Cilantro-Lime Quinoa Salad

The other day while picking up a few things at my local CoOp, I saw a cilantro-lime rice dish in their deli case. Something about summer and cilantro and lime just sound so…. right. I have a pot-luck party I’m going to coming up, so I thought I would see if I could make my own cilantro-lime dish to take for that, and while I’ve got nothing personal against rice, I figured I would use quinoa – though I’m sure this would work with just about any whole grain you like.

Cilantro-Lime Quinoa Salad

I used a mix of white and red quinoa – but it will be fine with whatever you have on hand. The CoOp just happened to get some red quinoa in their bulk area again, so I had to grab some. I like to mix some in every batch I make just for a little visual variety. I’ll typically do 3/4 cup white with 1/4 cup red with 2 cups of liquid (water in this case). If you need help figuring out how to cook your quinoa, check out my Beginner’s Guide to Quinoa. One cup raw, once cooked will give you more than you need for this salad, but I’m sure you can find something to do with the rest.

Since you’re using the zest from the lime, I really suggest getting organic. Otherwise, make sure you wash the lime very well. And when you’re shopping, maybe pick out an avocado and use the other half of the lime and some of the remaining cilantro to make some guacamole or something.

I started out wanting the red pepper in here as much for the color as anything, but they do add just a hint of sweetness to this, along with a pleasing bit of crunch. Overall, I was very pleased with the simple, yet refreshing flavor from this. I know a lot of people either tend to love cilantro, or hate it. I’m in the former, and there’s just something tasty about combining it with lime.

Cilantro-Lime Quinoa Salad

Cilantro-Lime Quinoa Salad

Servings 4 1/2 cup


  • 2 cups quinoa cooked
  • 1 1/2 limes juiced
  • zest from one of the limes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste


  • Put the cooked quinoa in a medium sized bowl, stir in the zest, cilantro and peppers.
  • In a small jar, combine the oil and lime juice, cover and shake to combine a bit before pouring over the quinoa and stirring to combine.
  • Let the flavors mingle in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
  • If you use anything other than kosher salt, start with 1/4 tsp, kosher salt granules tend to be larger so if you use a finer grain salt, 1/2 tsp may make it too salty.


This would be a great summer side dish to go along with some tacos or some grilled chicken or pork maybe...? Let me know what you thought about it in the comments... especially if you end up trying it with a grain other than quinoa.

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