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March 25, 2012 / earnesteats

Isabel’s Vegan Quinoa Salad Recipe


Hi friends – it’s been a too long since our last posting. I wanted to share with you today a delicious Vegan recipe from our friend Isabel Cruz (see above photo), celebrity chef and owner of Isabel Pearl in Portland, Barrio Star and Coffee Cup in San Diego and a number of other restaurants as well as her own cookbook – Isabel’s Cantina.  She’s been a great friend of mine for quite some time and I’ve always loved her latin-asian yet casual cuisine. If you like the recipe please check out her cookbook or restaurants at Please let me know how you like her recipe!

Quinoa with Green Olives and Red Onions – 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium red onion, diced
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ¾ cup green olives, halved and pitted
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan and cover with 2 cups cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat so that the mixture simmers.  Cover and cook until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the salt and pepper, and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes, and then add the bell pepper.  Continue cooking until the bell pepper has softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the olives, stirring well to combine, and cook for 1 minute more. 

Stir the sautéed vegetables into the quinoa.  Add the lemon juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the cumin, and cilantro.  Toss well to combine.  Serve the quinoa warm, at room temperature, or cold.  The quinoa can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 


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