Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Cranberry Quinoa Salad Recipe! It's loaded with crunchy sunflower seeds, fresh bell peppers, scallions, sweet cranberries, and a honey lemon dressing! 233 calories per serving

It’s been too long. But rest assured; I’m back


I made you a salad—which, well, isn’t quite a pan of brownies, but I promise you, it’s lovely in its own right. This cranberry quinoa salad recipe is loaded with crunchy sunflower seeds, chopped fresh bell peppers, scallions, sweet cranberries, and a bright honey lemon dressing!

Cranberry Quinoa Salad Recipe! 233 calories per serving

This wholesome and hearty mix is a riff off of Anne’s pretty perfect recipe. It’s sweet, tart, and fragrant all at once, which just can’t be beat. And beyond the flavor, it’s filling, too, which makes it a great make-ahead lunch for busy weekdays. But I’ve also made this for parties as a healthy side dish and gotten rave reviews from friends and family!

Hope you love it, friends!

Cranberry Quinoa Salad

This salad is perfect for the holiday season
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: holiday cranberry side dish, quinoa salad recipe, quinoa salad with cranberries
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 357kcal


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 scallions finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries


  • Cook the quinoa in the chicken broth according to the package directions; set aside to cool.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the fresh lemon juice, honey, and olive oil. Add the salt.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa with the parsley, scallions, bell peppers, sunflower seeds, and cranberries. Pour the lemon dressing over the top and toss to coat well.
  • Serve immediately at room temperature or cover and chill to serve cold.
  • The quinoa will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 565mg | Potassium: 306mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 475IU | Vitamin C: 11.3mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2.5mg


31 thoughts on “Cranberry Quinoa Salad

  1. Cinnamon Vogue

    Wow, I have got to say I have never had Quinoa. It thought it was like Couscous. But this recipe had me googling and I discovered Couscous is a form of Pasta and Quinoa is a whole grain. Quinoa is apparently rich in Protein, Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese and lysine, hence why it is considered a super food. It dates back three-four thousand years when the Incas realized Quinoa seeds were really good for you. Thanks for an interesting recipe Andie. I learnt something new today and lovely recipe to try out.

  2. Mari

    My daughter and I had lunch yesterday at a really sweet little cafe where we had couscous (similar in texture to quinoa) nearly the same as this recipe – and it was so good!! We were trying to figure out all the ingredients and so, we’ll make your recipe and then for the ‘sweet cafe variation’ we’ll add saffron, and slivered almonds for crunch. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us.

  3. Diane @ Vintage Zest

    I have had quinoa every which way for years, even before it was popular here in the U.S. In sweet porridges, crisped up in savory patties, and stuffed into peppers instead of rice. It’s such a versatile grain that it can’t be put into one category. The thing that’s interesting about this recipe is that it confuses me! I can’t decide from seeing the pictures, ingredients, and method is how it would turn out. The closest thing I can guess is that it would be like one of those rice pilafs with dates or barberries in it, like Zereshk Polow (which I totally love)? I’m up for trying it either way, thanks!

  4. tracie

    I have never really been that keen on quinoa- mainly because I never knew how to pronounce it! However isnt it funny how our tastes change as we get older, because I have recently rediscovered it and couscous too and I love them both! This looks like a great recipe and very healthy so am going to try it out this weekend. Many thanks for posting it!

  5. Lisa @ Elle Sees

    Sounds delicious! Will be adding this into the lunch rotation. Also, a fun fact about scallions: did you know you can put the bulbs in water and a whole new scallion will grow within days? I just tried it last week and it really works!

  6. Hootie

    Looks great! Love craisins!!! I have some red quinoa in the cabinet, my health nut friend suggested it but I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet. I also just created a twitter account and followed you on it. Not sure how I will like it never tried twitter before. I spent about 10 mins on there and got overwhelmed :)

  7. Tara

    I lived in Ecuador for a few years as a teen and they are very into Quinoa. It grows there too. I was introduced to it as a side dish, they would add fresh cheese and salt and serve it like rice. I loved it then and I still love it now. (It’s pronounced KEY-no-wA) I’ve made many a salad and added Quinoa to it but I’ve never done a salad with it as the main ingredient. I’m going to have to try this. I love your blog and recipes. I’ve only just came across your story but I’ve already tried 2 of your recipes and we were all amazed at how good they were.

    Thank you for sharing your story Andie! Keep the good food ideas coming! :)

  8. Liam Rubel

    The recipe so simple and also looks delicious. It is healthy and of low calories, can be added to the diet meal plans.

  9. Jule Dragstrem

    I am very worried about my 11 year old daughter’s best friend. She is 9 years old and morbidly obese. The rest of the family is overweight, but not obese. She eats many healthy foods( fruits, veggies, granolas, etc). Her family tries to encourage her with exercise like swimming, walking to church, being on the Upward basketball team. Kids make fun of her and other parents make assumptions about the family. Any ideas? I just don’t want her die young or hate food and exercise(especially this – she is starting to hate it). The dad has a tendency to be sedentary.

    1. Kate

      My suggestion would be to stop analyzing her weight, and just appreciate her as a person. Overweight people know they’re overweight, and have probably heard all the “advice” and “eductation” and criticism they need for a lifetime by the time they are 11. Others’ weight is not your business.

      1. Tara

        Very well said Kate! My husband was a big boy growing up and has self esteem issues now as a 40 yr old because of how others judged him as a child. He didn’t grow up obese as once he hit puberty his body changed. Children might have weight issues but as long as they are loved and taught proper eating habits and exercise, and not judged they will grow up fine.

      2. Jule Dragstrem

        First, you know nothing about me. Her mother and I are very close, like twins separated at birth. Even other friends of ours see it. This not just a random friend. Her mom was very worried last night when she tried on an adult women’s size 16 and it would not zip. This makes me worry. Even my daughter is concerned.

    2. Kirthan

      If there is a real problem then their family doctor should be looking into it. However, I was overweight when I was 9 and 10. Adults made comments about it and other kids teased me. By the time I was 11 I had slimmed down because my height caught up with my weight but by then I was convinced I was fat. It did a lot of psychological damage and later on in my late teens/early 20s I did end up becoming really overweight. I sometimes wonder if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      If you are truly concerned then maybe you can talk to the child’s parents and suggest that they go to a doctor but you have to be extremely careful about overstepping boundaries. As others have said, an overweight person doesn’t need to be reminded that they are overweight.

      1. Jule Dragstrem

        Please. I came to you for help, not nastiness. I am WORRIED! Her mother is extremely worried. We do not dwell on this. They went to a nutritionist who gave them tasks to do. She still lost no weight and was kicked out of the program(school recommended program). The family is not very tall. I know she may grow. How much, I don’t know. Think before you respond folks. You tell me words hurt, but didn’t you just do the same thing to me.

    3. Andie

      Hi Jule,

      First, I admire your concern and I have to believe you’re a good person who really wants the best for the girl.

      My advice would be not to say anything. I know it sounds as though I’m asking you to be complicit with morbid obesity, and that I’m telling you to twiddle your thumbs as a young girl goes down a rocky road with health and her body, but really, it’s just…she already knows. Her parents know. The kids at school know.

      I mean this lovingly when I say: the only thing that comes from bringing it up (or making overt suggestions that you all watch what you eat when she’s around) is a feeling of being betrayed and somehow violated. I’d imagine she thinks of you and your home as a safe zone, and so, for her to even have an inkling that there’s judgment on your part (albeit in her best interest) would make her feel vulnerable. Please know that I say all of this having grown up as a very, very fat kid. Not a single comment that I ever received from any well-meaning adult ever made one bit of difference. If anything, it hurt.

      As for the parents–I really don’t know their temperaments but I imagine that they’d simply get defensive at even the slightest mention of concern. Even your best effort will be considered rude and off-putting. It’s hard, because I know you mean no harm, but I find that, for parents–whose greatest soft spots are their children–having their parenting questioned in any way feels like a massive, alarming attack.

      The best thing you can do is this: when the girl comes over, try to lead by healthy example. Take the girls out, if you can, and do active things. Eat well–but not restrictively, just normally, with balance. Kiddos still need treats.

      I hope this helps a bit. The girl is lucky to have a caring adult in her life, like you.


      1. Andie


        I can’t stop thinking about this. And now, I’ve started to worry that perhaps the little girl truly is in medical danger because of her weight. If she is–disregard all of my advice above and talk to the parents immediately. Even if your relationship with them becomes strained, the girl’s health is far more important.


        1. Jule Dragstrem


          Is there a way I can get ahold of you. Email, Facebook, something. I need you to give her mom some advice about cooking, give us all some advice about this beautiful wonderful child.

  10. Sandro

    I tried quinoa for the first time a week ago and ate the whole bowl..really love it! i’ll need to try this recipe, it looks delicious!

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  12. Lisa @ Elle Sees

    An update: I made this for lunch this week and it is delicious! The light, sweet dressing is perfect, and the dish is such a great balance of tastes. Cooking the quinoa in chicken broth was key. Highly recommend!

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