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red quinoa salad ingredients in a salad bowl before being mixed

Quick & Healthy Red Quinoa Salad with Feta Cheese

  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 5
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This cold quinoa salad with feta cheese, chickpeas, vegetables, and fresh herbs is made with red quinoa and will be your new favorite healthy lunch recipe! Learn how to quickly cool down cooked quinoa to make a cold quinoa salad so the raw vegetables stay crunchy. Ready in under 30 minutes, this salad is perfect for meal prep and makes 4-6 servings.



Red quinoa salad

  • 1 cup dry red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced 
  • 3 mini cucumbers, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced small
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Champagne vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 tbsp shallot, minced
  • 3/4 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Cook quinoa on the stovetop according to package instructions, about 15 minutes. Cooked quinoa is done when grains light, fluffy, and all the water is absorbed.
    pot of cooked red quinoa
  2. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a baking sheet and spread it out into a thin layer. Put the baking sheet in the fridge to cool the quinoa down quickly, while you prep the rest of the salad.
    Red quinoa cooked and spread out on a small baking sheet.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, toast up the almond slivers in the oven if you purchased raw almond slivers.
  4. Dice the pepper, cucumber, and onion, and finely chop the herbs.
    four small bowls with chopped pepper, cucumber, herbs, and red onion
  5. Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas.
  6. Prepare the champagne vinaigrette: add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Using a small whisk or fork, whisk vigorously in a zig-zag motion for a minute or so until the dressing is emulsified.
    hands whisking up a homemade vinaigrette in a small speckled bowl
  7. Transfer the cooled, cooked quinoa to a large salad bowl. Add the chopped veggies and herbs, toasted almond slivers, chickpeas, and feta cheese.
    red quinoa salad ingredients in a salad bowl before being mixed
  8. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad – I used nearly all the dressing with about 1/4 cup left over.
  9. Use salad spoons to mix everything together until well combined and the ingredients are coated in the dressing.
    large bowl of red quinoa salad with wooden salad spoons
  10. Serve cold or room temperature.


Does quinoa need to be rinsed?

Quinoa produces a compound called saponin, which acts as a natural insecticide to protect the plant. Saponin is perfectly safe to eat, but can have a bitter flavor. Therefore, some recommend rinsing dry quinoa in a sieve before cooking it.

I personally never rinse quinoa before cooking it. Most quinoa sold in stores today has been cleaned enough to remove the saponin and is sold pre-rinsed, and I have never prepared quinoa that tastes bitter!


Since this recipe is meant to be enjoyed cold, it keeps very well in the fridge. Store in an airtight container for up to five days. This is a perfect healthy dish to bring to a cookout!

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