Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad

This tasty Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad is super healthy, full of flavor, and ready in just 15 minutes!

Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad

I know what you’re thinking.

CRANBERRYCILANTROWHAAAAAA!?

I mean, that’s what I originally thought about the pairing. Yet here I sit with a giant bowl full of cranberry cilantro quinoa-y goodness, loving every bite.

The first thought I had was to tear through my dogeared, spaghetti-sauce splattered copy of The Flavor Bible and search for a connection between the two. Sadly there was none, but if orange juice and fig were suggested pairings for this gorgeous green herb, then gosh darn it, I’m going there!

spoiler alert: I went there and it’s AWESOME!

Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad

As a bonus this deliciously healthy salad is ready in 15 minutes.

It’s also make-ahead friendly, portable vegan, gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, and basically ALLTHETHINGS!

Well played, salad. Well played!

Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad
4.67 from 3 votes
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Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad

This tasty Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad is super healthy, full of flavor, and ready in just 15 minutes!

Course Salad
Cuisine Vegetarian
Keyword Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 199 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin - Peas and Crayons

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1.5 cups water or veggie broth
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3-4 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1.5 tsp curry powder or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped green or red onion
  • 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup grated/shredded carrots
  • 2-4 TBSP pepitas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for drizzling as desired
  • 1 additional lime sliced into wedges to garnish

Instructions

  1. First rinse and drain your quinoa using a mesh strainer or sieve
  2. Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat and lightly toast the quinoa to remove any excess water. Stir as it toasts for just a few minutes. This step is optional but really adds to the nuttiness and fluff factor of the quinoa!
  3. Next add your water or broth, set burner to high, and bring to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for 12-13 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy and the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. While the quinoa cooks, chop and prep the remaining ingredients.
  6. Combine freshly cooked quinoa with lime juice, curry powder, cumin, peppers, onion, almonds, pepitas, and carrots. Season to taste and stir to combine.
  7. For best results, chill salad before serving, to allow the flavors to mingle even further!
  8. Salad can be made in advance and keeps up to 4 days. Serve with fresh lime wedges for an extra burst of citrus!

Recipe Notes

I originally thought I was out of carrots (the horror!) so the photo doesn't have any orange beauties peeking out from the quinoa. Luckily I found a bag hiding under the lettuce (huzzah!!!) and was able to add them in. I couldn't imagine the salad without them, the flavor really shines through and pairs so well with the rest of the ingredients! I'm in love!

The salad is on the drier side (ideal for fluffy quinoa-based salads) but feel free to add extra lime juice and olive oil as desired! You can even serve this dish as a base for your favorite baked or grilled protein. Chicken, tofu, or fish are all fantastic with a little quinoa salad action!

Craving a kick? try it with a drizzle or two of Sriracha! It's AMAZING!

Nutrition facts below are an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed.

Nutrition Facts
Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 199 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Sodium 14mg 1%
Potassium 308mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 30g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 7g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 44.5%
Vitamin C 20.9%
Calcium 4%
Iron 12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cranberry Cilantro Quinoa Salad

so. . . how was it?!

Delicious! One of my absolute favorite things about this recipe is that it can be made using ingredients I almost always have on hand. The recipe combines a few of our go-to veggies with pantry staples and goodies from my mini herb garden. How easy is that!? I have a feeling this healthy side dish will be making quite a few repeat appearances around here!

Though you can certainly enjoy it at room temperature, I’m obsessed with eating this one chilled! I actually tapped into the leftovers and may or may not be shoveling them into my face while I type up this post.

Did I mention it’s fabulous topped with Sriracha? SOOOOO GOOD!

This sassy side pairs great with baked/grilled chicken, salmon, or pan-fried tofu!

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Comments

  • Sophie

    Was borderline worried half way making this as i was putting the combination of ingredients in but it turned out SOOO GOOD! Definitely a staple salad now! Thank you!!
    P.s. loved the tip about toasting the quinoa before cooking it. Made it much nicer.

  • Jordyn Connelly

    Simply Delicious!!!!! The flavours compliment each other so well! This dish is so light tasting, but it is filling when you need to grab a quick snack. I added a tad bit more cilantro (because i can never get enough) and I added the smallest pinch of ground cayenne pepper which gave it a nice little kick! My whole family enjoyed this dish, and we will continue making this! It was my first attempt at making a homemade quinoa salad (I usually get the really delicious Costco one), and I must say, I don’t think I’ll go back to store-bought! I’m a changed woman! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • Denise Hrehoruk

    I just love the colors and freshness of this Quinoa Salad1

  • Bridget

    I was so excited about this recipe! So many things I love: Cilantro, cumin, lime, cranberries, quinoa! Yum! As a Texas girl, I am familiar with these ingredients and I knew curry powder didn’t fit. I reluctantly tried it and still have the same conclusion. I will make it again without the curry, though! The other ingredients together are brilliant! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Hey Bridget – thanks so much for the feedback and the super sweet comment! I feel you on the curry powder, a few years ago I would have said the exact same thing. I’ve fallen crazy in love with it recently and love what it can do to a recipe’s flavor profile and I agree, it’s still fantastic without and more of a fresh-mex flair minus the curry. Hope you continue to make it! <3

  • Anything that takes 15 minutes or less to prepare is on my list of must-try recipes. Plus, our family loves quinoa and almonds.

  • So colorful! This is the epitome of feel good eats.

  • What a great winter salad with the cranberries! I love quinoa! This looks fantastic!

  • What a beautiful and healthy combination of ingredients!

  • Love the bright colors here. I bet it’s just as flavorful!

  • Sounds like a great combination of flavors to me!!

  • Cranberries and cilantro sound like an AWESOME combination.

  • You know sometimes the craziest sounding ingredients can make for an incredible dish! This looks so pretty and I bet it tastes wonderful!

    • Jenn

      Thanks Malinda! It’s soooooo good!

  • Heck yea that’s awesome! Christmas Mexican fusion!

    • Jenn

      It’s the craziest mix of ingredients but SOOOOOO good! <3

    • Jenn

      Haha totally!

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