Easy & Zesty Quinoa Salad Recipe

This Easy Quinoa Salad Recipe takes about 20 minutes total to make and is large enough for several meals. The dressing is a little tangy with just the right amount of sweetness for a  great side year-round.

overhead view of a bowl of quinoa salad

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This Zesty Quinoa Salad reminds me of the Quinoa Salad from Costco.  It’s also a regular part of my summer meal preps for the week. Why do you ask?  Well because it’s filling and tasty with a tangy vinaigrette dressing with the right amount of sweetness to balance out the acidity.

Plus it takes almost no time to make and makes enough for side dishes or a base for a lunch salad all week!

Just Like Costco Zesty Quinoa Salad Recipe

I like to make this side dish recipe with tri-colour quinoa for no other reason than it looks pretty!  What I love about this 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!

How to Make Zesty Costco Quinoa Salad

Rinse 1 cup of quinoa under cold running water for a minute or two to remove the bitter taste quinoa can have.

rinsing quinoa in a sift

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. While the quinoa is simmering chop up the onions, cucumbers and peppers and mix up the dressing.  

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, cucumbers and onions. 

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. 

Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss until well mixed. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

cup with ingredients such as oil, honey and vinegar

Serve immediately or cover and put in the fridge for up to 5 days. 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 flavours of the zesty dressing, peppers and onions.

For those who like to prep their meals on the weekends, I highly recommend making ahead for the week. Add some chicken and this makes a great lunch! Another dish that is great to make ahead for the week is this Mexican Bean Salad Recipe.

Tip:  Add Chickpeas, Lentils or Beans To Add Even More Protein

Substitute the honey for maple syrup or your favourite 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 flavour.

Shot of a wooden bowl with quinoa salad and veggies on a white background with salad dressing and extra bowls on the side.

Over the years quinoa has become very popular with people looking to eat healthier but one of the questions many people wonder is if quinoa should be considered low carb?

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 fibre and protein. Each 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa contains about 21 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fibre and is gluten-free.  

Since it is relatively high in protein and fibre 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.

Overhead pic of oil and vinegar dressing along with a big wooden bowl of zesty quinoa salad and veggies.

Which colour of quinoa tastes best?

You may have noticed that in this recipe I used multi-colour quinoa. Quinoa comes in many different colours 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 colours of quinoa.
  • Red Quinoa – has a slightly nutty flavour and has a bit chewier texture than white quinoa. This colour 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 flavour. This colour also tends to have a bit of a firmer texture than the white quinoa adding great texture to dishes.
Overhead shot of a big wooden bowl of zesty quinoa salad on a white background with some dressing on the side.

Zesty Quinoa Salad Recipe

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
This Easy Quinoa Salad takes about 20 minutes total to make and is large enough for several meals.  The dressing is a little tangy with just the right amount of sweetness for a  great side year round.
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 122 kcal


  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 2 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


  • Rinse quinoa under cold water for 1-2 minutes
  • Add quinoa to bowling water
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 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, onion and oil and vinegar mixture and mix well
  • Add salt and pepper to taste



Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 16.5gProtein: 2.2gFat: 5.4gSaturated Fat: 0.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.5gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 196mgPotassium: 136mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 6.7gVitamin A: 800IUVitamin C: 17.3mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 0.9mg


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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promo graphic for quinoa salad recipe, featuring an image of a bowl of quinoa salad

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

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  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.

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