5 Ways to Dress Quinoa Salad

For dressing delicate quinoa, choose light and bright over thick and creamy.


Since quinoa is fluffy and delicate, it tends to work best with loose vinaigrettes rather than thick dressings. Here are five approaches to try.

  1. Citrusy
    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.
  2. Soy-ginger
    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.
  3. Smoky-spicy
    The adobo sauce from canned chipotles is an easy add-in for a quinoa salad that has Mexican or Southwestern ingredients, like corn and black beans. Add some agave or brown sugar to mellow the heat.
  4. Warm-spiced
    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.
  5. Pesto
    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.
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