Quinoa Salad with Lime + Fresh Mint

Gluten-free quinoa salad with fresh lime and mint.
Quinoa salad with fresh lime and mint.

This is the post where I confess, Dear Reader, that I am now pear-shaped and lumpy and thick in the middle- obviously adept at gaining weight. I may even be considered gifted. This is not fun for me. But then, who promised fun during hip surgery recovery? Who said it would be easy? (Um, no one.) Throw menopausal hormone pandemonium into the sticky mix and you have a double roll nightmare.

I gained fifteen eighteen twenty damn pounds.

And who claimed that wedges of Green Chile Cornbread and Strawberry Chocolate Chip Scones and Peach Crisp were calorie-free, anyway? Certainly not moi. But geesh. 

How much can a girl give up in one lifetime?

So the rumors are true. Your intrepid plucky gluten-free goddess is trying the South Beach Diet. Or as well as one can follow the famous low glycemic diet without the comfort of dairy foods (on my allergen verboten list). This should be interesting.

Lucky for me I have a Guru.

Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen is the go-to South Beach Diet guru slash goddess. She has enough mouth watering South Beach recipes to satisfy any craving and soothe any carbohydrate addict's fevered soul. I'll be bookmarking all kinds of recipes over there.

South Beach- and other low carb diets- are often gluten-free friendly. They typically avoid the high glycemic bleached wheat flours and semolina pastas (when they do include complex lower glycemic carbs- in a later phase of the diet- they point you toward high protein pasta and grains; and lucky for us we have our own gluten-free brown rice pastas and alternative flours that just might work- some better than others; stay tuned).

In essence this post is about hitting the reset button.

After years of celiac damage and malabsorption issues I can finally gain weight- and that's good news. Er, I suppose. (Note, however, that 40% of those with gluten intolerance actually suffer being overweight pre-diagnosis, and find it difficult to lose unwanted pounds- until they go gluten-free; life is diverse and your own mileage may vary from the so-called norm). So at this point in my recovery I must change up my eating habits. Set the reset button. Start over.

I've given up sugar, white rice and potatoes. 

So. Here we go. I'm day 4 of Phase 1 of the fabulous South Beach Diet. They tell you the carb craving goes away. To be honest? I'm not there yet. I miss my wonderful Best Gluten-Free Pancakes. But I also would like to feel better- more energtic, less thick. 

Kalyn has promised svelte. I say, Bring it!

Svelte rings a bell.

Quinoa. My new comfort food.

Quinoa Salad Recipe with Lime + Fresh Mint

Recipe posted August 2008 by Karina Allrich.

This cool, refreshing salad (which just so happens to be vegan and naturally gluten-free) reminds me of tabbouleh- a Middle Eastern style pasta dish I used to love. What makes a quinoa salad taste so fabulous? Fresh mint, lime juice and good tasting extra virgin olive oil.


1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
Juice from 2 limes
2-3 fresh mint sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves or parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of sweet and ripe cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons diced red onion- or use 2 chopped scallions
1 garlic clove, minced


Cook the quinoa in 2 and 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups fresh water, covered, until all of the water is absorbed. Add a small pinch sea salt, if desired. Note: I use my rice cooker to do this. The quinoa turns out fluffy, tender and perfect.

Scoop the cooked quinoa into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Toss lightly with a fork until combined.

Taste test and adjust seasonings.

Cover and chill- the longer, the better. In fact, I think this salad tastes even better the second day- so plan ahead if you need a make-ahead dish for a party.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Kalyn said...

Delicious sounding recipe, and I'm cheering for you, you know that. Not only for the wonderful honesty in this post, but for being brave enough to tackle a diet that some people can't manage even without food allergies. I can only promise that I've truly never felt better than when I'm being most strict on the low-glycemic way of eating, and tell you that this is the only diet that ever helped me lose weight around the middle. Here's to svelte when we finally get to have those margaritas together!

Chris said...

I love quinoa so I'm going to have to try this out this week.

kippi said...

Yes! Please bring on the low glycemic recipes as I will welcome them.

What's with the weight gain? Seriously, I've gained almost 15 pounds in the same time you have. After a life of being skeletal, I'm nearly fluffy. On one hand I embrace it because it is the first time I've looked really healthy although I felt better about 10 pounds ago.

This salad looks delicious. I'm not good at choosing an olive oil. Any suggestions?

Amy and Greg said...

Yum! I love quinoa salads. Can't wait to try this one.

kippi said...

Yes! Please bring on the low glycemic recipes!

What's with the weight gain? I've taken on 15 lbs in about the same time you have put on your weight. After years of looking skeletal it is both strange and nice to finally look 'normal'. Although I felt better around 10 lbs ago. So I'm with you on this journey.

This salad looks delicious. Can you suggest a way to tell the difference between a good olive oil and one that is not as good?

Also, have you noticed that more and more companies are turning to sunflower oil? BOO HISS on that. I can't tolerate it either.

Anonymous said...

I love quinoa and this sounds like a great rendition. Good luck with the diet!

Bloggin' Fool said...

I'm always surprised that I have to fight the pounds when I can't have gluten, soya, dairy, most recently eggs and poultry, and a few other odd things. People say to me, "Oh, if I couldn't eat all of those, I'd be thin as a rail!" And I reply, "Nah, you'd just find other stuff to eat."

I joined Weight Watchers in June, and have lost 11 pounds so far. Nine to go.

Sommer said...

Low glycemic index sounds great!

I am a recently diagnosed celiac's case, a case remaining undetermined until I started living in Geneva, Switerzland. All the bread, pastries, pastas and cheeses I am unable to eat has been horrific. Thankfully, however, your site has become my oracle for information and fantastic recipes!


Anonymous said...

I have also had a weight gain issue since going gluten-free three years ago. I just attended my daughter's wedding and can't stand to look at the photos of myself! I think I will try the South Beach diet along with you. I have 55 pounds to lose, so keep those low-glycemic recipes coming!!

Maureen said...

This sounds great1 Lime and mint are a great combo. Try blending up a few fresh mint leaves in a lime drink. And yes please - more low glycemic recipes would be most welcome!

Evelyn said...

There isn't much more to say than everything you make is fantastic. Woooow. We love everything.
Keep up the good work, my taste buds are really happy.
Evelyn Thomas

Bloggin' Fool said...

P.S. Guess I should have added that I'm posting WW points on my blog now for each recipe, for anyone who is following the Points Plan . . .

happyheathen said...

I would love more low glycemic foods.

I'm trying to be gluten free (I'm new at this and falter sometimes), and I need to eat low glycemic sweetie stuff too and am having trouble figuring out what to do with agave nectar :)

Anonymous said...

YES!! I had to go on a "Kill the Yeast" diet for a systemic yeast infection. It's low glycemic and, imagine, NO CHOCOLATE! But I'm on day 11 and still alive! Go KArina! I'm with you.
Peace, Marci

mamaruss said...


Yes, yes for the low glycemic recipes!! I had lost 50 lbs at WW and kept it off for 1 1/2 years until I was diagnosed with CD & DH. Of course, trying to replace everything with the g/f stuff lead to gaining weight- especially around the middle. I looked pregnant all the time.

I have just recently lost 10lbs by doing SBDiet. The nice surprise was the bloating went away. Now to just get the rest of the weight back down!!

Thanks for your honesty and willingness to share this part of your journey with us.

Mama Russ

Sherie said...

Hi Karina,

I have been reading your recipes and trying them for about a year. I am not officially diagnosed as celiac, but I read Diana Schwarzbein's book about a year ago...and she suggested eliminating gluten for a month if you were having digestive problems. Voila! No more stomachache and bloating.

But, being menopausal, I am getting thicker through the middle; and it's no fun. So, I am with you on the South Beach Plan and will make this lovely salad tomorrow! I'm especially interested to hear how you are coping with the icky artificial sweetners that are recommended.

Svelte is good.

All the best,


Sarah said...


I have been reading your blog since hubby was diagnosed with celiac. I have had to alter some recipes to be lower in carbs. Sometimes it works, sometimes I feel like the scientist that pulls a shoe out of a beaker instead of a batch of cookies. We also cope with diabetes so I cannot wait to see your recipes! Sarah:-)

Suzanne said...

Love to see more low GI recipes - and baking with agave - yay! I truly appreciate all you share with us, Karina!

Tartelette said...

Good luck with the diet! This salad sounds so refreshing, much like the couscous salad my mom makes but healthier. Love it!

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes! I just had a baby a month ago...got a few pounds to work off with no energy to experiment. I will gladly and willingly peek at your hard work and fly with it. Thank you.

Leigh said...


Bring on the lower GI recipes, baby!

Personally, I can't do the SBD, as it drops my blood sugar too low, but reducing the amount of carbs, even just a little bit never hurts!

This looks very yummy!


Lovebird said...

Yummy, I love your new header.

Lisa said...

20 pounds or not 20 pounds, you are still one of the most beautiful people I've ever met.

milhan said...

I am all for low glycemic/lower carb recipes. My belly definitely deflates when I watch my intake!

As for quinoa, I'm not sure if I like it or not. It tastes okay, but it looks weird to me...and I just can't get past that. It's one of the few foods I don't love. Maybe with fresh tomatoes, lime juice and mint I might be persuaded?...

Lime juice and mint are also really good mixed with a little agave, rum and seltzer water...can you say "mojito!"

Karen said...

Hey, Karina,

I am with you 100%! I too have gained 10-15 lbs since going gluten free 18 months ago. I am a lifetime WW member and had just lost 44 lbs. when I learned about the gluten intolerance and multiple allergies. I was shocked that I gained so much weight despite efforts to keep it off. I am still struggling and have been toying with the idea of either South Beach or Suzanne Sommers (very similar) but not being able to eat eggs (unless they are cooked in a muffin or something) and being sensitive to yogurt and aged cheeses (bring on migraine) really has made me hesitant to try. I did Suzanne Sommers years ago and found I lost weight and my headaches diminished, but I am fearful of cutting out even more food. But if you can do it, maybe I can too.

p.s. I sometimes include WW points in my recipes on my blog, but most are no more than 6-8 per serving.

Reading all these comments makes me feel less alone. Thanks everyone!


Sarah said...

Another yes for low glycemic recipes! My husband and I both have a family history of diabetes; so the longer we can stave it off the better off we'll be. I love quinoa, by the way, one of the most nutritious natural grains we can eat - nevermind, it's naturally gluten free!

Jo said...

I just made quinoa last night (roasted it dry, then washed it to remove bitterness and bring out the flavor, then cooked it with cinnamon stick and raisins to serve with Indian food!). I'm going to have to look into that South Beach Diet. I've lost 6 pounds since July just counting calories and have about 10 to go. Ugh.


Marla said...

I am a Karina's Kitchen faithful, and have several of my employees subscribing to your blog. A few of us have several issues with food....the most recent trying to cut out as much sugar as possible. Can't wait to see what you are doing. Thanks for being there for all of us.

Vittoria said...

After loosing a lot of weight when first going gluten free, I managed to put some of it back on and I'm still having *issues*. I'm going for grain-free and doing SCD research, but in the mean time low glycemic recipes sound great. Especially for my boyfriend who is not gluten or grain free but also very health concious.

Thanks a million for all your hard work on this site. It's wonderful!

BeautyRescued said...

Hi, all! De-lurking here to offer my two cents on good olive oil.

I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil only for raw foods and dishes that are cooked at lower temperatures. My favorite EVOO is Columela when I can get it, followed by Colavita, which is available at most grocery stores. I can't wait to try the Lime Mint Quinoa.

Otherwise, I use very small amounts of coconut oil for sautéing foods at higher temperatures.


Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Well, as you know, I've lost a good bit of weight since cutting out gluten and my food allergens--but I could have gained it, instead, if I had focused a lot on comfort eating during the emotional trials of the transition (and I'm not judging anyone who does that--it was my mode of operation for a long time).

Anyway, healthy recipes are always appreciated, especially healthy recipes with a focus on whole foods! I'm sure you'll be giving us some great ones.

CeliacChick said...

I'm so happy that you have reached a point of healing that you've gained weight. I understand the diet though, balance is always the key.
I personally don't eat much refined sugar or flour anymore and the cravings do go away! I think that it's great that you can lead people in an even healthier direction. :)

Cheryl said...

Yay! I can't wait! I love your recipes but adapt them to be lower glycemic. I'd rather then straight from the master =)

Kimberly said...

I would love some low-glycemic recipes. I am vegetarian and sometimes feel like all I eat is carbs. Your quinoa recipe looks great! I have just recently started using agave and have been very pleased with baking results. Love your blog!

Laura said...

I'm new reader after finding your brown sugar blueberry muffin recipe. Yum! I'm diabetic and my daughter has allergies to gluten, dairy, soy and eggs, your new direction sounds wonderful! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

hi kitten XD i'm an aspiring vegan and i love this dish. thanks!

Nova said...

I am a long time reader of your blog and am always excited to see what recipes you have to share with us next. I have recently incorporated agave into my family's diet and can't wait to see what ideas you have for using it in baking. When I was growing up gluten free 20 years ago all of the bread and cookies I had available to me tasted awful. I was always very thin as a child and teenager. But once I learned how to bake yummy treats for myself I had to learn to eat all of the "comfort" foods I had missed out on as a child in moderation. I have struggled to stay at a healthy weight but eating organic, whole foods and staying active have helped. I look forward to seeing the new direction your cooking will take!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, I didn't realize you had hip surgery. I'm so sorry to hear. Best of luck with your new diet. It shouldn't be too hard if the dishes are all as beautifully healthy as this one. I had quinoa with black beans, mango, and corn for dinner tonight.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I also went (almost) gluten-free a year ago, to cure my recurrent vasomotor rhinitis. And if it did wonders for my stuffy nose at night, it wasn't so good on my waistline.
Im a now with 15 unwanted new pounds. And on the verge of entering perimenopause, I am very very interested in loosing those 15 pounds, but having a hard time doing it...they kind of stick with me, whaterver I do.
I will be giving a try with the MUFA diet, as seen on Prevention. It focuses on the "good fats" : olive oil, nuts, avocado. Very very compatible with GF delights. I am also very interested in the recipes from SB Diet you'll be posting. Alas, I'll have to be strong, and temporarily say goodbye to your blueberry muffins, brownies, and many chocolate treats I found here. From now on, it's gonna be occasional treats!

Heckyeah said...

Thank goodness!!! I switched to GFCF to share my daughter's diet (high functioning autistic) and also to improve my overall health. Well, I started out a bit pudgy and now I think I'm getting fatter. I have no idea how these new ingredients rank on the glycemic index nor do I know anything about South Beach, but I need to do something about my food intake. I think the gluten/dairy withdrawl binging has stopped tho. I'll be reading!!

Jenny said...

Wow, I've been healing and those nutrients are being absorbed and I'm getting rounder by the day and have been trying to think of a more structured way of dieting than simply counting calories. I bought the SBD book a few years ago and it's collected dust on my bookshelf ever since but you've inspired me to pick it back up and give it another shot. It will be great to have your recipes and posts about the SBD here!! And thanks for the link to the other blog, I will definitely check it out!!

Alexa said...

Hi Karina,
Your salad looks delicious. I can never get enough of quinoa. I have all the ingredients so I'm making it for dinner. Thanks!
You're so creative that you'll make the new diet work. I am sure your readers will enjoy the beautiful dishes you present no matter what their diets are-- All the best!

Mel said...

Hi there! This recipe sounds amazing... I too love quinoa, and I'm very happy to report that everything I've made from your site has turned out incredibly! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas....my world would be quite bland without your ideas! I am interested in the lower glycemic cooking/baking as well... I'll be interested to see what you come up with next!

Cape Cod Kitty said...

This is wonderful, K. You have had to adapt to so many dietary changes and yet you continue with your creative and positive attitude about it.
My daughter and her family are true SB devotees and have been for quite a few years. She told me about Kalyn's site quite a while back and has learned so much to enhance her SB life.
Cheering you on from Cape Cod and looking forward to the many recipes which I am sure you will send our way...XXOO M

Paula said...

Best wishes to you on your diet! I'm looking forward to seeing your recipes, and if they are anything like this one, yippee! Love quinoa, and enjoy trying new recipes containing it. YUM!

~M said...

Hi Karina!

I am super excited when gf bloggers embrace the low-carb/South Beachiness. For some reason, if I eat [gf] starches, even some whole grain ones, I just feel uncomfortably heavy. I probably don't actually gain weight, but who needs to feel icky with a wedding in 59 days? Not me, especially because I'm wearing my mom's dress :)

Your quinoa recipe looks delicious and I look forward to trying it. And I love that you plan on tagging favorite SB recipes - what a great roundup that would make: GF SB recipes! Another suggestion is to tag your former SB- and Karina-friendly recipes, like your delicious lime and agave salmon.

Best of luck to you! Oh, and hugs are now from Chicago!


Martha said...

I look forward to your low glycemic recipes.

jegarrett said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I started going gluten-free last June; unofficially it's celiac, but officially they're stumped. Gluten-free has helped greatly with the weight gain I experienced after my pregnancy 4 years ago and had never been able to use. I've been looking around your blog, and you have answered SO many questions for me! You've also got me converted....I'm going to give the South Beach a try... I am also SO grateful for this recipe! I miss tabouli! thank you! I look forward to hearing more about your adventures or mis-adventures in dietary experimentation! You ROCK!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, please continue the low glycemic recipes! Thank you for all of your work and sharing it with all of us! I truly appreciate it!

trrish said...

I may be a bit late to this party, but...

I've recently found out (and started paying attention) that my food intolerances have been causing me major problems. I was tested and came back with gluten, casein, egg, almonds and kidney beans as the biggest culprits.


Plus, I am a vegetarian by heart. So that leaves me with what feels like precious little to eat and food is my primary means of support, if you know what I mean.

I'm glad to find your blog, and I very much support your low-carb, no-gluten, no dairy, etc. approach. It's great to have some company.


Michelle said...

I tried this recipe without the tomatoes and added cucumbers instead and it was fantastic! I am also making this for a potluck tonight with ground turkey added. It tastes so super yummy! What a versatile recipe! Thanks, Katrina. I love your cooking!

Christine @ Tungsten Rings said...

I recently started quinoa as a replacement to rice. I add things to it to make is dinner friendly - can't wait to try this recipe.

Titanium Wedding Bands said...

The thing that bugs me most is Gluten, Yeast and Sugar because it inflames my lymph nodes so I can't have much of it at all.

Phlox said...

Just made this for the first time. Yum!! Love it! Thanks Karina.

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