Thai Quinoa Salad with Fresh Herbs and Lime Vinaigrette

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This flavorful Thai quinoa salad is a healthy eater’s dream!

This vibrant and fresh Thai Quinoa Salad is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Raising the Salad Bar by Catherine Walthers. It’s a healthy eater’s dream: flavorful, chock-full of protein and veggies, satisfying, and low in fat. I usually make it as a light lunch, but you can also serve it alongside other Asian dishes for dinner — or make it a meal in itself by adding cooked shrimp, crab or lobster.

What you’ll need to make Thai Quinoa Salad

ingredients

How to make Thai Quinoa Salad

The ingredients are pretty straightforward. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has become mainstream in the past few years and is available at most large supermarkets. It’s a high protein seed that has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. It looks like couscous and is eaten like a grain, but it’s actually a cousin of spinach, Swiss chard, and other leafy greens.

fish-sauce

Fish sauce is also fairly easy to find. Most large supermarkets carry it in the Asian section and you can always find it at Whole Foods or Asian markets. It’s a dark, pungent liquid used in Southeast Asian cooking. Contrary to what you might expect, it doesn’t add a “fishy” taste to foods at all, but rather a salty, savory flavor. If possible, buy a brand imported from Thailand or Vietnam. And don’t worry about buying a large bottle — it keeps forever.

preparing-quinoa

Begin by cooking the quinoa. The key to success is not following the package instructions, which always call for too much liquid and result in mushy quinoa. The ideal ratio is 1 cup of quinoa to 1-2/3 cups of liquid. Simply combine the water, salt and quinoa is a pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until the quinoa is done, about 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the little white “tails” sprout from the grains.

cooked-quinoa

While the quinoa cooks, prepare the vegetables.

For the cucumbers, I like to use English (or hothouse) cucumbers because the skin is edible and you don’t need to peel them. They’re sometimes called seedless cucumbers but you still need to seed them, otherwise, they’ll make your salad watery.

seeding-cucumbers

Slice the red pepper into bite-sized pieces, thinly slice the scallions and shred the carrot.

veggies

Next, make the dressing by combining the fresh lime juice (no bottled stuff!), sugar, vegetable oil, red pepper flakes and fish sauce in a small bowl. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

dressing

Combine the quinoa with the dressing, vegetables and fresh herbs.

mixing

Toss, serve and enjoy!

thai-quinoa-salad-1You may also like

Thai Quinoa Salad with Fresh Herbs and Lime Vinaigrette

This flavorful Thai quinoa salad is a healthy eater’s dream!

Servings: 2 as main course, 4 as side salad
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (or pre-washed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized strips
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint or basil (optional)

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from 3-4 limes
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less if you don't like heat)

Instructions

  1. Add quinoa, salt and 1-2/3 cups water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. You'll know it is done when the little "tails" sprout from the grains. (If necessary add 1-2 tablespoons more water if the quinoa is not cooked by the time all the liquid is absorbed.) Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool in the refrigerator.
  2. In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the lime juice, fish sauce, vegetable oil, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Once the quinoa is cool, add the red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, scallions, fresh herbs and dressing. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, sugar and lime juice if necessary (I usually add a bit more of all). Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This salad keeps well for several days in the fridge.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 263
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Sugar: 10g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Sodium: 603mg
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Great! Replaced the fish sauce with soy sauce and it was delicious

    • — Tobey on October 18, 2019
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  • Loved this salad. The mint and fish sauce really added to the overall flavour of this salad. Would definitely make again.

    • — June on September 24, 2019
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  • Beautiful refreshing salad, and an excellent way to use extra cucumbers from the garden. Using both basil and mint leaves is warmly recommended.
    I also made it with udon noodles (realized too late that I have no quinoa, replaced it with udon noodles). The salad was initially too sour, so I added 1 cup of chopped unsalted peanuts – perfect!

    • — Sylva on September 4, 2019
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  • Another great recipe! Keeping this on rotation, thanks so much!

    • — Colleen on August 22, 2019
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  • I Just made this salad! It is absolutely delicious 😍.

    Thank you so much for putting the recipe up.

    I have so many more of your recipes saved to my homescreen to try.

    • — Jenny on August 14, 2019
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  • Would it be good to add avocado to this recipe?

    • — Brenda Elander on July 18, 2019
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    • Sounds like a delicious addition!

      • — Jenn on July 19, 2019
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    • Can I use tomatoes in this recipe?

      • — Marie on September 22, 2019
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      • Sure, Marie, tomatoes will work here. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on September 22, 2019
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  • Made this salad in double the quantity for the family and everyone loved it, said it was a game-changer, amazing… The only change I made was I used Sesame Oil instead of vegetable oil and liked it that way and added more of the dressing ingredients. Thank you for the lovely recipe!

    • — Sunita Mathur on June 27, 2019
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  • Hello Jenn,
    I would like to make this for a dinner party. Due to allergies, I can’t use cilantro. Can I only use mint?

    • — Joanne on June 21, 2019
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    • Sure, Joanne – that’ll work. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2019
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  • This is the best quinoa salad I’ve tasted! It makes a perfect light lunch. I was able to find the Red Boat fish sauce at Whole Foods and it seemed to make a big difference. Thank you for all of your amazing recipes. The cookbook is beautiful too! Your recipes never fail to make a great impression.

    • — Linda on April 26, 2019
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    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on April 26, 2019
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  • I love this dish! I followed the recipe as written and was very pleased. It’s light and delicious! I might add some shredded chicken next time I make it, but it’s great without it.

    • — Jana Carlton on April 11, 2019
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  • Wow this is spectacular! I used half olive oil and half vegetable oil and a little more lime juice than called for . As well as adding a can of chick peas as another reader suggested. Wish I could find Thai basil to try in it as well. Overall, another keeper!

    • — Kim K on April 7, 2019
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    • How long before you serve salad can you add the dressing to the ingredients?

      • — Sharon megaffin on June 11, 2019
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      • Hi Sharon, No need to wait to add the dressing if you’re not serving the salad right away. You can combine the dressing with the other ingredients and refrigerate for up to a few days. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on June 12, 2019
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  • Hi there, I can’t wait to try this. One question, 2 tb of sugar seems like a lot for a dressing, more than the actual oil. Have you tried cutting back or does it change the balance on acids etc?

    • — Louise on April 3, 2019
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    • Hi Louise, I think the sugar helps to balance out the other flavors in the dressing, but some readers have commented that they’ve cut back on the sugar and have been happy with the results. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 3, 2019
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  • By far our favourite quinoa salad recipe!!!! The cilantro is a must, and when I have it I also add Thai basil.

    • — JutkaM on March 24, 2019
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  • Delicious!

    • — Donna on March 7, 2019
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  • Hi. I would like to add chickpeas to add more protein. I would like the chickpeas to be thai infused before adding them to the salad. Is there any thai marinade you would suggest please?

    • — Lesley on February 22, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lesley, you could just toss the chickpeas with a Little bit of the dressing before adding them to the salad. Or, you could sprinkle them with a touch of dried seasonings such as garlic, coriander, and/or turmeric. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 25, 2019
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  • Amazing salad and it held up beautifully for lunches this past week. I only needed one lime for 1/4 juice, so I have limes leftover to make another batch! Used both mint and basil, but have cilantro for the next round. For fish sauce, I like Red Boat. The salad IS NOT fishy!! This is a 5 star recipe, but for some reason the system won’t let me rate it.

    • — May on January 12, 2019
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  • I have not been a fan of quinoa but made this salad yesterday as a request for a gluten free salad. I followed the recipe except for the cilantro as I don’t like the taste. I couldn’t decide whether to use basil or mint so used them both.
    It was delicious. I only used half the dressing so plan on making another batch today. This recipe is a keeper! Thanks for sharing.

    • — Judy on November 8, 2018
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  • Best, most flavorful quinoa recipe I’ve made (and I’ve tried plenty)! The Thai flavors are spot on. Thank you…followed recipe exactly and it was perfect.

    • — Jamie on October 7, 2018
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  • Love this recipe. Don’t skip out on the fish sauce it makes this dish. The combo of the lime, sugar and fish sauce is perfect. I always make extra of this so i can take it for lunch the next day. While I’ve made it with both mint & cilantro i really prefer the mint!! This recipe made my husband a convert to quinoa.

    • — Brenda Johnson on October 5, 2018
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  • Delicious! I reduced the fish sauce to one teaspoon due to my husband’s preference and it still tasted “Thai” enough. Makes a huge amount.

    • — rzh on September 3, 2018
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  • Fantastic recipe- you can vary the veggie ingredients a little and still great- I had no lime but used lemon instead. Still delicious!

    • — Kim Bova on July 24, 2018
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  • Is there a substitute for the fish sauce in the dressing or does that make it yummy? Can’t wait to make this salad with all the wonderful reviews. Thanks!!

    • — colleen on July 22, 2018
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    • Hi Coleen, the fish sauce adds a wonderfully authentic Thai flavor to the salad so I would recommend it. You can use soy sauce instead — the salad will still be good, but it will lack that traditional Thai flavor. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 24, 2018
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  • Thanks again for this great recipe!! It’s been requested that I bring it to another summer party. It’s always a huge hit!!

    • — Teresa on July 3, 2018
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  • Hi Jenn-Is there a vegetarian substitute for the fish sauce?

    • — Paula on June 16, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Paula, you can use soy sauce instead. The salad will still be good, but it will lack that traditional Thai flavor.

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2018
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    • Have you ever tried FUSH sauce? It’s a vegan alternative. Available on Amazon and expensive, but you only use a little bit at a time.
      Loved this recipe, but added a bit of chopped jalapeno to suit my taste…

      • — Lisa O on July 17, 2019
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  • Delicious dish!!! I added some crushed up peanuts which tied in perfectly with the dressing.

    • — Irene on June 13, 2018
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  • Hello Jenn…I want to make this salad this weekend and can’t decide if I want to use basil or mint since I love them both. Have you ever tried using both? Which do you prefer if using only one? Thanks…..am enjoying your recipes immensely.

    • — Judy on May 23, 2018
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    • Hi Judy, that’s a tough call as I really don’t think you could go wrong! If I had to choose, maybe I’d suggest mint. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 23, 2018
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      • I made recipe yesterday using both basil and mint…..it was sooooo good. Could have eaten whole thing myself!

        • — Jordan on June 4, 2018
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    • Made this recipe yesterday and added both basil and mint … soooooo good. I didnt want to share with anyone.

      • — Janice on June 4, 2018
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  • This recipe was absolutely delicious! I just made it for our annual Mother’s Day bbq and everyone loved it. I used mint but I’m sure it would be delicious with basil as well. Also I used extra virgin olive oil in the dressing but that is the only change I made. I love that you can make a filling meal out of this salad without feeling weighed down. Thank you for sharing this delightful recipe!

    • — Colleen on May 13, 2018
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  • Would it make a huge difference if I used safflower oil or olive oil instead of vegetable oil?

    • — Danielle on May 12, 2018
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    • Hi Danielle, I think this is best with vegetable oil because it’s so mild tasting, but several readers have used olive oil successfully so you could go that route. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 12, 2018
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  • Delightful and refreshing salad is my new go to weekly staple. Fresh, flavorful and easy to make. Double some of the ingredients to make a different quinoa salad for some variety!

    • — JshuDar on May 9, 2018
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  • Yum! This is the first time, ever, that quinoa actually turned out for me! Usually, I purchase a limited quantity of quinoa at the Bulk Barn because I don’t want to “commit”. But I took a leap of faith and went all in! Yay, me! I served this salad alongside your salmon recipe here https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/baked-salmon-honey-mustard-pecan-crust.html. Wow!!! This salad recipe is such a nice change to the usual.

    • — Nicole on May 8, 2018
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  • So good. The brand of fish sauce makes ALL the difference. Haven’t gone wrong with any of your suggestions- ate the heck out of this last night!

    • — Karin L on April 24, 2018
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  • This dish is delicious! I love to cook and I slightly altered this recipe. I cooked the quinoa in vegetable broth, added daikon radish and mangos, subtituded macadamia nut oil instead of vegetable oil and used smoked Thai chili paste instead of pepper flakes to the dressing. YUM!

    • — Donna on March 31, 2018
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  • We have yet to make anything from Once Upon a Chef that disappoints. This recipe has become one of our staples. It’s easy, healthy, adaptable, can be made in advance & keeps well for a fast go-to lunch. I’ve used zucchini instead of cucumber, added snow peas and cherry tomatoes. The dressing has that perfect blend of salty, spicy, sweet & sour. Enjoy!

    • — Leslie on March 1, 2018
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  • We love this salad for lunch or dinner when I add chicken or shrimp. It jazzes up quinoa and is particularly great on a hot summer day. It’s one of those salads that is still delicious for a couple of days or can be made ahead.

    • — Janice on March 1, 2018
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  • This quinoa salad is the BOMB! Very easy to assemble with all ingredients already on hand. Fresh and satisfying taste, but different enough that guests will think you went to far more trouble than you did.
    Thanks, Jenn, for a great recipe that will be used often, very Florida friendly year-round!

    • — Jean Kasten on February 1, 2018
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  • At my house, we love this salad.
    I did added red onion, just because we love onion!🤗, and I also added some chapped garlic, it came out great.

    • — Rosanna Borbon on December 14, 2017
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  • This salad has been a regular in my weekly meal prep. I love having it in the fridge for a light and healthy lunch. It is the prefect combination of flavors and textures!

    • — Meghan on December 1, 2017
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  • The dressing is a delicious complement to the vegetables. So fresh!

    • — Kathy on November 30, 2017
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  • This salad is delicious. Great for lunch. I made just as written. Loved the detailed instructions. Your recipes are my go to recipes and always turn out fantastic.

  • Loved this fresh soft, crunchy, mildly sweet salad that gets tastier with time in the fridge. Just substituted 1 Tbsp agave for the sugar.

    • — ML on November 30, 2017
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  • Hi. Love your recipes! I want to make the Thai Quinoa Salad but don’t want to have to go out to buy the “fish sauce.” Will it work without this?

    • Hi Sheryl, Unfortunately, the fish sauce really makes the recipe. The good news is that you can buy a small bottle and it keeps forever.

  • I love this simple but yummy salad! I paired it with a (less healthy) slice of take-out pizza, and it was a nice complement, and probably led to less pizza-eating…which is never a bad thing. 🙂

    Thanks for yet another lovely recipe, Jennifer!

  • This is one of my fave salad now! I can eat it every day as a side or as a main course. Delicious!

  • This was so good my picky hubby even gobbled it down! Will make again!

  • Every recipe I have tried has turned out to be a first-rate winner. This salad is no exception. The blend of textures and flavors even satisfied my meat and potatoes husband. It’s rather addictive so I wouldn’t change a thing. I especially like the detailed instructions, tips and photos. This is my go-to website.

    • — Laurice Mortenson
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  • Absolutely fantastic recipe! I added fresh diced pineapple and was delicious! THANK YOU!

  • My go-to healthy lunch salad! Husband raves about it, too! Yum!

  • Great Salad. I put my fresh garden vegetables and herbs in it. So Fresh! Also made this in July to feed a large crowd and it was well received.

    • — Susan Campbell
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  • Thank you for making a GREAT salad without the typical variations on vinegrette! The dressing is absolutely YUM. Citrusy and light.

  • Would this recipe complement or clash with a potato salad that includes tarragon? I’m serving whole lobsters and am looking for an additional side dish. I am already planning on making your corn and basil salad as well. I love your do ahead recipes – makes planning parties so much more fun.

  • Oh. My. Goodness. This salad is simply superb! It’s fresh, bright, crunchy, and healthy! To anyone skeptical of fish sauce, please find Red Boat Fish Sauce in your grocery store or on Amazon. I hate, absolutely hate, even the suggestion of a fishy taste, but Red Boat brings something to this dressing (and therefore the entire salad) that is subtle, delicious and very Thai. Jenn, I’ve been cooking for 50+ years. I feel like I can always count on your recipes to be laid out well and delicious. Thank You!

    • Geni, thanks for the referral on the fish sauce,LOL. You read my mind. This sounds so delish and then I saw fish (“fishy”) sauce. I will have to try this recipe now. Thank you Jenn!

  • What could I use instead of fish sauce?

    • Hi Judy, you can use soy sauce instead. The salad will still be good, but it will lack that traditional Thai flavor.

  • Question-does fish sauce smell and taste like fish? I’ve been afraid of trying it since I don’t like seafood or the smell. I’m assuming it does since it’s FISH sauce :o)

    • Hi Carmen, On its own, it does smell and taste a bit like fish, but coupled with all the other ingredients it won’t taste fishy at all– it just adds a savory, salty flavor to things. Hope you enjoy!

  • Salad is delicious. I have a seafood allergy, but found vegan “fish” sauce on Amazon, made from seaweed. It may be an option for others with a similar condition.

  • Delicious! Light, satisfying, great for those hot days when you need to eat but don’t want to heat up the kitchen or fuss much. We had a simple supper of this with some pork loin from the grill and it was terrific.

  • In the dressing – I didn’t have fish sauce (don’t really like it) but I added a hefty splash of orange juice, white wine vinegar, and (as always) swapped out cold-press flax seed oil for the vegetable oil and used honey instead of sugar. Finally, I have a little jar of Chat Masala spices from the local Savory Spice shop in Charlotte, NC – that made it all SO wonderful! Thanks!

  • Hubby has hard time digesting cucumber so I substituted zucchini and sub’d honey for sugar. Loved the addition of shrimp. Great, delicious, and healthy meal!
    PS… use recipes from your blog often !

    • Hi Kathryn,
      I’m not a cucumber fan myself. Did you cook the zucchini first? Thanks for your help.
      Stacy

  • This salad is delicious! I wanted to try it and found that I had most things on hand. I subbbed an orange pepper for the red, and juiced a lemon when I ran out of limes before I reached the quarter cup mark. The basil and mint add a very refreshing finish. Served with Asian grilled salmon. Your blog is my go to site when searching for a delish recipe that looks pretty on the plate. I’ve never been disappointed. Thanks!

  • Have you been peeking in my ‘frig?
    How did you know I have a container of cooked quinoa and all the other ingredients sitting in the vegetable drawer. This is on the menu for tonight! No rating yet because I haven’t made it. But if past experience with your recipes is any guide, I’m sure I will give 5 stars.

  • Hello, Jenn!
    Could I make this salad with bulger rather than quinoa? I don’t have it on hand. Thank you. 🙂

    • — Valerie Bianchi
    • Reply
  • I make a large salad or entree every Monday to take to work through the week. Usually by Wednesday I am so sick of what I’ve made it goes to waste.
    Not this one! I was scraping the sides of my Tupperware.
    Made as written and going into heavy rotation.

  • Loved the salad. Used Thai Basil from my garden. The flavors really popped.

  • I bought a huge bag of quinoa at Costco and got tired plain quiona so when I saw this salad I had to try it! I even managed to find the fish sauce at an asian market for $2.50! Let me say I was a bit skeptical of the fish sauce but it worked, of course. I didnt change anything, and I went with fresh basil instead of mint. If I would do anything different it would just be adding slightly less sugar to the dressing. Other than that delicious and will make again! Totally worth all the chopping and slicing.

  • Amazing!

  • Sounds delicious! Has anyone added Salmon for additional protein?

  • I love coconut in all my Thai food, so when I made this, I doubled the recipe and used a 13.5 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk in place of that amount of water when cooking the quinoa… it adds really good extra flavor to it in case you coconut fans are wondering!
    (also used an orange bell pepper and a jalapeno in place of two red bell peppers)

  • Another “knock it out of the park” recipe from Jenn! Sharpen your knife skills and make this salad. It’s light and very tasty. I suggest not omitting the mint. It gives the dish a wonderful finish in the mouth.

  • Loved this salad. It helped to bring my husband over to the world of quinoa.
    I was wondering if I could prepare a large amount of the salad dressing and keep it in the refrigerator?
    Just trying to make things easier when I have all 3 of my little ones home.

    • Glad you like it. The dressing should keep nicely for about a week in the fridge.

  • This salad is fantastic and there are so many variations I’ve come up with when I’m out of one ingredient! A wonderful addition that I would highly recommend: right before serving, top with Trader Joe’s Thai Lime and Chili Cashews. YUM YUM.

  • Is there a replacement for fish sauce?

    • — Jill Bernstein
    • Reply
    • Hi Jill, you can use soy sauce in place of the fish sauce. The salad will still be good, but it will lack that traditional Thai flavor.

  • Absolutely loved this salad! Salads are normally boring, but if every vegetarian dish is this good, I don’t have to have meat. Also my first time trying quinoa and am a fan! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    • This was amazing and I substituted Orzo for the Quinoa. Big hit at work party.

      • I also tripled the batch and added more fish sauce.

  • This salad is amazing! Even folks who claim to not “like’ quinoa, rave! It is fresh, flavorful, and now my favorite salad to bring to potlucks. I have made this a dozen times. The fish sauce is pungent, but essential to the recipe.

  • Even when I’m using recipes from other sites, I come to Jen when something goes wrong! Case in point – just tried to make quinoa using another recipe and it turned out messy. Found this recipe and will be trying again using Jen’s instructions!

  • Absolutely beautiful salad. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Delightful recipe for a healthy and tasty side dish.
    Thanks

  • How to double this recipe for 20?

    • Hi Amy, It’s fine to just multiply all of the ingredients by 5.

  • Simple, fresh, and delicious! I prayed I wouldn’t be disappointed, as I had no time to try this in advance of the get-together I needed it for this evening. It was a hit! This will go on my list of stunning salad staples!

  • This is my go to dish for pot lucks and synagogue suppers since the food has to be dairy. I am always asked for the recipe. I bring my herb pots into the house over the winter just so I can continue to make this.

  • I love all your recipes…so do my friends..I never seem to have enough at our tennis luncheons so I plan on tripling this recipe…does it follow that I should also triple all the ingredients or not? Also, can’t wait for your cookbook to come out….I do like that you include the nutritional information at the bottom of each recipe…have you thought about adding symbols for whether you can make recipe ahead of time and/or whether the recipe freezes well….these two questions come up alot in the reviews.

    • — Wendy Schoenburg
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoy the recipes, Wendy! Yes, if you’re tripling the quinoa salad, you’d need to triple all the ingredients. And thanks for the suggestion regarding adding symbols to indicate if recipes can be frozen and/or made ahead. I will add it to my list of potential enhancements to the site!

  • This salad is a regular in our house! I’ve made it for casual dinners, and potlucks and everyone loves it. It’s a nice refreshing salad. Don’t be nervous about the fish sauce-the flavor is subtle 🙂

  • This is a winner – so easy to prepare too! I make it as a side with grilled chicken, and the leftovers are great for lunches!

  • This salad is exceptional! Thank you for sharing the recipe. I omitted the red pepper, added about 1/4 cup more water to cook the quinoa, used mint versus basil, and used the juice of two limes. It is light, refreshing, and super tasty!

  • Excellent salad. Prepared exactly as directed and refrigerated overnight. I will be making this often. Thank you!

    • — Joanne Butcher
    • Reply
  • I don’t particularly like cilantro…is there some other fresh herb I can use instead?

    • Hi Marcia, you could go with mint or flat-leaf parsley instead. Hope you enjoy!

  • Thank you for this salad- its one of our favorites. Its fast to make, healthy and tastes great. I love making a complete meal out of it with some cooked shrimp….really compliments the dish nicely. Winner!

  • Thank you so much for this recipe – it’s my new daily lunch. Your instructions are very clear and easy to follow, with great photos. Once in a while I add corn and edamame to this, and always 1/2 the amount of sugar. It is so wonderful – thanks for sharing what has quickly become a staple of my weekly meal planning.

  • Great summer salad – the flavors are very well-balanced. I used all three herbs in great supply with success. Only had to toss a little extra oil at the end. Dressed salad holds its flavor overnight.

  • This sooo delishious Used this recipe for gatherings and it is enjoyed to the last. I use all the mint, basil and cilantro. The combination of all three sends the senses. Yum. Often make this just for myself and it even helps me to lose weight. I use stevia as my sweetener. Protein and veggies all in one dish. It’s great!

    • — Karleen McLain
    • Reply
  • Can you substitute EVOO for the vegetable oil?

    • Hi Vic, I think this is best with vegetable oil because it’s so mild tasting, but several readers have used olive oil successfully. Enjoy!

  • This was amazing! I made it for a BBQ and everyone loved it! It is refreshing and delcious. love it!

  • I substituted soy sauce for the fish sauce and it tastes amazing! SOOO GOOD.

  • Delicious! Added an additional 2 tbl of lime juice after the initial toss with the dressing. Served it with shrimp pan seared with butter and garlic. Perfect for a hot summer evening.

  • Just made this for lunch today. I used a little less sugar and added the juice of one more lime. Perfection! Just the fuel I needed to get back out and finish putting in my veggie garden today.

  • I made this Thai salad..delish!..I love to tweak recipes so I added less sugar, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, more fish sauce (gluten free). I enjoyed this soo much, it will be my summer go to side dish.

    • Also..I added more fresh lime juice which really brings all the flavors out. That to me is key.

  • Wow! That dressing, the ingredients (I used red quinoa), everything…my mouth thanks you and so does my tummy.

  • Made this the other day and it is SO delicious! The perfect combo of ingredients and flavours. I always make a big batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week and add it to salads throughout and this is one of my favourites, Thank you so much for the recipe.

  • Made this exactly as the recipe described. It turned out FANTASTIC. Served with Italian Style Meatloaf. A+ Thank You

  • Jennifer how much water should I use if I just want to make a half a cup of the quinoa? Thanks!

    • Hi Yvonne, You’ll need a little more than 3/4 cup.

  • This recipe was such a hit. It was fresh, tasty and packed with goodness. I had it with a turkey breast with a marinade of chopped coriander, parsley & cumin, honey, white wine and lemon juice. They went perfectly together. Will be sharing !!!??????

  • I love this Thai quinoa salad and plan to serve it to guests with grilled pork tenderloin marinated in an Asian sauce. Can you recommend another Asian inspired side dish to complete the meal?

  • Yummmmmo!
    Was looking for a simple & tasty quinoa salad recipe, and this one sure hit the spot! Thai flavors are always a hit in our house and this recipe did not disappoint 🙂

    • — Patricia, Melbourne Australia
    • Reply
  • What can I use as a substitute for the Asian fish sauce, for my vegetarian friend?

    • Unfortunately, there’s no good substitute for fish sauce as it has a very distinct flavor. That said, I know some readers have used soy sauce with success.

  • I made this last night – absolutely delicious and so refreshing!!! Love your recipes Jenn!! Onceuponachef.com is my go to website for my menu planning!

    • — Tamera Gjesdal
    • Reply
  • I made this recently for a small gathering. I added the optional mint and the salad was a great hit with friends. This will be a staple for us, especially since it worked well for my friend who has some dietary restrictions.

  • This is one of the best quinoa salads I have ever made. Super easy recipe and a wonderful blending of flavors. Definitely a keeper and now in the regular rotation.

  • Loved the fresh taste of this salad. Easy to add or sub other ingredients too.

    • — Connie Hoffman
    • Reply
  • I’ve loved all other recipes from this website….so I wondered if maybe there is a typo on this one. Was it supposed to be 2 teaspoons of sugar instead of 2 Tablespoons? It was soooo sweet. Will try it again with less sugar because I like all the ingredients.

    • Hi Clare, It’s not a typo — sorry you found it to be too sweet. You can add more of the other dressing ingredients to correct it, if it’s not too late.

  • Made this over the weekend for a late summer BBQ. Everyone enjoyed it! In fact my brother in law wanted to take home all the leftovers because he couldn’t get enough. Very light and refreshing.

  • I have a bag of Great Grains from Trader Joe – quinoa, Israeli couscous, baby garbanzo beans – Can I use that instead of just quinoa?

    • Yes I think that would work. Enjoy!

  • This is my go-to salad for lunches! Mix up a batch and toss some chicken in and I’m good!

  • Will you please give me the exact amounts for the dressing? Ex: 1/2 cup oil, 4 tbsp vinegar. Also how many cucumbers, red bell pepper etc. Maybe I missed specifics. Thanks

    • Hi Pamela, Click on the “recipe” tab at the top, or scroll down beneath the step-by-step photos.

  • I havent tried this recipe yet but I was wondering if there is something I can substitute for the bell pepper.

    • Hi Jenny, Sure, You could use more cucumber or any other crisp vegetable that you like.

      • thanks jenn!

  • Fantastic! This is the first time I have made quinoa.I followed the recipe exactly, except adding oven roasted shrimp. So much flavor…….so delicious

    • — Sue from Michigan
    • Reply
  • Fabulous recipe! Loved the flavor of the dressing. Can’t go wrong with just the right amount of lime. I added more greens (spinach and romaine) and was filled to the brim! This is the second salad recipe I’ve made from this site (the other being the Thai cabbage/peanut sauce one) and my whole family have loved both of them. So happy I’ve discovered your site! Simple ingredients, great taste!

  • This is good, but for some reason, it loses it flavors when stored in the fridge for a few hours. When I top up with more of the sauce ingredients, the flavors still go away. That’s a bit annoying… otherwise, it’s a savory, nice salad…

  • Served this last night with your Grilled Moroccan Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce and it was a huge hit. As I mentioned in my meatball review, my husband applauded after dinner. 🙂 This salad was so summer-y. Light and refreshing but still filling. I’d never even cooked quinoa before and it was very simple and delicious. I varied the recipe only in the way I cut the veggies…they were all finely diced like the cucumber. It didn’t look like there was enough sauce for the salad but it covered everything very well. I have a feeling this salad is going to become a staple in our house. Loved it!

  • Delicious! I ended up skipping the veggies and instead added some roasted butternut so that it was more of a starch instead of a salad. I then used the quinoa/butternut to layer the bottom of a serving dish and topped with the Honey, Lime, & Sriracha Chicken Skewers. The whole dish was delicious and a nice presentation!

    • — Deb in Colorado
    • Reply
  • So lucky to find your recipes. They are easy, well written and make me look like a star in the kitchen. The thai quinoa is fabulous! So fresh and tasty, i eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thanks

  • I made the quinoa salad today. I have Catherine Walthers cookbook and followed the recipe as she wrote it. Seeing it here on your site I thought if you posted it, I am sure I will love it!
    I love her book and have made many of her recipes in the past. This is a really good recipe and I will make it again but will probably add your changes – seeding the cucumbers, adding scallions and oil to the dressing would likely be additions I would like. If I could get past the smell of the fish sauce, I would give this 5 stars! Thanks – your recipes are a favorite in my family!

  • Outstanding! This will be in regular rotation this summer. I reduced sugar by 1 T and it’s still great.

  • Love this salad! Very easy to make and so delicious and refreshing. I left out the onion, but it was still very tasty. A real keeper! Thank you for sharing for this recipe!

  • Hi,

    How long do you think this would keep in the fridge? Should I keep the dressing separate and just add at serving- like you instructed with your Vietamenese Shredded Chicken salad? Or is it all serve immediately? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Karen, This salad keeps well for several days in the fridge — no need to keep the dressing separate, it doesn’t get soggy 🙂

  • Very good recipe. I used olive oil, added 1 more Tbsp fish sauce, as well as 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger and 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar which increased the fresh and tangy flavor.

  • I can’t do any fish sauce for whatever the reason. May I do worcestershire sauce instead? Or should I just skip recipes with fish sauce?

    I made a your brisket and cocktail meatballs in my slow cooker and my kids are so happy. Thank you!

    • Hi Blair, Unfortunately there is no great substitute for fish sauce. Sorry!

  • made this for my co-workers, it was a lactose and gluten free potluck lunch. I really like the lime flavour.

  • I made this salad and it’s so good! I made quinoa pilaf before, but this salad is so much better. I loved how it tasted fresh and spicy at the same time. It’s a perfect summer salad. Thank you for taking the time to post it.

  • Making quinoa for the first time. Appreciated tip on less water than package calls for. After 15 minutes there was still a little water left that had not been absorbed but little white tail sprouts were out. Was not sure what to do–ended up letting rest of water boil off uncovered about 2 minutes? Trying to figure out exactly what texture of quinoa should be? Rice like? Soft? Little crunch? What do you suggest?

    • — Whitney Almquist
    • Reply
    • Hi Whitney, That was a good call to let the rest of the water boil off. The texture is soft and fluffy with a very slight crunch.

  • I made your Thai Quinoa Salad with Fresh Herbs. I’ve always been on the hunt for a good Quinoa salad to make from scratch that would just have the “right kick” to it flavour wise and this sure meets it! I love how quick and easy it was to make this. This is by far definitely my new go-to recipe. I didn’t change a thing and I usually tweak recipes so that is impressive! Thanks so much for sharing. I am also not one to leave reviews either!

  • I just made this in preparation for a brunch tomorrow, and it is absolutely amazing. I made it as written (with the exception of a little less sugar), but doubled it, and it will serve many more than indicated. I found that the fish sauce dominates in aroma, but not in taste. I used the mint, and the herbs blended beautifully. Totally delicious! I had to stop my husband from eating it, so we have enough for tomorrow ;-).

  • So yummy. The only thing I changed (because of “inventory”) was that I used regular cucumber, and I also added a tiny bit of garlic to the dressing to be like my mom’s fish sauce. It is very good and refreshing like other posters mentioned.

    • Just wanted to add I enjoyed this for lunch the day after making and it kept very wel!

  • Yummy! Thank you. This is the first ever quinoa salad that I’ve tried. I subbed soy sauce for the fish sauce and used both mint and basil. Delicious!

  • I made this for my husband as a main dish and we both absolutely loved it! The dressing and cilantro paired very nicely together. I loved the contrast of “crunch” with the veggies and softness of the quinoa. My only recommendation is to watch out for the fish sauce. We both thought it had too much of a fish flavor. I made it a second time a used 2 tsp instead of 2 1/2 tsp of fish sauce and that seemed to help. Other than that, it is delicious!

  • HOLY COW is this refreshing and delicious! I doubled the recipe and its gone within 24 hours! I just made my second batch this morning! Thanks for such a great healthy recipe!

  • I made this and the whole family absolutely loved it. My 10 year old daughter loved it so much that she ate a huge second helping and requested it for a school lunch.
    I replaced vegetable oil for olive oil and cilantro for parsley, just because thats what I had on hand.

  • I normally do not leave reviews, just read them, but this recipe was outstanding, worth my jumping on the bandwagon to state my great satisfaction. I paired it with blackened salmon. We were fighting over the leftovers. This is one recipe I will make for guests.

  • Great recipe! I made it for two people who are not big fans of quinoa and they really liked it. Fresh taste and great balance. Thanks for a good recipe!

  • I also made this for my vegetarian daughter-in-law and she loved it. I didn’t change a thing. I thought it was good. My son’s wouldn’t even try it, but what do they know! LOL

  • Only one problem with this recipe- it’s SO good I can’t stop eating it. When I add leftover rotisserie chicken chicken it’s hearty enough to be a main course.

  • hello jenn
    why does my quinoa taste bitter after cooking (before adding any of the other ingredients)?
    Many thanks for your help

    • Hi Sona, You need to either buy pre-rinsed quinoa or rinse it before cooking, otherwise it is bitter.

      • Hi Jenn
        Sorry I should have said- I thought this may be the issue so rinsed it extra carefully the past couple of times but it still kept tasting bitter! Perhaps I need to rinse even more carefully? Or is there any other possible reason for the bitterness?
        Thank you
        Sona

        • Hi Sona, I can’t think of any other reason. When rinsing, you should wash until the water runs clear. But it could just be the type of quinoa you are buying. I really like the Ancient Harvest brand; it’s pre rinsed and not at all bitter.

  • What would you substitute for fish sauce? I’m allergic to some types of fish and shellfish.

    • Never mind. I see others have asked the same question. I’ll try substituting with soy sauce.

  • I just made this and KILLED IT! I followed the recipe exactly (including the optional). The only thing I did not do was mix everything together. I put the quinoa into 4 separate storage containers. I also put the carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, dressing, etc into separate storage containers too. This way, it will taste freshly made each time I combine everything. I ALWAYS change the amount of ingredients in recipes I find but I did not need to do that with this one. This recipe rocks!

  • I followed this recipe fully, and it was one of the best recipes I have come across. The flavors were amazing, and this is now one of my husbands favorites. I think this is a must for all occasions.

  • What can I substitute for the fish sauce

    • Erica, Unfortunately, there’s no good substitute for fish sauce as it has a very distinct flavor. That said, I know some readers have used soy sauce with success.

  • Is there anything I can substitute for the fish sauce? I have an allergy to something in most fish sauces.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Kate, Unfortunately, there’s really no good substitute for fish sauce — it has a very distinct flavor. You could try soy sauce or oyster sauce; it won’t be quite the same but will still be very good.

  • This is a great salad that holds up well for lunch for the week. I usually add shredded chicken as well to make it a little more filling

  • Absolutely Delicious! It’s my new favorite recipe. The next day, my husband even added chicken to the leftovers and that was delicious too.

  • made this recipe with couscous, it was very good.

  • My 11 yr old son & I made this recipe the other day for a potluck dinner. I chopped while he did the rest. Everyone loved it & was impressed a delicious, healthy dish was prepared by an 11 yr old. Thanks!

  • This is really good! I didn’t have cucumbers but threw in some frozen sweet corn. I also used a little less cilantro & mint. I just eyeballed it, but it was probably less than the recipe called for. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be that good when I was mixing it up & I was leery about the mint, but it was very tasty! Very fresh & light. I think you could easily change it up with different veggies to suit your own taste. I will definitely make this again.

  • Delicious, I have a herb garden I started a few yrs. ago. And needed some new recipes. Thank you Jenn will be seeing u again 🙂 , I made recipe pretty much by your ingredients, except in the dressing added less fish sauce maybe 1 tsp. and 2 tbls. veg. oil plus 1 tbls. sesame oil. To give it a slight nutty flavor. Est Tex

  • This was fresh and delicious. It was a big hit with my family. We doubled the recipe and did have to add more salt and fish sauce after tasting it. The only thing I would do differently next time is reduce the sugar in the dressing – it was actually a bit too sweet for me. But that’s not a bad thing, right? =)

  • I always make a double recipe of Thai Quinoa Salad. We will snack on it for several days and it just keeps getting better. A delicious lunch or a flavorful dinner side.

  • I was craving this salad for the past couple of days and finally made it for lunch yesterday. I almost finished the bowl! So full of flavors and veges and healthy quinoa–I didn’t even feel guilty!

  • This is another of her yummy Thai salads. This one’s a keeper.

  • Made this recipe night before last. GREAT recipe and will definitely be a staple at our house. THANK YOU JENN! Followed it to a “T” and used the fresh mint. Yum! I use Bob’s Red Mill organic Quinoa.

  • what is the nutrition facts?

    • They are at the bottom of the recipe in the Recipe tab.

      • — Susan Smeltzer on September 22, 2018
      • Reply
  • I made this salad exactly as presented and it is scrumptious. Any chance you’ll start providing nutritional information????

  • This recipe was very good!!!

    • — Kimberley Wolfe
    • Reply
  • Strangely enough, my husband and I didn’t really care for this recipe that much and won’t make it again. I made it exactly according to the recipe. It tasted okay at best. I added cumin and we liked it a little better as a “Mexican” salad.

    I’ll stick with your Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing, which is an awesome recipe!

  • Made this for a BBQ pot luck and was a huge hit. I ended up making a batch and a half but shouldn’t have added the extra vinaigrette for the extra half. The fish sauce ended up being way too overpowering…a little really goes a long way! Other than that, it was great; very refreshing. I used basil instead of mint but I think I’ll try it with mint next time. Thanks for the recipe!

    • The fresh mint is REALLY good! Probably better to make “two” of the salads rather than altering Jennifer’s measurements to make it go further. I hesitate to mess with perfection 😉

  • Just made this again. Didnt have limes so substituted lemon juice. Also added some quartered grape tomatoes from our garden, cuz we have so many. Was yummy

  • Add this to the LONG list of Jenn’s recipes that we just keep making over and over! I can’t count how many times I’ve made it so far; I’ll be making it again tonight. We always make a double recipe because the leftovers are terrific for lunch.

  • We made this for July 4th and it was great. I used a bit more fish sauce and a touch less sugar because we used sweet corn instead of cucumber. Great recipe, thanks!

  • This is fantastic! I add the zest of one lime to the dressing. I could eat the whole bowl!

  • Wonderful recipe! However, no not use Wesson Oil. It contains GMOs. Only use a quality organic vegetable or olive oil to keep this recipe healthy.
    Thanks

  • Made this for dinner last night – it was SO GOOD! I made a double batch and we’ll have it again tonight. Thank you for sharing this! I will try your other quinoa salad very soon 😉

  • Wonderful salad, refreshing and healthy. Flavors all sort of pop in your mouth. Great for barbecue season.

  • Just made this, it is amazing!!! Keeper recipe!

  • Just had this for dinner last night. It was the perfect complement to chicken satay. Thanks for another great recipe–I can always get consistently delicious results with your recipes. Love this blog!

  • Big fan of Quinoa and of this blog so I knew this had to be good. This is the first time I used the fish sauce too. It was a wonderfully delicious salad. This will be made a lot this summer. Thanks so much!!!!

  • Just made it for my first dinner in my new apartment. So perfectly fresh, crunchy and delicious. I bet it will be even better for lunch tomorrow! Great recipe. Thanks, Jen!

  • I made this for lunch today and was able to make it from start to finish (including washing of dishes) while our baby took his afternoon nap. It was delicious and my wife and I are looking forward to the leftovers!

    This is the third recipe I’ve made from your site (cashew chicken & enchiladas being the other two) and I really must thank you for expanding my cooking repertoire, and for your gentle encouragement in introducing novice cooks such as myself to new varieties of foods to prep and cook: e.g., in this case quinoa (my first time making it – came out perfectly as per your instructions) and English cucumbers (wow, they are gigantic), not to mention the sauce-flavor combination.

    I’ve pulled out our ice cream maker and put the mixing chamber in the freezer in preparation for the strawberry frozen yogurt recipe (tomorrow’s task).

    Thanks again! – Red

  • I made this tonight exactly as posted and it is great, definitely something I’m making again! May have it tomorrow with the tequila lime chicken :). Also may throw in edamame next time. I highly recommend trying this – fish sauce smells strong but trust the recipe – it tastes delicious!

  • OK, that’s just freaky! I haven’t scrolled through my Reader feed since Monday. Yesterday I posted a recipe that was going to be a Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette, but I added beets and it turned pink, so I changed the name. Imagine my surprise when I scrolled past this post. I thought I messed up and forgot to change my title for a second there LOL. 🙂

  • Hi Jenn, would you add all three herbs, or just pick two?

    • I’d probably just pick two to keep it simple, but if you have all three on hand and want to use them, go for it 🙂

  • This looks amazing, and I love the fresh herbs and vegetables. What a lovely, colorful meatless meal!

  • Delicious!!! I was running low on quinoa so I mixed it with some leftover jasmine rice and it was still yummy! Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Hi,

    Thank you for another wonderful recipe I can’t wait to try it. I don’t really like the taste of cilantro so was wondering if it can be left out of if I should substitute with another herb?

    Thanks

    • Hi Melissa, You can absolutely leave it out. Try some some parsley, mint or basil instead.

  • What about using soy paste to substitute for fish sauce and sugar? We also have the (very common) fish allergy and my friend from China has me substitute soy paste for soy sauce and sugar in her sticky rice recipe.

  • Just made the quinoa salad and it is yummy. Can’t wait for dinner. Jen, your recipes are great!!

  • Oops, didn’t see the previous question on the same topic!

  • What can be substituted for the fish sauce in this recipe? My son is allergic to fish. This has me wondering what other “safe” foods might have fish sauce in them!

  • do you know how many calories are in this dish? It looks so good! I’m doing the fasting diet and this looks so perfect!

    • Hi Gina, I have no clue, but it’s super light. The only “bad” thing in it is a few tablespoons of sugar, but you can cut the amount back a bit if you like. I wouldn’t leave it out entirely though because you need it to balance the acidity of the lime.

      • thank you!

  • I love the flavors of Thai dishes…they are my absolute favorite. Sounds so good paired with quinoa (which I am also loving lately!)

  • That looks beautiful! I am going to have to the plunge into quinoa!

  • Hi Jenn,

    I will be making this for sure but I need a replacement for the fish sauce, due to an allergy. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Debbie, Try soy sauce or oyster sauce. Won’t be quite the same but will still be delicious.

      • Thanks Jenn, I will give it a go !!

  • I love seeing all these quinoa salads popping up everywhere. I think I am going to have to give it a try. My husband doesn’t do pasta salad but maybe I can convince him to do quinoa salad.

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