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Zesty Apricot & Almond Quinoa Salad

I've lived in Flagstaff, AZ, since 2003, where I'm an active member of the Coconino County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team and an avid hiker.

Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad

A Healthy, Tasty and Versatile Food

This healthy dish is delish! I first tried it at a potluck and then emailed my friend who'd made it to get her recipe.

Quinoa is a great base for all kinds of ingredients. Quinoa salad can be eaten as a side dish for any meal of the day or, with an added ingredient or two, a main dish, especially for brunch or lunch.

Following the recipe below, I've included suggestions for substitutions and additions, but quinoa is a very versatile main ingredient, so feel free to be creative.

What Exactly IS Quinoa?

Quinoa is a chenopod, which is a grain-like crop that's actually related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, but quinoa greens are rarely sold commercially. The quinoa product sold in most grocery stores is the grain or seeds, which are high in protein.

Quinoa is an ancient grain, cultivated by the Incas, which is still grown extensively in the Andean region of South America.

According to Wikipedia, "Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights."

The Quinoa Plant -- Chenopodium quinoa

The Quinoa Plant -- Chenopodium quinoa

The Quinoa Plant -- Chenopodium quinoa

Cook Time

Prep Time:

Total Time:

Serves: 4


  • 1 cup of rinsed and drained quinoa
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots diced into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 shallot finely chopped (2 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 oranges with peels removed and cut into sections
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  1. Toast the almonds in a dry skillet or toaster oven, or until pale brown and fragrant, stirring often. (About 5 minutes.)
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the quinoa and salt, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender and almost all the water is absorbed.
  3. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Toss with apricots and raisins.
  4. Whisk together the orange juice, shallot, parsley, cilantro, mint, orange zest, cumin, and coriander. Whisk in the oil. Pour this dressing over the quinoa and toss to coat. Garnish with orange slices and toasted almonds.
Quinoa salad alternatives

Quinoa salad alternatives

Quinoa Salad Additions and Substitutions

And some ingredients you can leave out if you want

  • Add 1-1/2 cups of chickpeas and cut the oil in half to lower the fat content.
  • Add 1 cup pomegranate arils
  • Omit the shallot and add a little ginger.
  • Replace the raisins with craisins.
  • Leave out the mint.
  • Substitute chopped, dried cherries for the raisins.
  • Substitute mango for orange

More Quinoa Recipes -- It's such a versatile ingredient....

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A Quinoa Cookbook: A Simple but Very Versatile Food

Do You Like Quinoa? - A visitor poll

Have Quinoa Shipped to Your Door

Save by buying in bulk.

If you find you like to use quinoa as a base, it's more economical to buy in bulk, and it's not like it will go bad. Store it in an airtight plastic or glass container in a dark, cool place.

Harvesting quinoa

Harvesting quinoa

Harvesting quinoa

The people pictured above are Fairtrade Certified quinoa producers in Ecuador.

© 2011 Deb Kingsbury

Do You Like To Cook With Quinoa?

clouda9 lm on June 23, 2012:

Love quinoa AND your recipe. Shared ( printed out, and will be making it for the family.

LadyFlashman from United Kingdom on June 22, 2012:

I have recently decided that eating sugary breakfast cereal is BAD, so every morning I have quinoa with black forest fruits, pecan nuts and a teaspoon of honey (recipe is in 101 Cookbooks, an awesome blog). It keeps me full until lunch without a major sugar crash. I shall have to try your salad recipe next!

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on March 07, 2012:

This recipe really sounds great. I'm making my shopping list and heading to the grocery store pronto. Thanks!

RinchenChodron on February 29, 2012:

Thank you for adding a link to my quinoa cookies recipes.

Margaret Schaut from Detroit on February 27, 2012:

I love the old grains and enjoy having them be a big part of my diet. Good recipe!

Barbara Radisavljevic from Paso Robles, CA on February 27, 2012:

We practically live on quinoa salad variations.

CCGAL on February 02, 2012:

I've never used or eaten Quinoa, but I've read a lot about it and I'm going to give it a try one of these days. Quite possibly very soon now that I've realized how easy it will be to prepare. Very useful and enjoyable lens here. Thanks so much!

orange3 lm on August 31, 2011:

I love Quinoa! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

Jackie Block from SE Michigan on August 30, 2011:

I like quinoa, and am experimenting with using it in various recipes. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on August 30, 2011:

I've been looking for ideas on Quinoa. I know I should have it in my regular diet but get stuck for what to actually do with it. Thanks!

Lisa Marie Gabriel from United Kingdom on August 30, 2011:

I have only used it once or twice. I really have to watch my carbs and I don't enjoy rice or pasta, but I found quinoa quite delicious. I should try your recipe.

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