Herbed Quinoa Salad

quinoa salad with fresh herbs, aromatics and Asian dressing

Herbed Quinoa Salad

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several culinary, health and nutrition professionals.  Brilliant individuals who have grown their passions into successful careers and practices.  One such professional is Frances Arnold, a Registered Dietician and Yoga Teacher and author of the website, Namaste Nutritionist

I read Frances’ blog often and I’m constantly inspired by her work.  So inspired I asked Frances if she’d write a guest post for Karista’s Kitchen.  She said yes! 

Not only did she write a post but she’s also shared one of her mouth-watering and beautiful recipes, Herbed Quinoa Salad.  I prepared it today and I have to tell you its divine.  Filled with the flavors of fresh herbs and aromatics combined with a lick your plate dressing.  Enticing, lush and tastes ever so slightly sensual.  I can understand why Frances chose this special dish to serve at her wedding reception. 

Thank you Frances for being a contributing author on Karista’s Kitchen! 

WHOLE FOODS vs HEALTH FOODS  by Frances Arnold

Keeping health and youthful good looks requires precious resources. Whole foods provide those precious resources in the form of countless compounds, whose synergistic dance is ancient and beyond full comprehension to mankind. When we eat nature-made food, our bodies sigh in relief, for this is real food that the body understands.

Whole, unprocessed foods help us look youthful and feel energized. They help prevent disease. In the US, one in two Americans will develop at least one chronic disease. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise are the leading causes.

Whole foods support brain health. This means more mental acuity, enhanced memory, and improved mood. Poor nutrition is linked with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Apple, anyone?

Many so-called “health foods” are highly processed and anemic of their nature-made nutrition. Food manufacturers manipulate the nutrients, then dress it up in a pretty package, hoping to win your dollars. These are new foods, and our bodies often don’t process them well. These foods charge us twice: once when we take it from the store, and then again when we’re fighting for our health.

Here are two simple tips to help you eat wholesome foods:

  1. Stay in control of your food by cooking at home with high-quality ingredients.
  2.  Eat REAL FOOD – the stuff that your ancestors would eat – as much as possible. These are the foods our bodies understand, which includes breast milk for babies, fresh produce, and grass-raised proteins.

Frances’ Bio:

Frances helps address weight problems, migraines, IBS, digestion, arthritis, brain fog, wimpy immunity and fatigue with delicious food and yoga.  She is a Registered Dietitian and registered yoga teacher.  Find helpful resources here: www.namastenutritionist.com

Herbed Quinoa Salad

All of the ingredients listed below will get you something scrumptious, no doubt.  Adjust the seasonings to suite your taste. Add either less or more of anything, according to your own good sensibilities.

Trust yourself. Your mouth and tummy will lead you to the right place.

Ingredients (it’s all approximate, okay?):

5 cups cooked quinoa

2 cups of chopped herbs (thyme, basil, parsley, cilantro, oregano. . . you get the idea)

1 cup chopped red onion or garden chives

1 cup toasted almonds (almonds can be whole, sliced, slivered, green, purple, psychedelic . . . however you like)


Remember: it’s all approximate. I’ve never measured my dressing out. I just taste it and decide when it’s good! You can do the same, or look up a recipe if you want.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

1-2 tbsp ginger juice

1-2 tbsp Tamari, Bragg’s Amino Acids, or Soy Sauce

1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1-2 cloves chopped garlic

A dash or two of cayenne pepper

Easy-Peasy Instructions:

Step 1. Cook the quinoa. It’s delicious when cooked in flavorful broth!

Step 2. Spread almonds into an even layer. Toast them at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The only rule is this: don’t let them burn.

Step 3. Wash and chop herbs, garlic, and onion.

Step 4. Mix olive oil, lemon or lime juice, Tamari and ginger juice (this is your dressing). Add chopped garlic and a dash of cayenne pepper. Blend well.

IMPORTANT: Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning to your liking BEFORE mixing into the salad.

Step 5. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and blend.

Step 6. Blend all the rest of your ingredients into the salad and mix well.

Optional: Top with edible flowers, such as pansies, calendula, honeysuckle or nasturtium. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, then follow me. You are in for a wild food adventure!)

Recipe from Frances Arnold, Namaste Nutritionist



  1. Saw it, loved it, want it! I’ve just put some nasturtiums into the ground too so hopefully by next spring//summer I’ll be enjoying some gorgeous home grown edibles just like these! A beautiful, beautiful recipe indeed!

  2. Stunning photo, Karista! This salad looks so pretty and is perfect for a sunny day like today. I love showering fresh herbs into salads and this one sounds marvelous. I enjoyed reading Frances’ lovely post and look forward to visiting her blog.

  3. I’ll be enjoying this later when we are at our summer cottage and I can pick fresh herbs from the garden.

  4. Karista, you definitely made a good-tasting salad look incredibly beautiful. Nice work!

  5. Wow, your photo alone drew me in. I’m looking forward to visiting this new blog, one can never have too many healthy recipes.. I love this one and have pinned it to try. Hope all is well in your world, Karista? xx

    • Thanks Smidge! You will love Frances’ blog. She gives fabulous and informative information and some yummy recipes too. 🙂 We’re all doing well here, I’m so thankful!

  6. YUM! Thanks for sharing! Our bodies love us so much more when we eat REAL food 🙂

  7. Beautiful and full of fresh, real goodness! Love the 2 cups of herbs. Off to check out your blog 🙂

  8. Fabulous-looking salad, with a truly yummy dressing! I have honestly tried to like quinoa, but to no avail, so we’ll be doing it with farro or freekeh instead…and LOTS of herbs 😀

  9. Your dish looks so pretty!

    • Thank you. Somedays I get a lucky shot. And then others, not so much. If only I were more consistent with my photography. LOL! Have a fabulous week!

  10. I know it isn’t the most manly salad to comment on, but damn this is beautiful! The perfect harbinger to springtime! Very impressive indeed!

    • Hahahaha! I think it’s very manly. My husband loves this salad and would completely agree with you. Thanks for the comment Jeff. Have a fabulous week 🙂

  11. The older I get the more aware I am of what I’m putting in my body. Love the points on whole vs health foods. And I love quinoa – and what a great recipe.

    • I’m the same Bill. I always think twice about what I’m eating. How will I benefit or will I feel terrible tomorrow. LOL! I’ll let Frances know you love the recipe. Thanks!

  12. I feel healthier already just reading your post. I eat quinoa all time but will have to try all the fresh herbs next time, like a fresh spring start. Wishing you a super weekend. BAM

    • I’ve always been a huge fan of fresh herbs but typically I make my quinoa salad the same way everytime. LOL! This was a lovely and refreshing change and I’ll definitely be making it again. I know you prepare a lot of healthy foods, you’d love Frances’ website. Have a fabulous week!

  13. Completely agree that eating simple unprocessed ingredients will benefit our overall health! The salad looks delicious!

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