This salad was based on a recipe by Katie Lee featured on the FoodTV show The Kitchen. It was originally made with green grapes, avocados, cucumbers, and a lime dressing. Obviously,  the idea was to have a sort of monochromatic green salad with bright and sharp flavors.  I changed things around by using red grapes instead. Red grapes are quite a bit sweeter, and added a contrast of color I found particularly pleasing. But, let me tell you, no matter what you decide to add to your quinoa salad, please try the cooking method I describe after the recipe.  It is nothing short of life-changing.  Yeah, you read me correctly. Life-changing. For better.

(adapted from Food TV Network)

(as written, it makes a lot of salad, I more or less halved this recipe, eyeballing most ingredients. I kept the amount of dressing unchanged)

Zest and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
2 cups green grapes, halved
1 1/2 cups diced cucumbers
fresh parsley, roughly chopped (or fresh cilantro)
1 avocado, diced

In a large bowl, whisk together lime zest, lime juice and olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Toss the quinoa, grapes, cucumbers, parsley, and avocados together with the dressing. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


to print the recipe, click here

Now, take a moment to look at the beauty of this  perfectly cooked quinoa.

cooked Quinoa
It is really too bad you cannot taste it through the screen, because the texture turned out sublime. The secret? Cooking the seeds in less water than most recipes recommend, and simmering them for only 6 minutes.  I cannot take credit for it, so here is the link to Elaine’s blog, where I found it.


And here is what I did…

For each cup of quinoa, add 1 + 1/3 cup lightly salted water

Bring to a boil in a saucepan…

Reduce heat, simmer for exactly 6 minutes. That is 360 seconds. Do not open the pan. DO NOT. (I will slap your hand if you try to open it… )

Turn the heat off.  Wait 20 minutes with the pan covered. DO NOT PEEK. DO NOT.

Open the pan (finally!), be mesmerized, amazed, awed by the beauty of the perfectly cooked quinoa, fluff the seeds gently with a fork and use them in any preparation you like.


For the salad, I simply allowed the cooked quinoa to cool to room temperature, and added all the ingredients plus the simple dressing. The salad keeps well in the fridge for several days and is a great option for a light lunch, if you so desire. Another tip I’d like to share with you: make sure the avocado has a firm texture and only add the pieces when you are about to serve the quinoa.  I did not care for the mushy texture of overly ripe avocados I used the first time I made this dish.  On my second time around, I also added sliced celery.  Turned out delicious, very refreshing. But, you know by now how much we love our celery…

Elaine, thanks so much for sharing your method for perfectly cooked quinoa!  
I won’t be cooking it any other way from now on…  
My life is changed. For better.


ONE YEAR AGO: Strawberry Coffee Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

THREE YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Brownies

FOUR YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos

FIVE YEARS AGOCinnamon Turban Bread

SIX YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin


  1. This sounds delicious! One of my favorite salads uses grapes, but I never thought to pair them with avocado. Fabulous! This will be on our table as soon as we return home. The kids will love this!


    • When you decide to try it, make sure to rinse it very well before cooking. Even if it says it is pre-rinsed in the package… and do use this method to make sure the texture will be perfect, not at all mushy…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d like to give it a try … just not too adventurous right now with the heat etc. Still, to keep my hand in, I made limonello tiramisu yesterday as, other than making the lemon curd, the rest of the process was assembly and chill/freeze. I don’t make the ladyfingers either … there ARE limits.🙂


  2. This sounds amazing ~ with simplicity like this, the ingredients can really shine. I just love the idea of fresh squeezed lime for dressing – that’s often all I need! Especially in the summer heat; so refreshing. I normally cook quinoa in our rice cooker and have always been pleased with the result but your life changing method definitely sounds worth a try😉.


  3. Sally, you know I love you. But I’m going to seem like a negative nelly here. First. I really dislike Katie Lee. So what? she was married to billy joel and has cooked for a few years. boo! and her voice really disturbs me. And then there’s quinoa. I really got in to whole foods even more extremely than i ever had before (I’m essentially a Californian) in the 80’s and 90’s, and it’s hard for me to go back. quinoa, kamut, teff, amaranth, blah blah blah. so, on the plus side, the salad really does look lovely, but i really don’t love quinoa’s taste. But I would make it with hulled barley!


    • Oh, Katie Lee gets on my nerves too… but I “smelled” a good salad in her recipe and decided to give it a try. Same goes for Rachael Ray, I can watch a few minutes before I start rolling my eyes to the ceiling, but many of her recipes are winners…. For the most part I can divorce myself from their persona and profit exclusively from the recipes. Now, that Guy guy, you know, the big blond one from Food Tv, Fiery? I cannot stand 2 seconds of him

      as far as quinoa goes, if you don’t like it, definitely try it with some other grain or make it a pasta salad with orzo… hummmmm….


  4. I guess I have not been visiting for awhile. What a nice reward when I stopped a minute to take a peek. I have always thought quinoa was overcooked or a little mushy for my taste. Can hardly wait to try this out. Thank you, thank, you, thank you. I know this method came from some where else but the point is, I don’t need the somewhere else when I have Bewitching Kitchen.


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