Beet and Cucumber Quinoa

Red quinoa on a wooden spoon.
Prep Time: 
60 minutes prep time
Number of Servings: 
serves 6
Recipe Source: 
From Eating From the Ground Up by Alana Chernila ($28, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2018)


  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1 14 cup boiling water
  • 14 cup plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 12 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed, divided
  • 8 oz cucumbers (4 small or 1 big), quartered lengthwise and cut into K-inch pieces
  • 14 cup roughly chopped fresh dill
  • 12 cup crumbled or cubed feta cheese
  • 2 scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
  • 1 12 lb beets (3 to 5 medium beets), cooked, peeled, and cut into small bites


  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve under cold water.
  2. Transfer quinoa to a medium saucepan set over medium heat, and toast, stirring constantly, until quinoa dries out and smells nutty, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add boiling water, 1 teaspoon of the oil, and 12 teaspoon of the salt, and bring mixture back to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Let cook undisturbed for 18 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from heat, uncover, and fluff quinoa with a fork.
  5. Transfer quinoa to a bowl about twice as large as you need to hold it. Let cool for a bit at room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, 30 to 45 minutes.
  6. Remove bowl of quinoa from the refrigerator, gently stirring and tossing quinoa to fluff it up again.
  7. Add cucumbers, dill, feta, scallions, lemon juice, remaining 14 cup of oil, and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt, stirring to combine.
  8. Gently fold in beets. Taste and add more salt, if necessary.


The dressing for this salad makes it cold and pickle-y, and it’s jeweled with roasted beets and cucumbers that keep crunching up over time. Red quinoa is a bit nuttier than white, and the deep color means the whole thing doesn’t turn pink from the beets. This is also a summer picnic stunner.

  • You can roast the beets for this salad, or if you have a pressure cooker, they go tender in 15 to 25 minutes, depending on their size.
  • If you already have cooked quinoa, this salad comes together quickly, but if you’re starting from scratch, give yourself a bit of time to let the quinoa cool.
  • The salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Info: 
308 Calories, 9 g Protein, 40 g Carbohydrates, 6 g Fiber, 14 g Total fat (3 g sat), 524 mg Sodium, ★★ Vitamin C, K,  Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Iron, Phosphorus, Potassium