Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Mint

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This healthy Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Mint is perfect for bringing to a potluck or serving with anything you’re grilling, like chicken , fish, or steaks.

Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Mint

Mint is always the first thing to pop up in my garden each spring, and I have tons of it growing right now. I love adding it to salads. If you’re like me and have a lot of it, too, then this quinoa salad will be an excellent way to use it up! The mint combined with quinoa, dried cranberries, fresh kale, and lemon juice results in a very flavorful salad that is also super easy to make. For more quinoa salad recipes, try my Grilled Mediterranean Chicken and Quinoa Salad and Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Salad.

Quinoa Salad

How to Cook Quinoa for Salad

When making quinoa to use in salads, I don’t like mushy quinoa. I have a couple of tips for cooking fluffy, delicious quinoa.

  • Rinse: Make sure to rinse your quinoa before cooking it. Quinoa has a coating that can make it taste bitter when cooked, but a quick rinse in a mesh strainer will remove it.
  • Water to Quinoa Ratio: Most package directions say to use two cups of water for every one cup of quinoa. I think quinoa tastes better with less water.
  • Use Tricolor or Red Quinoa: The texture is firmer and best for adding to salads.
  • Instant Pot: You can also make perfect quinoa in the Instant Pot.

Meal Prep Tips

This quinoa salad is great to meal prep and serve for lunches throughout the week. Make it ahead and refrigerate for up to five days.


  • If you can’t find tricolor or red quinoa, regular, brown quinoa will work.
  • Sub quinoa for another grain like couscous, barley, or farro.
  • Add cucumber or avocado for extra veggies.
  • Swap kale for spinach or arugula.
  • Add roasted pecans, walnuts, or almonds for some crunch.
  • If you want some cheese, try using feta or goat cheese.

Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries and MintQuinoa Salad ingredientsQuinoa SaladQuinoa Salad

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Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Mint

191 Cals 5 Protein 30 Carbs 6 Fats
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Lunch, Meal Prep, Salad, Side Dish
CUISINE: American
This healthy Quinoa Salad with Kale, Cranberries and Mint is perfect for bringing to a potluck or serving with anything you’re grilling.


  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1 cup tricolor or red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped kale, packed
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh spearmint leaves
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 medium scallion, thinly sliced


  • Bring the water and salt to a boil in a saucepan over high heat.
  • Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 18 to 20 minutes.
  • Fluff quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool.
  • Once cooled, in a large bowl combine the kale, dried cranberries, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and scallion.
  • Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve chilled.


Serving: 1/2 cup, Calories: 191kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 0.6g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g
Keywords: bbq side dish, quinoa salad recipes

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  1. I added a dab of honey just to satisfy the lil sweet buds I have in salads. Not sure if it adds some calories, but made me smile. I like the basil idea, i may try that next time. 🙂

  2. I like kale but find the leaves very rugged in salads any suggestions how to soften the leaves so it’s easy to chew and digest

    • You can toss the leaves with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, then massage them with your hands for a few minutes. It sounds crazy, but it helps!

  3. Sounds great and I plan to make a version of this soon but I am confused about the water to quinoa ratio.   You SAY that you prefer to use more water than the usual ( 2 cups water to one cup quinoa is usual) BUT your recipe calls for less than the two cups?!

  4. Love mixing quinoa with kale for a refreshing salad. I am definitely trying this. But I have question -In your comments you wrote that you like quinoa with more water but then you advise to cook it with a ratio of 1 2/3 cups water:1 cup quinoa when the package directions call from 2 cups of water:1 cup quinoa….am I missing something?

    • Sorry I just fixed I realize that was wrong. I use less water. Just follow the directions in the recipe card.

    • Like most rices a d grains, tenderness is a matter of personal preference.  I find a 1:1 by volume mix of quinoa and a veg stock or chicken stock yields an al dente texture which I prefer, a 1:1.5 fully absorbed gives a very tender texture. 

  5. This sounds and looks amazing, but just wondering if you could recommend something instead of the mint? I’d just leave it out, but was thinking there might be a different herb that you think could take its place.

  6. Is this correct? It seems like it should saw tastes better with less water or have a different water measurement than the typical package instructions? “Water to Quinoa Ratio: Most package directions say to use two cups of water for every one cup of quinoa. I think quinoa tastes better with more water, so I use one and two-third cups of water for every cup of quinoa.”