Secret Recipe Club – Summer Quinoa Salad

It’s time to reveal the recipe for my Secret Recipe Club May assignment.  I love being a part of this group of food bloggers.  Not only has it introduced me to some very interesting people but, it has definitely widened the aperture of my food lens.  This month I was assigned Sweetly Serendipity and immediately smiled when I read the blog tagline: for the love of sugar, happiness and serendipitous occasions!  I immediately started scouring the amazing variety of recipes

I knew I had something in common with Taryn, the woman behind Sweetly Serendipity.  As I read about her life, she explains how most of the items she cooks and bakes are inspired by a specific person or a certain circumstance in her life.  She truly enjoys showering those she loves with good eats.  That’s certainly why I starting writing my blog and I can now relate to the pure satisfaction involved in providing good, nourishing food.

Taryn tempts her readers making recipes that are enticing by name alone. Then she adds in gorgeous food shots that literally make your mouth water.  Who wouldn’t want to make her Raspberry Chocolate White Chocolate Whole Wheat Waffles (nope, there’s no typo there), Brown Sugar Raspberry Rhubarb Crumble or Meyer Lemon Bread w/Blood Orange Glaze? I leaf-eared at least 20 recipes to put on my summer “To Make” list.

I chose to make Taryn’s Summer Quinoa Salad because I knew my family would be outside by a BBQ all weekend celebrating summer’s official kick-off. And (gulp) even though I adore Quinoa salad of any kind, I’ve never actually made it myself.  Lucky for me, at the Techmunch conference last week I received a swag bag filled with Organic Quinoa. I had no idea Quinoa (keen-wa) was a staple of the ancient Incas and means, “the mother grain”.  It’s high in iron and phosphorous and also a good source of iron and riboflavin. Its cooked fluffy texture makes it a staple for many casseroles, pilafs, and many salads.  I was ready to finally cook some quinoa in my own kitchen.

Getting my Quinoa on

I love that Taryn highlights her recipe is open to interpretation.  I cooked the Quinoa and used many of the ingredients Taryn recommends but then, added some new ones in along the way.  Much like making a smoothie in the blender,  this recipe can be adapted to whatever you have available in your pantry or fridge. Feel free to alter the recipe as you’re cooking.  While the Quinoa does have a distinctive flavor, I’ve learned it pairs nicely with most dried fruits and sautéed veggies.  It’s like it best when served cold–it’s light and refreshing as a side dish to any grilled fish or meats.  We served it with grilled beef and turkey burgers and hot dogs.

While Taryn used corn and roasted red peppers in her recipe, I decided to hold off on the corn until August when I can get freshly picked, in season corn from the local farmer’s market.  I’m also not a huge fan of roasted red peppers so I substituted red onions which I sautéed with zucchini (Taryn grilled her zucchini).

Zucchini – ready to get sauteed

I also added in some diced dried apricots I had in the pantry.  They added an unexpected sweet  flavor to the grains and veggies but, any dried fruit would work (cranberries, raisins, apples).  Feta is the one ingredient that should not be removed from the recipe.  It brings a ton of creamy, soft flavor to the mildly bitter grain.  And, the combo of the cheese with the fruits and veggies is seamless.

This salad only took about 20 minutes to throw together and we been eating the leftovers for two days!

I now have an easy summer salad in my rotation and can’t wait to explore the sweeter side of Sweetly Serendipity.  If you haven’t visited Taryn’s blog yet, what are you waiting for?



  1. You picked a perfect recipe! So light, refreshing, great for the season!

    Hope you are having a great Memorial Day, and a blast with the SRC!

  2. This looks absolutely perfect for this time of year – and I cannot lie – I’d like to sort of figure out how to taste a bite through the screen. Fantastic choice!

  3. What a versatile dish! (visiting from Group D)

  4. This looks great! I am always looking for new side dishes and things to do with quinoa! I will have to try this!

  5. This looks awesome. I can never get quinoa to cook properly, but I may just have to give it another try with this recipe!

  6. I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe – you managed to find one of the few that don’t involve loads of sugar! Reminds me too that I should try this recipe again sometime soon. Your salad looks fantastic as well – and thanks of course for the kind words. Happy cooking! 🙂

  7. I just started cooking with quinoa and we are really liking it..we are actually having it for dinner tonight! Your salad looks great…terrific pick for SRC!

  8. Judy, I tried to link up to your party, but it won’t accept my entry. I had a Baked pork chop and brown rice recipe that I wanted to share. The link is in my ‘Made From Scratch’ Monday recipe carnival, which you are invited to share in if you are interested. I tried to put my link in this comment for you to submit, but it won’t let me do that either.
    Your recipe looks so tasty. I have only cooked with Quinoa a few times, but each time has been a great experience. I really should use it more and hope to actually grow it for myself next year. It is so expensive in the stores. I believe that I’ll have to give your recipe a try ☺ Thanks for sharing!

    • Mary Hudak-Colllins » the party is just for people in the Secret Recipe Club to link up their recipes to showcase : ( I will definitely add my link to your Made from Scratch Party! thanks for stopping by!

  9. I’m always looking for a good quinoa salad recipe. Great pick for SRC!

  10. Taryn is so great! And so is quinoa. It’s a staple around my house for sure. Such great protein = less meat = better for me and the planet. i love it! And quinoa salads are KEY in the summer time. you can pair anything with them 🙂

    happy SRC reveal!

  11. recipes we love says:

    oh yum looks delish

  12. i love quinoa + this salad looks just wonderful. perfect accompaniment for all the grilled chicken, fish + meat that i love in the summer time!

  13. I love Taryn’s blog! This looks like a wonderful recipe — I’m always looking for new twists on the quinoa salad!

  14. That makes sense now. Thank you for explaining. I am happy to see you over at our recipe carnival. It’s a pleasure to find your site and follow. I read a lot of great recipes yesterday ☺

  15. I’m always looking for new quinoa recipes to try and this has definitely been added to my list! I’ve never put zucchini and quinoa together, but I love both so I imagine it’s amazing!

  16. YUMMY! That sounds amazing. I need to use quinoa more!

  17. I love salads when the weather gets warm. This looks delicious!

  18. This is a great Salad that we would just love! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week end!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

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