Spicy Quinoa Salad with Cilantro and Lime

Mindful of the need to eat more fruits and vegetables each day, I get excited when recipes like this one come along. It checks a lot of boxes. It’s super healthy, loaded with broccoli, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, avocado and sieved hard-boiled eggs as a garnish. It’s quick and easy to put together, even for lunch on a busy day if your quinoa is already cooked. And it’s delicious, aromatic of garlic and cilantro, tangy with lime, and mellowed with olive oil and creamy, salty feta. There is also heat in the form of chilies, should you desire.

Yes, we need to eat more vegetables. A review published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in February found that eating 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day – one serving would be half a cup of cooked or raw vegetables, or one cup of salad greens – could significantly lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and early death. Health Canada recommends most adults eat seven servings or more a day, but according to Statistics Canada and other studies, Canadians are not getting nearly that amount.

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale, are particularly effective in protecting against heart disease, stroke and cancer. So eat on.  This salad, adapted slightly from Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times, is good health in a bowl.

Shulman’s original recipe called for adding soaked (uncooked) split red lentils, but I left them out. I also left out the chile. Steam the broccoli tender-crisp so as not to kill the helpful enzymes it contains, and to keep it bright green; depending on the size of your florets, this could take just a minute or two.

Cooking quinoa is easy. Combine 1 cup (rinsed) quinoa with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spicy Quinoa Salad with Cilantro and Lime
This substantial and nutritious salad, from Martha Rose Shulman in the New York Times, will help power you through the day. All of the ingredients are healthy, from the quinoa on down to the avocado, but it's the cruciferous vegetable broccoli that will also protect against heart disease, stroke and cancer.
  • 2 ½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups broccoli florets (about ⅓ of a crown), steamed a couple of minutes until tender-crisp
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds (to taste)
  • 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons minced serrano or jalapeño chili (to taste)
  • 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese (1/4 cup)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pureed
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  1. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, broccoli, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, minced green chile, feta and freshly ground pepper. Toss together.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup whisk together lime juice, salt, and garlic. Add olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Add to salad and toss together well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. Put hard-boiled eggs through a sieve and sprinkle over salad. Season if desired with salt and pepper. Garnish each serving with a few slices of avocado.
  • Serves: 2 as a main, 4 as a side


4 thoughts on “Spicy Quinoa Salad with Cilantro and Lime

  1. Karen

    This was a great salad, even though I had to seriously modify it. I did not have broccoli, so I used what I had – orange and yellow peppers, roasted. Dill stood in for cilantro. Lemon juice for lime. No chili peppers to be had. And it was still yummy! Loved the contrast between soft avocado and eggs, and the crunchy pumpkin seeds (and presumably, in the original recipe, broccoli). Definitely a cut above your average quinoa salad!


Make a Comment, Review or Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: