Quinoa Fruit Salad is a bright gluten-free healthy summer salad with seasonal fruits such as mangos, apricots and blueberries tossed with quinoa, mint and a zippy citrus honey lime dressing. (Step by Steps and Video Included)
Why you are going to love our Quinoa Fruit Salad
Don’t you love it when a salad is zippy! The mixture of the mangoes, blueberries, apricots, grapes, pineapple and cherries are sweet and vibrant. Usually, when we eat a fruit salad, we are hungry like five minutes later. Who is with us on that? However, protein packed quinoa keeps you feeling fuller longer. Quinoa is a little nutty and gives this salad a fun texture. Whilst, the citrus honey lime vinaigrette is a little tangy, sweet and aromatic. This super food fruit salad makes for one delicious refreshing fruity bite and it is just what you need to stay cool and happy this summer.
Super Easy Side Dish to Pass
Our fruity quinoa salad is a delicious light side dish recipe for a spring or summer BBQ gathering, light breakfast, brunch or lunch. You are going to love this fruity salad as it is so refreshing, and it takes under 30 minutes to make. This quinoa fruit bowl recipe is also happily gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free and a breeze to throw together. After all, who wants to turn the oven on when the heat index soars. If you looking for another tropical fruit salad, be sure to try our Tutti Fruitti Kale Salad and Citrus Honey Dressing.
Breakfast and Brunch Idea
We hosted a casual gathering with some close friends and whipped up this quinoa breakfast salad together in the morning along with a Stove Top Parmesan Leek Frittata. It was a huge hit! LOVE the fact this salad as you can made it a few hours in advance of your guests’ arrival. That gives you more time to entertain and less time in the kitchen.
You can use absolutely any seasonal fruits you desire and local to your region in this quinoa salad with fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, pineapple and apricots are in season now so that is what I attempted to put in my fruit salad. We say attempted as we had planned to use those delicious strawberries in our fruit salad. However, someone not mentioning any names, ate them all. Boys! Need we say anything more? We find ourselves writing “do not eat” on everything. If we turn our heads for one moment, food is gone. We threw in a few cherries instead. Mix it up and have fun.
We also make a delicious tropical quinoa Hong Kong fruit salad recipe with lychee, mangoes and Huang pi, like in our Huang Pi Martini.
If fresh fruits are difficult to obtain, you can also use strained “canned fruits” of choice.
Fruits to Avoid
The only caution we have for you is not to use as fruits that oxidize quickly like apples and pears. In addition, if you use fruits that bleed red like red dragon fruit, it will make your quinoa pink. You can see how bright the dragon fruit is in our Ginger Citrus Dragon Fruit Smoothie and in our Yummilicious Yang Mei recipes.
Not that there is anything wrong with that as it will still taste fabulous, but it will be slightly pink.
What is Quinoa?
Have you had a chance to try quinoa yet? Don’t worry if you had not had a chance yet, this recipe will give you something new to try.
Quinoa has been called the “mother of all grains” even though it is actually a seed instead of a grain. We think quinoa looks a little bit like couscous but maybe smaller. Quinoa is high in protein, fiber and vitamins and has also been called a superfood by scientists. However, we just like quinoa as I love its nutty flavor and fun little crunch when it is cooked. How about you?
The delicious little micro grains compliment a salad whether it be slightly sweet in a quinoa fruit salad recipe or in a savory salad like our Nutty Ginger Tamari Quinoa Salad and Quinoa Harvest Salad.
Quinoa is high in protein and has about 39 grams of carbohydrates per cup. However, because it has more protein and fiber than rice you need less of it to fill you up. Quinoa is gluten-free and is an ancient grain. An ancient grain is a grain that has been minimally changed by selected breeding over time, unlike corn and wheat and such.
How to Cook Quinoa
We made my quinoa according to the package directions the night before. However, you can also make it the day of and just put in the freezer to get it cooler, faster.
Quinoa needs to cook about 10-20 minutes depending on how large your batch is. The ratio of quinoa to water is 2 parts water for every one-part quinoa. You may also find quinoa in red or brown or white as I am using here today. You can use any 3 but I like the white quinoa in the fruit salad as it is a little milder.
Citrus Honey Dressing
The dressing could not be easier as it has only 3 little fresh ingredients; limes (or lemons), orange and a little honey. That’s it! How simple is that?!! There is no oil or salt just, pure and fresh ingredients and fruits that are colorful like the rainbow. Quinoa Fruit Salad is healthy and delicious and breeze to put together.
The great news is that measurements do not need to be exact. In addition, you can exchange with any fruits you desire. Displayed below are the ingredients we used for our quinoa fruit salad.
Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Feel free to swap out the honey in the recipe with maple syrup or sugar alternative of choice. Ripe fruit is sweeter, and you can use less sweetener.
You can add any in season fruit desired or even drained canned fruits. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mangoes, pineapples, kiwi, apricots, peaches, grapes, lychee, citrus are just a few examples of fruits to use. It is suggested that you do not use fruits that oxidizes quickly like bananas, apples and pears. In addition, you may want to avoid brightly colored fruits that have lots of red juice like red dragon fruit as these will turn your quinoa pink.
You can cook the quinoa up to 3 days in advance. You can prep your fruit up to 24 hours in advance and store in a separate container. However, we would not assemble your fruit salad until the day you are ready to serve. You can store your prepared fruit salad up to 3 days in a container in the refrigerator.
As you know, quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain. This bitter natural coating comes from a substance called saponin. Saponin has a bitter flavor which discourages birds from eating it. You need to wash your quinoa really well in a fine mesh colander before cooking. We actually like to rub the quinoa between our fingers to clean it really good. If you wash quinoa well, it will be mild and nutty flavor and not have any bitterness.
More Delicious Salad Recipes
This recipe was first published in April 2015 and has been updated for more detailed content, video and new photos.
Quinoa Fruit Salad
Quinoa Fruit Salad
- 2 cups quinoa
- 1 cup grapes
sliced in half - optional
- 1 whole apricot medium pit removed and chopped
- 2 whole mangoes peeled and diced - optional
- ½ cup strawberries or cherries sliced -optional
- ½ cup blueberries
Citrus Honey Dressing
- 4 tbsp orange juice
- 4 tbsp lime juice or lemon juice
- 2 tsp lime zest or lemon zest
- 1.5 tbsp honey or to taste (can exchange with sugar alternative or maple syrup as needed )
- 2 tbsp mint fresh roughly chopped (optional)
Cook the quinoa- If you already have cooked quinoa skip the next 2 steps.
- To make 2 cups of cooked quinoa, measure out ⅔ cup of dry quinoa. Wash very well until water runs clear in a fine mesh colander.This removes the bitter taste from quinoa seed. This natural coating of a substance is called saponin. Saponin has a bitter flavor which discourages birds from eating it so wash well. To cook the quinoa, you will use a 2:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa, or 1 and ⅓ cups of water for ⅔ cup of dry quinoa.
- Cook quinoa per label directions, which is generally bringup to a boil and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes with a lid or until allthe water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Set aside with lid onfor 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. If you are cooking a large amount ofquinoa it can take up to 2 minutes to cook. Quinoa is done cooking when thetiny spiral (the germ) separates and curls around the seed. You can cook your quinoa the day before and store inrefrigerator or make the day of and cool in the freezer to assist with coolingprocess.
- In a small bowl mix together your lime (or lemon juice), orange juice, zest of lemon (or lime) and honey until honey is incorporatedChop up your grapes, mangoes, pineapple, apricots, cherries and add your washed blueberries to your cooked and cooled quinoa.
- Add your citrus honey dressing to the quinoa and fresh fruit mixture, add chopped mint and mix well. Serve and enjoy.