Cilantro-Lime Quinoa – “100 Days of Real Food” Recipe

This recipe is quickly becoming one of our favorites for outdoor cookouts, potluck gatherings, and overnight camping trips. It can easily be made in advance, tastes great leftover, and is sure to please any crowd. A little over a year ago we would have been adding a bag of chips or pasta salad (made from white flour) to our cookouts, but now that we’re on the “real food” bandwagon we go for this whole-grain option instead. If you’re also interested in cutting out processed food and refined ingredients then check out our family’s “100 Days of Real Food” story as well as our list of favorite recipes and meal ideas.

(pronounced keen-wah)

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Lime-Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking
Yield: 6 – 8 servings



  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)
  • ¾ cup dried fruit – we used a mix of raisins, golden raisins, chopped dried apricots, and dried currants
  • ¼ pine nuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper of any color, diced


  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of salt


  • Mix all salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  • In a separate, smaller bowl whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly.
  • Can be stored in airtight container in the fridge.

Lisa Leake is a wife, mother, foodie, and blogger who chronicles her family’s journey on as they seek out the real food in our processed food world. Projects include a 100-day pledge to avoid all processed foods and refined ingredients, another 100-day pledge on a food stamp budget, and 100 days of real food “mini-pledges” where readers are challenged to cut out processed food one week at a time. Leake’s award-winning blog is receiving national attention from big names like Rachael Ray and Jamie Oliver and was recently turned into a nationally syndicated newspaper column.

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  1. Dana says

    I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious!! I used red quinoa, and I added diced chicken poached in butter and wine, as well as a tomato. But I have to say, it cost me more than $5. The quinoa alone was $3, the pine nuts another $3. I’d say all in all it was $10-$12 but it served my husband and I for two meals, so still a good deal.

    We’ll be adding it to the regular rotation, so thanks for that!

  2. Dawn says

    Made this tonight… it was YUMMY – thank you! Hubby wasn’t too sure about it, but said it tasted good. :) I wasn’t sure if it should be served warm or cold, but I thought the flavor would be better cold. I did add some green onion and substituted almond for the pine nuts and used crasins for the dried fruit since those are the items I always have on hand for chicken salad sandwiches.
    @Dana – you really don’t necessarily need a protein as Quinoa, although a starch is high in protein.
    Can’t wait to make this for my parents as they will be all over it.


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