Cranberry Quinoa Salad

5 from 2 votes

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Watch out, because I’m about to convert you into a quinoa lover with my Cranberry Quinoa Salad! 💥 Quinoa is considered a superfood 🦸‍♀️ because of its nutrient density, but I adore these seeds because they’re affordable, easy to cook, fill you up with fiber and protein, and hold up well for days in the fridge. Quinoa makes a perfect base to this hearty, lettuce-free salad, and it soaks up all the dressing, so each bite is loaded with flavor

If you’re not a quinoa fan, this recipe will change your mind. I used to be put off by the smell of quinoa, but after toying with it in the kitchen, I can now say I am a quinoa lover, thanks to this salad and a small trick that changed everything (check out Nonna’s Tip, below). And if you do love quinoa, then be sure to check out my recipe for the famous Jennifer Aniston Salad. 

Why You’ll Love Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Bright, tart, herbaceous, colorful, and filling: this recipe is everything I want in a salad. Cucumbers 🥒 add crunch, a mix of fresh herbs lends flavor, crumbled soft cheese add richness, and lemon juice 🍋 and dried cranberries bring a pleasant tartness. And, of course, a big heaping of cooked quinoa brings everything together for a well-balanced meal, that holds up beautifully over time in the fridge. Make this ahead of time for entertaining or batch-cook this for meal prep.

How to Prepare Cranberry Quinoa Salad

🚿 Rinse the quinoa really well under running water for at least 3 to 5 minutes.

🫕 Add to a pot and combine with 2 cups of water and a big pinch of salt. Then, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 14 minutes, until fluffy.

🥗 In a large bowl, add the quinoa, mint, parsley, cucumber, juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, and cranberries. Season to taste with salt and stir well.

🧀 Top off with cheese and nuts, if using, and enjoy!

Nonna’s Tip 🥗

👃 The smell of quinoa really bothers me, but rinsing uncooked quinoa under running water for 3 to 5 minutes eliminates the smell and produces mild-tasting quinoa.

Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Variations and Substitutions for Cranberry Quinoa Salad

  1. For added nutrition and/or flavor, you can cook the quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth, instead of water.
  2. You can use any kind of crumbly cheese: cotija, ricotta salata, etc. Or serve with slabs of grilled halloumi cheese.
  3. Toasted, chopped nuts 🥜 add great texture to this salad. I like almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, or pistachios here.
  4. Raisins or dried currants make great substitutes for dried cranberries.
  5. Couscous and orzo are also delicious, if you don’t want to use quinoa.

Similar Recipes

Best Served With

Common Questions

Can i make this with something other than quinoa?

Certainly, you can make this with couscous, orzo, or bulgur wheat.

How do i know if the quinoa is done cooking?

The quinoa should be nice and fluffy, and not clump up when you stir it with a fork. The water should be evaporated from the pan. If there’s still water in the bottom of the pan, cook for another few minutes.

How long will this last in the refrigerator?

This will last for about 3 days in the refrigerator.

I don’t like mint or parsley. what can i add instead?

You can try using fresh cilantro here or basil, or omitting the herbs all together.

Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Bright, tart, herbaceous, colorful, and filling: this recipe is everything I want in a salad. Quinoa brings everything together for a well-balanced meal, that holds up beautifully over time in the fridge.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • salt
  • cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • cup feta, or cranberry goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • ¼ cup walnuts, or almonds, toasted and finely chopped (optional)

Instructions 

  • In a fine-mesh sieve, rinse the quinoa really well under running water for at least 3 to 5 minutes. Add to a pot and combine with 2 cups of water and a big pinch of salt.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the quinoa is fluffy and the water has evaporated. Let cool to room temperature (you can place the quinoa in the fridge to speed this up).
  • In a large bowl, add the quinoa, mint, parsley, cucumber, juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, and cranberries. Season to taste with salt and stir well.
  • Top off with cheese and nuts, if using, and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 148mg, Potassium: 390mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 311IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 108mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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