Herb Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts

This herb quinoa salad is light and refreshing. Lemon, herbs and some crunch from toasted pine nuts. Easy and super delicious!

You guys, I finally made quinoa.

Lemony Herbed Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pinenuts

I know- I know… what took me so long? I have no idea. But of course I’ve ate it before, don’t be silly… I’ve had it in tabbouleh and well that’s really it. However as far as making it goes… I guess you’d say I was a little afraid.

quinoa cup

Now don’t think I can’t read your mind: “Afraid? Of QUINOA??!!” Yup. I sure was. If you’ve read my blog in the last few months then you’ve read about my lack of skills in the rice making department. So you can probably see how I could be a little, ummm let’s say nervous about quinoa. Well thankfully I now have my handy-dandy rice cooker, that btw isn’t just a rice cooker… it actually should be called: the any-kind-of-grain-your-heart-desires cooker… so I thought it was about darn time I make some quinoa.

rainbow quinoa

Really this all couldn’t have come at a better time. Did you know the United Nations declared that 2013 as the international year of quinoa? I didn’t either until a few weeks ago when a box landed on my doorstep from my friends at the Fair Trade USA. Inside was the most beautiful bag of rainbow quinoa from Alter Eco. Call it destiny, call it whatever… I simply couldn’t wait to use it.

So let’s talk quinoa shall we?  For those who are unsure… ‘What is it?’ It’s actually a seed! What-the-what? Yeah I did my Wikipedia search and learned that it’s also a pseudo cereal annnnnd closely related to the beet, spinach and tumbleweed {whaa?}. Question two: What does it taste like? Honestly the first thing I thought of was that it was earthy, nutty and kind of tasted like rice to me.  So not only is quinoa a great source of protein, but it also is the only plant food that contains ALL essential amino acids. It’s also gluten free and can be germinated which doubles the vitamins! So why the heck wouldn’t you want to eat it?!

Go on and pick up a bag and celebrate 2013 being the year of quinoa!!

pour into rice cooker

Always rinse your quinoa before adding it into the pot, or in my case the rice cooker. Place the quinoa in a mesh strainer and let the water run until it runs clear. For four servings 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will do the trick.

chicken broth

Now, my rice cooker comes with its own measuring cup. But roughly two cups of chicken broth or water goes into the rice cooker {pot}.

put a lid on it

Put a lid on it, flip the switch and wait for the rice cooker to let YOU know when it’s done. It’s as simple as that. Either way if you’re using the old fashioned pot or the rice cooker… it should take about 15-20 minutes.


Fluff and set it off to the side for a moment.

pine nut toasting

Toast a heaping quarter cup of pine nuts in a dry skillet. Toast the nuts over moderate heat. Toasting nuts in general bring out their oils and just make them taste better.


Grab a bunch of mint and give it a roll and chop.


Do the same with fresh parsley.

all in the bowl

Throw it all into a bowl.

garlic olive oil and lemon juice

Drizzle with a tablespoon of roasted garlic oil. Really any oil infused or not would work. But if you’re not using garlic infused oil, then throw in a clove of minced garlic for some extra flavah-flave.

salt and black pepper

Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper.

mixed up

And give it a good toss. Hypnotizing isn’t it?

Lemony Herbed Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pinenuts top

So simple. I really have fallen in love with quinoa, besides it being so nutritious for you, it’s also easy and versatile. Serve this with your favorite protein for dinner or just grab a fork and eat it as is and maybe alongside a glass of wine. What? Like you didn’t know I’d sneak wine somewhere into this post, sheesh. 😉


Lemony Herbed Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pinenuts

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!


Lemon Herb Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts

A light and healthy quinoa tossed with fresh mint, parsley, toasty pine nuts and a fresh lemony-garlic olive oil dressing. Extremely easy, so delicious and healthy!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30-35

Total Time: 45 minutes


1 cup uncooked Rainbow Quinoa, rinsed

2 cups Chicken {or Vegetable} broth

1/4 cup {heaping} Pine Nuts, toasted

1 tablespoon Fresh Mint, rolled, sliced and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, more or less to taste

Kosher Salt and Black Pepper, to taste


Rinse and drain the quinoa well before adding it to the pot or in my case the rice cooker.

Pour in the two cups broth, cover and cook until the liquids are absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Because I use my rice cooker, it lets me know when the quinoa is done, which took about 15-20 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa and add it to a large bowl with the chopped mint, parsley, toasted pine nuts, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss and serve warm or at room temperature.

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21 Responses to “Herb Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts”

  1. #
    Aparna B. — March 1, 2013 at 7:32 am

    YUM! I’m always making recipes with quinoa since it’s so healthy for you and completely full of fiber and nutrients! It’s definitely something that hangs around in our pantry full time.This sounds similar to a few quinoa recipes I’ve made in the past! I think I’ve come to realize that no matter the quinoa recipe, some kind of citrus has to be in it to give it that fresh, light taste 🙂

  2. #
    Rachel Gurk — March 1, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Quinoa is one of my favorite things…and so are toasted pine nuts! Yummy! Love this!

  3. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — March 1, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I love quinoa and I love pine nuts. This just looks perfect to me!

  4. #
    sally @ sallys baking addiction — March 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

    umm how perfect. we have quinoa to eat and tons of fresh parsley. I love finding new recipes for quinoa Laurie!!! I just hopped on the quinoa bandwagon last year and I am HOOKED!

  5. #
    a farmer in the dell — March 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I think you just nailed this quinoa recipe! Yum!

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 5th, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

      Why thank you 🙂

  6. #
    Jackie @ The Beeroness — March 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I love this! So gorgeous. I started cooking my quinoa with less liquid ( 1 cup quinoa with 1 1/2 cups broth) and I love the firmer texture. I love that you added some fresh herbs, amazing!

  7. #
    Herbivore Triathlete — March 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Oh yes! Quinoa is amazing isn’t it? It is good as a savory dish, a salad, or breakfast! Love the addition of pine nuts and mint.

  8. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — March 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I was scared to try quinoa at first too, but now I love it. This salad sounds so wonderful – love the tip of the rice cooker, not sure why I have never cooked mine in there before!

  9. #
    danielle — March 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    FYI this post didn’t show up in my reader. i updated my reader, and now it’s there. but why’d it change? i can’t lose simply scratch in my life! =)

    • simplyscratch replied: — March 5th, 2013 @ 4:14 pm

      I have no idea!? I’m not very tech-savvy… let me know if the problem persists and I’ll dig deeper 🙂

  10. #
    Kristi Rimkus — March 2, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I’m a big fan of quinoa, but I’ve never seen rainbow quinoa. Now I have to find it, this salad looks terrific!

  11. #
    Aly Mashrah — March 2, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    I’ve heard/seen quinoa before but I’ve never tried it. I think once I’m allowed to add grains back into my diet I’m going to give this a try. It sounds really healthy for you, and I think more nutrient-riched than white rice.

  12. #
    Jessi Willard — March 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Mmmmm. Breakfast quinoa is one of our favorites. Nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and a little brown sugar=delicious!

  13. #
    david @ Saladpride — March 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm


  14. #
    July — March 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing another one of your delicious recipes! I look forward to these every week. Also, thank you for buying quinoa from a sustainable provider.
    Some of your readers might not know of quinoa’s social impact on the indigenous regions where it is produced. The combination of harsh soil and climate conditions and widespread poverty in the Andean region limits local access to food supplies because of quinoa’s high demand and inflated price.
    Quinoa was in fact heavily steeped in Incan culture, but now its popularity in non-Andean regions raises concerns over local people’s access to essential nutrition.
    If you would like more information about the social impacts of quinoa, then please read the articles http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/vegans-stomach-unpalatable-truth-quinoa and http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?article4232
    Thank you!

  15. #
    Donna — March 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Thank You for posting this quinoa! This is my first experience eating an tasting quinoa but it won’t be my last. It was so good!!!!

  16. #
    Donna — March 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Thank you for posting this quinoa recipe. It was so good and easy.

  17. #
    Krystal — March 28, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Loved this recipe! I couldn’t find the rainbow quinoa at my grocery store, but I made it work with red and traditional mixed together. Thanks for posting it! (Here was my full review on the recipe: http://wp.me/p36l5d-g9)

  18. #
    lisa — May 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Just wondering if you’ve ever used your rice cooker to make oatmeal?


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