I actually find that the longer this salad sits the better it tastes. Time in the fridge gives the quinoa a chance to absorb the flavors of the zesty dressing, peppers and onions.
  • Add extra protein. For those who like to prep their meals on the weekends, I highly recommend making ahead for the week. Add some chicken, chickpeas, or beans and this makes a great lunch!
  • Switch out the sweetener. Substitute the honey for maple syrup or your favorite sweetener. The honey just takes a bit of the bite out of the vinegar so the type of sweetener is really not that important to the flavor.
Quinoa and lentil salad in a bowl with a serving spoon on a table.

Storage

Refrigerate: This copycat Costco quinoa salad will keep fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavors actually continue to develop and meld together the longer it sits.

Do Not Freeze: While the quinoa salad stores well in the fridge, I would not recommend freezing it. The delicate textures of the quinoa, vegetables, and dressing are likely to become compromised when thawed. For best quality and texture, enjoy this salad within 5 days of making it.

Zesty quinoa salad recipe in a bowl.

Costco Quinoa FAQs

Is quinoa low carb?

A half-cup of quinoa in terms of the number of carbohydrates is similar to the amount in one slice of whole wheat bread, but contains a greater amount of fiber and protein. Each 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa contains about 21 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber and is gluten-free. Since it is relatively high in protein and fiber, quinoa is much more filling than bread and rice so you feel full longer which in itself can lead to weight loss.
For more info on the health benefits of quinoa check out this article by Healthline.

Can I used dried lentils for this quinoa lentil salad?

Yes, you can use dried lentils instead of canned in this recipe. Just cook the dried lentils according to the package instructions before adding them to the salad.

Is quinoa healthier than rice?

Yes, quinoa is generally considered a healthier alternative to rice. Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. It’s also higher in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants compared to most types of rice.

Which color of quinoa tastes best?

You may have noticed that in this recipe I used multi-color quinoa. Quinoa comes in many different colors but this recipe has used white, red and black quinoa which are fairly common.
White Quinoa – is a great substitute for rice or bread crumbs. It has a subtle taste and fluffs up nicely. A little fluffier than the other colors of quinoa.
Red Quinoa – has a slightly nutty flavour and has a bit chewier texture than white quinoa. This color works great in salads because it tends to be a little firmer and holds up better with salad dressings.
Black Quinoa – is a bit sweeter than white or red and has a bit of an earthy flavor. This color also tends to have a bit of a firmer texture than the white quinoa adding great texture to dishes.

A lentil quinoa salad o a table with a spoon.

More delicious salad recipes

Overhead shot of a big wooden bowl of zesty quinoa salad on a white background with some dressing on the side.

Copycat Costco Quinoa Salad

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
This Copycat Costco Salad takes about 20 minutes to make and has a tangy dressing with just the right amount of sweetness.
4.82 from 22 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 12 servings
Calories 166 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • ¾ cup lentils canned
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cup red and or yellow sweet bell peppers chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber chopped (peel on)
  • ½ cup red onion finely chopped
  • cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Rinse quinoa under cold water for 1-2 minutes
  • Add quinoa to bowling water
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 12-15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with fork.
  • While quinoa is cooking chop red onion, bell peppers and cucumber.
  • In a small bowl add olive oil, vinegar, honey. I add about a tsp of each of salt and pepper or to taste and mix well.
  • Once quinoa is complete remove from stove and empty into a large bowl
  • Add peppers, lentils, cucumber, onion and oil and vinegar mixture and mix well
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 166kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 5gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 265mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 598IUVitamin C: 25mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 2mg

Notes

Refrigerate: This copycat Costco quinoa salad will keep fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavors actually continue to develop and meld together the longer it sits.
Do Not Freeze: While the quinoa salad stores well in the fridge, I would not recommend freezing it. The delicate textures of the quinoa, vegetables, and dressing are likely to become compromised when thawed. For best quality and texture, enjoy this salad within 5 days of making it.
If following the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan this recipe would count as:
1 yellow, 1/2 green and 1 tsp
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How To Make A Zesty Quinoa Salad Story.

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20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love Quinoa salads, but, even though I shop at Costco, I’ve never thought to buy one there. I prefer homemade, anyway, so this one looks perfect! Thanks for the recipe, it looks amazing!

    1. I actually prefer making quinoa over rice and really any dish you do with rice and be done with quinoa. It is really easy to work with and make.

  2. 5 stars
    I love quinoa and this salad looks so tasty. Good thing I came to know that there were three colours of quinoa as I bring it rarely. Lovely share.

  3. 5 stars
    Great salad! There’s something about the texture of quinoa that I just love. That, mixed with fresh veggies and a zesty vinaigrette is a winning combo (just like the Costco salad!)

  4. I’m trying to love quinoa, honestly, since it’s so nutritious. And I do like it in a salad. I think it’s the best way to enjoy quinoa, imo. Thanks so much for cohosting, Alisa. I hope you had fun! XOXO

  5. This reminds me of the quinoa salad I LOVE from Costco. It looks so fresh and vibrant, and I like that it’s so quick and easy to make. Enjoy the party and have a great weekend co-host!

    1. Thanks Lily and you are right it is a little like the Costco quinoa salad but a little less sweet.

4.82 from 22 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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