Thai Quinoa Salad

I am happiest when I get to cook for my family and friends.  Nothing makes me happier than thinking up a meal that they will love and enjoy and then preparing it for them!  Moving to Ontario, I’ve had the opportunity to make some great new friends and for that I am very grateful.

One of my girlfriends came over recently and I made this salad with her in mind.  I was searching for a recipe with quinoa and stumbled upon a Cate’s World Kitchen recipe!  I used her recipe as my inspiration but added my own touch with the vegetable mixture, changing the dressing and omitting and substituting several items.  I served the salad with a piece of grilled mahi mahi on top and it was a delicious meal that disappeared quite quickly!

Quinoa is a super food and I don’t cook with it nearly as much as I should!  It is a delicious and filling item to add to your daily salad or as a side dish to your main meal!  When you have flavours like this one in the mix, it is irresistable!

So, cheers to good friends – new and old!

Thai Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Yield:  About 10 cups of salad (Serving size is 2 – 3 cups per person)
Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or substitute with chicken broth for enhanced flavour)
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass (bottom 3″ only), finely chopped
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 small red Thai chiles, finely chopped (optional or remove inner seeds for less heat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • large handful cilantro, chopped
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped (use Thai basil if you can find it)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened light coconut milk


Wash and prepare all of your ingredients.  Place cilantro, basil, green onions, yellow pepper, red pepper, orange pepper, green pepper and cucumber in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, add your quinoa.  Over medium heat, toast the quinoa for a few minutes, until you hear it begin to crackle.  Add 2 cups of water, lemongrass, kaffir leaves, red chiles, garlic and salt.

Increase the heat to high and bring the quinoa mixture to a rapid boil.  Once it’s reached a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer.  Allow mixture to cook for 12 – 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

When the quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Then, remove lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

Spread quinoa mixture into a large bowl (or platter) and allow to cool at room temperature. (Note – I avoid putting it in the fridge to cool as I find it clumps when you cool it down rapidly.  I will however, place it outside for 20 minutes or so to speed up the cooling process!)

Once quinoa is cooled, add the quinoa to your vegetable and herb mixture.  Stir well with a fork.  Add the lime juice and coconut milk and stir well again.

Serve immediately or place in fridge until ready!


Adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen.



Filed under Healthy, Mains, Salads, Side Dishes, Thai, Vegetarian and Vegan

3 responses to “Thai Quinoa Salad

  1. Looks really flavorful, fresh, pretty and tasty.

  2. Lindsay

    Mmm this looks super good Jill! I have never cooked with lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves, but I am definitely going to save this recipe and try it one day in the near future. I usually just resort to Thai condiments/chilli paste from a jar and don’t add all the real fancy Thai stuff, but I’m sure this would be so much better.

  3. Just made this. For the second time. I don’t have easy access to kaffir lime leaves and eve n Thai red chillies are not easy to find. So I simply use grated lime zest for the kaffir and I use a Serrano chillie in place of the Thai red. First time I made it I removed all seeds from the chillie, but this time I left a lot in, and it made a very yummy difference. Finally, my house doe snt much care for cilantro, so I used parsley instead (which I do in most recipes that call for cilantro), s o I basically changed a lot, but it’s totally awesome. My restaurant friends were very impressed nd they know food! Don’t be afraid of this recipe, go with it, it’s yummy and super healthy. (low fat coconut milk works well making it even healthy r )

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