Quinoa Salad with Pineapple, Broccoli, and Mint

Quinoa salad with pineapple and broccoli and mint
Pineapple quinoa salad with broccoli. Fresh and healthy.

Spring is beckoning. I can feel it. And my winter-stiff body is aching to stretch and move and shed the yearly inertia that descends like a bear with the shrinking daylight. My brain is flickering awake. My taste buds are tiring of the heavy, creamy comfort foods that sustained me (thank you, lovely spuds, lasagna, and mac and cheese, I love you with all my heart).

I'm craving lighter, cleaner tastes.

Not to mention, missing my warm weather jeans. You know the ones. That stack in the back of the closet you haven't fit into since December, when you began wondering if the laundromat medium heat setting was shrinking your favorite Levi's. The jeans you have to lay down to zip, doing your best imitation of Jane Fonda's pelvic tilt, sucking in your breath and praying to the zipper gods. Your skinny jeans. You know what I'm talking about. You have two sets of jeans, right? Winter. And summer.

So here's what I'm thinking. Quinoa to the rescue.

Vegan. Versatile. Easy. Fresh. Light. This new quinoa salad with pineapple and broccoli and fresh mint is all of the above. And maybe, just maybe, it'll be the first step to fitting into those skinny jeans.

Pineapple quinoa salad with broccoli carrots mint and lime
Light and refreshing quinoa salad with pineapple and fresh herbs.

Quinoa Salad with Pineapple, Broccoli, and Mint

This light and lively salad is perfect for Spring. Make it for a picnic, or a lovely vegan lunch. I made the dressing mild, but if you prefer it spicy, feel free to add more ginger or some red chili pepper, to taste.


Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in cold water, using a fine sieve. Cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water. I use a rice cooker to do this. Easy peasy.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your salad ingredients and make the dressing.


1 cup diced pineapple
2 cups broccoli, blanched *see how to blanch broccoli, below
2 medium carrots, sliced into matchsticks
4 scallions (green onions), sliced
A handful of soybean sprouts (or mung bean sprouts)
A handful of fresh cilantro and mint leaves, rough chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing:

1/4 cup pineapple juice
Fresh juice from 1-2 limes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil or avocado oil
2 tablespoons organic low sodium gluten-free Tamari
1 inch ginger, grated
A dab of agave, to taste

For garnish:

Lime slices
Chopped roasted cashews


When the quinoa is ready, scoop it into a large bowl and fluff it with a fork. Allow it to cool.

Make your dressing.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Taste test. If you prefer a dressing that has more fat, add a little more olive oil. Sweeter? Add a touch of agave, to taste. More citrus? Add more lime juice. More of a vinaigrette? Add more rice vinegar. More ginger? You know the drill.

When the quinoa has cooled, pour in the dressing and toss lightly. Add the pineapple, broccoli, carrots, scallions, soybean sprouts, fresh cilantro and mint. Gently combine the ingredients. Taste test for seasoning adjustments. Add some sea salt and pepper, if you desire.

Cover and chill to let the flavors mingle and get happy. Before serving, taste test and adjust seasoning. I usually add a squeeze of fresh squeezed lime juice and a little extra chopped fresh mint leaves before serving.

Cook time: 20 min

Yield: Serves 4

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Gluten free vegan quinoa salad recipe with pineapple
Vegan and gluten-free goodness, quinoa style.

How to Blanch Broccoli:

Blanching broccoli keeps the color vibrant. It also creates a perfect bite for salads. Tender-crisp. Not soggy.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the broccoli. Boil for 2-3 minutes only. Drain the broccoli and immediately plunge it into a bowl of ice water. When the broccoli is cool, remove and drain well.


J3nn said...

That sounds like a delicious combo! I have been seeing pineapple all day, I need to try it in savory dish. Hmm... I do have leftover quinoa. Hehe

Kalyn said...

Oh yum. This sounds fantastic, and I just got a big bag of quinoa from Costco. That can't be just a coincidence can it?

Pat @ gluten-free-around-the-world.com said...

This looks fabulous. I've been looking for recipes to perk up quinoa, and I love, love, love limes and ginger and cilantro and... How did you come up with this? Oh, it must have been the jeans...

My mouth is going to be very happy.

Thanks, Karina!

Me:: The Recipe Choreographer said...

Yes, yes, the summer jeans have been beckoning me too. In fact I stopped putting them in the dryer altogether hoping for a miracle. This is a fantastic way to usher in the lighter foods of spring. And Kalyn, I just got that same big bag of quinoa at Costco today too. I must have had a feeling some big quinoa dishes were coming my way.

The InTolerant Chef said...

What a nice, light dish. The pineapple and mint is the perfect touch, Yumm!

Susan Higgins said...

I found you a couple of days ago... I LOVE your recipes. Like you, I'm ready for the light dishes that scream warm weather is here. I'll try this recipe today; I have all the ingredients!

Stefania said...

Molto bella questa ricetta♥

Jackie said...

Perfect! (as always). For me, quinoa is best in this type of preparation--simple, bright, and fresh. I'm really intrigued by the combination of pineapple and broccoli. My BF is still in the process of joining us on the quinoa bandwagon, and given his love for pineapple and the other fresh ingredients in this recipe, this may be the one that encourages that final leap!

Brenda Alvarez said...

Oh man this is so getting made in our house. Keep em coming Karina.

tkkitchen said...

Oh my gosh, this looks so good! I love pretty much anything with pineapple thrown in.

-Katie =)

Gina @ Skinnytaste said...

This looks beautiful Karina, love your ever evolving design!

Angie Halten said...

I absolutely love quinoa so I eat up any recipe I can find with it. This one looks refreshingly summer! I so loved your comment about your summer jeans...it has to be the dryers fault that I have to squeeze into them every spring after a long winter. :)


Claire Patty said...

This looks exactly like the kind of recipe that I would like!! I SOOOO want this right now! We're getting a rice-cooker soon, so once we get it, I plan on cooking quinoa and making this as my first quinoa recipe. :) Thank you for such a great idea and I can't wait to try it!

Your recipes and blog are always so inspiring. Thank you!!!

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

This is such a beautiful dish!

Elizabeth said...

beautiful, just beautiful. printing this one out--will make for the family for sure.
peace and raw health,

Natalie said...

Hi Karina

You are a life saver! I just found out my eight year old daughter is highly gluten sensitive and you are going a long way to helping her feel less deprived about it all. Thank you.

In return next time you visit L.A. and you don't have a kitchen try these guys: http://thesensitivebaker.com/

Warmest regards

Lori said...

Karina, you post the tastiest quinoa recipes!

Can't wait to try this--such an unusual combination, but I love all the ingredients!

Pamela said...

This looks so yummy, I love quinoa on it's own but have been looking for more versatile recipes to use it in.

Angela said...

YUM, I love quinoa and always on the lookout for new recipes. I love apple-mint-pineapple juice, so I imagine I'll love this. Thanks for sharing!

Theresa P. said...

LOVE!!! the looks and sounds of this recipe. I have yet to try quinoa. this looks like the recipe to start with. Thanks, for all that you do.

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