Since quinoa is fluffy and delicate, it tends to work best with loose vinaigrettes rather than thick dressings. Here are five approaches to try.
If you dress quinoa with lemon juice, shallots and olive oil, and perhaps with some chopped herbs, you’re set. To tame the bite of lemon juice, add a little honey or cut it with fresh orange juice. Or, if you’re taking your salad in a Latin or Asian direction, use lime juice instead of lemon.
For a deeply savory, Asian-inspired dressing, whisk soy sauce with rice vinegar, grated ginger and scallion. Whisk in a little sesame oil, if desired.
The adobo sauce from canned chipotles is the perfect easy add-in for a quinoa salad that has Mexican or Southwestern ingredients, like corn and black beans. Add some honey or brown sugar to mellow the heat.
For a North African-inspired salad, whisk spices like cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and turmeric into the dressing. For a little heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
For a richer quinoa salad made with lots of sturdy vegetables, you can use pesto as the dressing. It works best if it’s a saucy rather than pasty pesto.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.