Quinoa, parsley and pepper salad


This is a very easy vegan main dish that’s as pretty as a picture. It’s packed with protein from the quinoa, and all kinds of good vitamins and such from the parsley and peppers. It also holds up in the refrigerator for a few days, since the lemon juice, salt and oil help to keep it fresh tasting. I made a fairly large batch and ate it over the course of a week! You can also play with the base and add things like chopped up olives, cooked beans, cheese (vegan or not), flaked canned tuna and so on. It is inspired by a recipe in Saisai Lunch; the original recipe uses okara instead of quinoa, and uses the salad as a topping on a bed of rice. I think my quinoa version, which is designed to be eaten on its own and not as a rice topping, is just as nice if not (dare I say) more so.

Recipe: Quinoa, Parsley and Pepper Salad

You can double, triple or more the recipe very easily. This makes about 4 cups of salad.

  • 1 cup (220ml) dry quinoa (= about 3 cups of cooked quinoa)
  • 2 cups (440ml) water
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 large red or yellow sweet pepper
  • 2 small hot red chili peppers
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1 large bunch parsley (to produce about 1 1/2 cups chopped and loosely packed into your measuring cup)


  • 2 to 3 Tbs. lemon juice (start with 2 and add more to your taste)
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • dash soy sauce
  • salt, pepper

To cook the quinoa: Rinse it briefly under running water, then put into a pot with the 2 cups of water and the vegetable stock cube. Bring to a boil, then put on a lid and lower the heat. Let cook for about 15 minutes until the water is almost all gone. Take off the heat and let rest with the lid on for about 5 minutes. Drain off any excess water (there shouldn’t be much at all) by putting the quinoa in a sieve or colander and shaking. Put into a bowl to cool down.

In the meantime, chop up the sweet peppers; de-seed and chop up the chili pepper. Finely chop the garlic clove. Sauté the vegetables with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt, until the vegetables are limp. Take off the heat.

Chop the parsley up finely.

Combine the dressing ingredients and mix in well with the quinoa. Add the cooked vegetables. Add the parsley (you should add it when the quinoa is not hot any more, to preserve the bright green color) and mix well.

Taste, and add a little more salt, pepper or lemon juice as you see fit.

This keeps well in the refrigerator, well covered.

Nutritional information (approximate)

Per cup (about 210g): 350 calories, 12g fat, 9g protein, 47g carbohydrates, lots of fiber and vitamins A, C, K and more


Parsley is a very nutritious food, with more goodness in it than most green vegetables. Don’t just use it as a garnish - put tons of it into soups, stews, salads and so on.

The vegetable stock cube and the soy sauce add a bit of umami, which perks up the bland flavor of quinoa quite a bit.

If you are a quinoa fan, this quinoa kedgeree is also recommended, though for bento make sure the fish is cooked through.

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I love the texture and taste

I love the texture and taste of quinoa. Your bento lunch looks delicious!


Can I freeze this at all?

Hoping perhaps I can make it ahead of time (Uni term starts soon for me, and I’m trying to look into stuff I can make and just freeze so it’s ready and onhand for putting into lunches)…

Thanks for your time. : )


Sure, you can freeze it in

Sure, you can freeze it in individual portion sizes and then just microwave them in the morning to heat them up (or bring along the frozen packet…though it may not defrost by lunchtime if it’s too cold) The parsley’s color will fade and dull, but I guess that’s the price to pay for convenience!

Great. : ) Thank you, Maki.

Great. : )

Thank you, Maki.


‘Lo I was wondering what I

‘Lo I was wondering what I could use as an alternative to quinoa? (poor student T_T) It looks a bit like cous cous, could I use that?

You could use couscous, but

You could use couscous, but it will be different both flavor and texture-wise, and nutrition-wise too. I know quinoa is not cheap, but the per-serving nutritional value is quite high. If you do use a grain like couscous or even rice, you may want to add more beans to up the protein content in a bento you use it in.

Amanda, Quinoa can be very


Quinoa can be very cheap if you buy it in bulk at health food stores. If you’re in the US, check if there is a Whole Foods near you. They tend to have quinoa in bulk for $2.25/lb or so.

Re: Amanda, Quinoa can be very

Here are two resources for buying quinoa online. The first is one that I have personal experience with. Their products are of a high quality and come prewashed. This is good because it is a pain in the butt to wash it yourself. Think washing rice but it takes 3x as long and the seeds keep falling through the strainer. I just get it prewashed now. The same company makes a quinoa noodle for people with gluten allergies, they taste better and have a better texture than wheat noodles. They are also good If you are watching your carbohydrate intake, there is a high protein:carbohydrate ratio.




I just tried this quinoa salad recipe (good for me since I am in Ecuador and they produce quinoa… it’s quite cheap) and it was delicious. In fact, I am eating it right now.

Again, so glad I found your blog. I am going to try a new recipe each day!


This dish is delicious! I made it for my lunch today and am eating it now. I feel so healthy… :-)

Any other alternatives?

Dear Maki,

I’m dying to try out this recipe for (besides me) my mum as she’s getting rather health conscious lately and this would be perfect for her. Unfortunately I can’t find any quinoa in Malaysia at all. I read in the other comments that rice could be used as well but I’d prefer to avoid high carbo. Could you pls recomend something else to replace the quinoa? Thank you.

This is basically a grain

This is basically a grain salad (though quinoa is technically a seed), so it is not going to be low-carb in any case. You can try brown rice, which has a relatively low glycemic index, or any whole grain (I don’t know what is commonly available in Malaysia I’m afraid, never been there!)

Re: Quinoa, parsley and pepper salad

The rice cooker got a short break yesterday. A very delicious again, definitely a new favourite.

where to find Quinoa grain in malaysia

I wonder which stores in malaysia that i can find quinoa grain and i live in klang, i doubt whether tesco klang will have it or not?

pls advice...

Re: where to find Quinoa grain in malaysia

You can find it in Cold Storage, in the Organics area. I found one in Ikano.

Re: where to find Quinoa grain in malaysia

i found quinoa today at Carrefour at Bangsar South in the imported products section.

Re: Quinoa, parsley and pepper salad

This is the post that got me interested enough in quinoa to buy some.
I'm so glad you encouraged me to become familiar with it.
I wanted to report that my baby really enjoys quinoa, and it's great to be able to prepare a rice alternative that doesn't bung her up.
As well as initially rinsing quinoa (and, yes, it is a pain!) I follow the package's suggestion of lightly dry roasting it in a pan. Then I add one measure of quinoa to just, just under 2 measures water and cook it in the rice cooker using the 'Quick' white rice setting. This is a little more water than I might choose for myself, but it's important that the seeds are well softened for a toothless child. The quinoa comes out beautifully this way and I can stop thinking about it whilst it cooks. I season the cooked quinoa with garlic infused olive oil and a little lemon juice - it's a real hit when mixed with mashed avocado or other 'wet' foods.

Re: Quinoa, parsley and pepper salad

you make quinoa in a pot? i always use the rice cooker--but then, i'll use the rice cooker for any reason.

Re: Quinoa, parsley and pepper salad

Thanks for the lovely recipe! I've just tried the recipe and added some feta cheese as I had some in the fridge. Tastes great both with and without the feta :)

Re: Quinoa, parsley and pepper salad

I just made this recipe today. It was amazing. I was tempted to eat the entire thing before I could put it into my bento. Fortunately I was able to save most of it for the bento, and I'm really looking forward to lunch tomorrow.

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