Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds

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People often have a misconstrued notion of a what a salad can be. To unlock a salad’s full potential, you have to think outside the box and get creative. You won’t need leafy greens for this salad, but you will need a series of vegetables and some quinoa. One could argue that this is more of a Buddha bowl than a salad, but you do serve it cold. For that reason, it is a quinoa salad, not a salad where quinoa is simply an extra topping.

This is truly a one pot recipe, aside from the fact that you have to toast the almonds in the oven for about 7 minutes. To set up flavor for the quinoa, you’ll sauté the bell pepper, garlic scallions, and red pepper flakes. Once you brown those ingredients and they are fragrant, stir in the quinoa, cover, and simmer. At the halfway point of the quinoa’s cooking process, you will add the zucchini. This step is integral because that’s how you avoid mushy zucchini.

After cooking, allow the quinoa mixture to cool before spooning into containers. You’ll refrigerate the salad overnight to cool properly. Serve the next day with optional garnishes.

Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds
  • Prep Time:15m
  • Cook Time:25m
  • Total Time:40m


  • 1/4 c slivered almonds
  • 1/2 c (3 ounces) quinoa
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds discarded, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp. red-pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1 lime, halved


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds until crisp, lightly browned, and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear; drain well.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add yellow pepper, garlic, scallions, and red-pepper flakes; cook until the pepper is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in quinoa, thyme, 3/4 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 7 minutes. Stir in zucchini, cover, and cook until quinoa is tender but not mushy, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Remove the saucepan from heat. (Drain excess water if needed)
  4. Stir in celery, almonds, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil, season with salt, and fluff with a fork. Cool to room temperature before packing into two containers and refrigerating. When ready to eat, squeeze lime over salad, if desired. Serve with additional lime wedge and thyme, if desired.


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