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Quinoa Salad with Cucumber, Red Onion, and Red Bell Pepper

Have you ever started randomly pulling ingredients from your fridge or pantry and then accidentally made something really good? Well, that’s what happened to me here. I wanted to make a quinoa salad one afternoon when we were doing a cookout on the grill, and nothing I had seemed to match up with any of the recipes I was finding. Rather than running to the store, I decided to work with what I had: red quinoa, red bell pepper, red onion, and a cucumber. I figured that was plenty to make something delicious with the right dressing.

Going back to the pantry, I found a little bit of rice vinegar, some apple cider vinegar, and some brown sugar. I figured I was onto something, but after I pulled it all together, I was amazed at how good everything tasted! I recreated this recipe three more times, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and it has come out great each time: it’s light, refreshing, and a great compliment to any number of foods you might cook on the grill. You can also make it up to a day ahead of time!

To keep this recipe zero waste, I get the quinoa, sugar, & vinegar during my monthly big bulk bin shopping trip and I get my vegetables from my garden, the farmer’s market, or our CSA subscription.

The leftovers will keep for about a week. I bring them to work and make a meal out of it by putting the quinoa salad on top of some tossed greens, tossing in any other chopped or roasted veggies we have lying around, and then topping everything with my Addictive Nutritional Yeast Salad Dressing. It may sound a little weird, but everything mixed together tastes absolutely amazing.

Here’s how to make it:


1 ½ cups red quinoa (dry)

1 red bell pepper

½ red onion

1 cucumber

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

1 tbs brown sugar

Juice of 1 lime

½ tsp salt


  1. Combine 1 ½ cups red quinoa and 3 cups of water in a pan. Cover and bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a low simmer until all of the water has been absorbed (about 15 minutes). Then remove the quinoa from the heat to cool.

  2. While the quinoa cools, chop your cucumber, red pepper, ½ of a red onion. Then place into the bottom of a mixing bowl (choose one that is large enough to add the quinoa to later on).

  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¼ cup rice wine vinegar, 1 tbs brown sugar, juice of 1 lime, and ½ tsp salt.

  4. Pour the vinegar mixture over the veggies.

  5. Add the quinoa to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. It is best to add the quinoa when it is still a little warm but not too hot because this will help it absorb the other flavors but won’t cook the veggies. Stir everything together so all of the ingredients are evenly distributed.

  6. Cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve. It should be completely cool in about an hour, but you can also make this recipe a day ahead of time for a party or to bring it to a potluck.

  7. Serve and enjoy!

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