Quinoa, Pear, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad

If you're in need of a healthy, easy to make, and satisfying salad then look no further. Pulling lunch together will only take moments if you have leftover quinoa in the fridge.   You can experiment with seasonal ingredients and add your favourite vegetables such as cooked cauliflower, kale or squash.

Quinoa has been around for centuries and was cultivated in the South American Andes as early as 3,000 B.C. It was referred to as the mother grain by the ancient Incas, who each year would plant the first quinoa seed with a gold shovel, reveling in its sacredness.

Characteristically, quinoa comes in different colours and varieties, from ivory to pink, brown to red and jet black.  When cooking quinoa you’ll notice that the outer casing will twist around and form a tiny ivory spirally tail, this is what gives it a distinct crunch.  Before cooking it’s a good idea to rinse the seeds in a sieve, swishing them under cold water to remove the bitter coating which surrounds the seed.  To give quinoa a toasted flavour, you can dry roast it in a pan before use, roasting for five minutes until the seeds start to change colour.

When cooked, quinoa has a light and fluffy consistency with a gorgeous nutty flavour which enhances any dish.  It has high levels of amino acids and protein and is a good source of iron, calcium and potassium, food values no grain can rival.  Quinoa provides your body with copper, zinc, magnesium, and folate, vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin.   The riboflavin present in quinoa reduces the frequency of migraine attacks by relaxing the blood vessels, reducing constriction and easing tension.

Because of its versatility, you can use quinoa in casseroles, soups, stir fries and salads and it can be substituted for rice or grains in most dishes. If you're looking for a savoury dinner idea why not try this delicious Quinoa with Winter Squash and Yellow Pepper recipe or Vegetable Curry.  Quinoa is readily available in health food stores and supermarkets. Cooked quinoa will keep for up to 5 days, tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Cooking for two means you can save the leftovers for tomorrow as this salad is not of the wilting variety retaining its flavour to taste even more yummy the next day.

Serve it chilled or warmed up just by heating ingredients in a saucepan before serving.

Serves 4


  • 1 cup quinoa pre-cooked
  • 1/2 tsp. of sea salt
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 large zucchini sliced
  • 1 pear sliced finely
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped


  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tsp. sea salt


  • Place cooked quinoa in serving bowl
  • Add zucchini, pear, onion and basil to quinoa
  • To make dressing combine garlic, lemon juice, oil, and sea salt
  • Fold dressing into quinoa salad and toss making sure it’s thoroughly coated
  • Serve and enjoy

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4 Responses to “Quinoa, Pear, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad”

  1. Ele McIntyre says:

    Hi Lee, hubby and I just had this for lunch with some chicken cooked with onion garlic miso and tamari. Was perfect thanks! Ele x

  2. […] – I tried something new today. It’s called Quinoa, Pear, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad.   I had half of it for lunch today.  It’s also what you see in the picture.   It was […]

  3. I posted your recipe today on my Thursday Blog. Every Thursday I talk about my day of healthy eating. http://healthylifestyleideas.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/im-having-a-healthy-day-what-about-you-5/

  4. […] Quinoa, Pear, Zucchini and Red Onion Salad […]

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