Easy & Zesty Quinoa Salad

This Zesty Quinoa Salad reminds me of the Quinoa Salad from Costco.  It’s also a regular part of my my summer meal preps for the week. Why you ask?  Well because it’s filling and tasty with it’s 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 take 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 recipes 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.

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 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 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.

Zesty Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Serve immediately or cover and put in the fridge for up to a 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.

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 amount 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.

Which colour of quinoa tastes best?

You may have noticed that in this recipe I used a 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.

Zesty Quinoa Salad Recipe

5 from 7 votes
Overhead shot of a big wooden bowl of zesty quinoa salad on a white background with some dressing on the side.
Zesty Quinoa Salad
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins

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.

Course: Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Quinoa, salad, Zesty Quinoa Salad
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 122 kcal
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cup red and or yellow sweet bell peppers chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber chopped (peel on)
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse quinoa under cold water for 1-2 minutes

  2. Add quinoa to bowling water

  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer covered for 15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with fork.

  4. While quinoa is cooking chop red onion, bell peppers and cucumber.

  5. In a small bowl add olive oil, vinegar, honey. I add about a tsp of each. Mix well.

  6. Once quinoa is complete remove from stove and empty into a large bowl

  7. Add peppers, onion and oil and vinegar mixture and mix well

  8. Add salt and pepper to taste

Recipe Notes

If following the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan this recipe would count as:

1 yellow, 1/2 green and 1 tsp

Nutrition Facts
Zesty Quinoa Salad
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 122 Calories from Fat 49
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5.4g 8%
Saturated Fat 0.7g 4%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.5g
Sodium 196mg 8%
Potassium 136mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 16.5g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1.5g 6%
Sugars 6.7g
Protein 2.2g 4%
Vitamin A 16%
Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 1%
Iron 5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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17 thoughts on “Easy & Zesty Quinoa Salad

  1. 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. 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!)

  3. 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!

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