Citrus-Pomegranate Quinoa Salad

First of all, we have some super, super exciting news. After nearly a year of planning, planning, testing, cooking, writing, photographing, agonizing, organizing, not sleeping, and stressing, we are officially done with the manuscript for our second book! There’s lots and lots of work ahead for us, but this is such a huge, monumental milestone and we’re so grateful to all of you who have stuck with us, been patient through weeks of sweet treats (because we were busy writing actual dinner recipes for the book), and have given us hope that someone will buy the next book. We love you guys and can’t ever thank you enough for being the best blog readers ever.

In the last year or so, I’ve kind of been having a love affair with quinoa. It’s so versatile and delicious and healthy. It’s quicker-cooking than brown rice, but you can use it in so many of the same ways that we’ve started using it quite a bit instead of rice.

One of my favorite ways to eat quinoa is in salads (like this one or this one). I love this particular salad because it has pomegranate arils, which I love, but I can only eat in small quantities because the juice hurts my teeth (yes, I’m 90 years old) and smooth, creamy bites of avocado. You’ll need cooked quinoa, seeds from 1 pomegranate, about 1/2 of a red onion, 1/2 of a cucumber, 1-2 avocados, a can of drained and rinsed garbanzo or great northern beans, about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley, and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. For the dressing, you’ll need juice from an orange, lemon, and lime, a clove of garlic, a little bit of pure olive oil (extra-virgin is a little too strong here, at least for my taste), a bit of sugar or other sweetener, and a little more kosher salt.

Place the beans, peeled/seeded/diced cucumber, minced red onion, cilantro or parsley, and pomegranate arils in a large bowl…

and toss with your hands until combined.

Add the chilled quinoa and toss to combine. To make the dressing, whisk together some freshly squeezed orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, 2-3 teaspoons of sugar (or honey, agave, or Splenda if you prefer), 2 tablespoons oil, and about 1/2 heaping teaspoon of kosher salt. Drizzle it over the salad and chill until ready to serve. When you’re ready to serve, add 1-2 diced avocados (depending on the size of and love for avocados) and serve. This can either be a light meal or served as a side dish.



woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Silly question: can you eat pomegranite seeds? I’ve only tried one once and was at a loss as to how to eat it. Any help? Thanks!

    1. Check out the hyperlink that says “pomegranate arils” in the printable recipe and it will tell you exactly what to do (and not do…) with pomegranates! 🙂

  2. This looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it. We love quinoa at our house. It also makes a great bread and I love it in cookies with craisins and dark chocolate -yum. Can’t wait for your next book!

  3. I saw this post this morning and have been thinking about it all day! I have got to try it! Especially since it’s dairy free without me having to adjust the recipe. (Dairy protein allergies really stink sometimes.) Thanks!

  4. WOW!!! I made this for dinner tonight and my husband requested it for his birthday in March! I just hope I can still get the pomegranate 🙂 Thank you!!!

  5. With all this freaky warm weather we’re having, I thought this would be the perfect dinner (for me anyways, I knew the kids wouldn’t touch it), and it was awesome! I threw in some grilled chicken, and since I didn’t have any regular olive oil, I used peanut oil which was perfect. Funny story – I’ve never bought quinoa before, and when my daughter saw the bag she asked if it was birdseed. 🙂

  6. I love quinoa but our boys are kinda freaked out by it. I mean they aren’t even little… 12, 15, 17 so that ought not to be it but they are. I will have to try this recipe. How is it without the avocado? Yeah they don’t like avocado either but I think that’s my husband’s doing. I LOVE avocado (and quinoa, it even has a neat sounding name!!)

    1. Silly boys… 🙂 It’s fine without the avocado, but I really, really love it in there–it’s probably my favorite part. You could always add it to individual servings, though. 🙂

  7. Thanks for all your time and hard work in making a second cookbook so the rest of us mom’s can make delicious food for our families. I have never tried a cookbook that I like as much as yours and also that I can really make any recipe in the whole book and not be dissappointed!

      1. My guess is late this summer–it’s a holiday/seasonal cookbook, so we’re aiming for the fall! 🙂

  8. I love your first cookbook and am so anxious for the second one to be published! (I’ll wait patiently to hear when that will be.)

    Thanks for another quinoa salad recipe. Your Mango Quinoa Salad made my “Best of 2011” recipe list this year. This one sounds just as wonderful.

  9. Not that I’m counting or anything, but cilantro this week is 3 for 3. You know how much I love that stuff and that’s why you keep putting it in all your recipes, right?

      1. I noticed that they carefully put cilantro OR parsley – and I figured they put the /parsley in there just for YOU, Patti! (and me of course, cuz I hate cilantro too)!!! 🙂

  10. I love your first book and I got your calendar for christmas, and I am totally loving it! I cant wait for the second book! Congrats!

  11. Love the mango quinoa salad-can’t wait to try this one!! I have a huge bag of quinoa in my pantry waiting to be finished off! Just FYI-Costco has big bags of quinoa for an amazing price!!

  12. I love quinoa salads and this looks like a good one to add to my overgrowing rotation. I usually make a large bowl and eat them for lunches during the week. Thanks for this recipe!

  13. Oh man, this looks delicious! I joined a biggest loser competition that starts next week. This looks like a great lunch option!

  14. Oh my! That dark Quinoa is absolutely beautiful! I love the light stuff: my pantry is stocked with it, but man, I need to try the dark version! This looks incredible!

  15. So I’m a nerd and just bought your first book off of Amazon. It’s crazy, it 5 star fabulous. I needed new recipes apart from the old Mexican standbys I grew up with. Time to mix it up! Thanks for your wonderful blog and congrats on the new book!

  16. Thanks! I literally just opened up my pantry, saw my bag of quinoa, and thought to myself that I needed some more recipes. Perfect timing.

  17. So excited for the new book! Is it going to be formatted the same as your other book? I love all the pictures and the spiral binding so it lays flat!

    I’ve never tried quinoa (not opposed just never come across it when I’m shopping) but this salad is going to push me over the brink! Looks delish!

  18. Why is the Quinoa so dark? What kind is it? Looks really good and for some reason healthier than lightly colored quinoa. 🙂

    1. Erin, it’s black quinoa and I think it’s so pretty! 🙂 It had a little bit of a stronger flavor (it smells kind of like tea while it’s cooking) and it tastes kind of…fruitier, I guess. But you can use any kind of quinoa. 🙂

      1. Ahh, I was wondering the same thing – it IS pretty, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it!

  19. Congratulations on completing your 2nd manuscript. I cannot wait to see the new book! Happy Friday!

  20. This looks abundantly delicious, pretty, and healthy! I love your recipe theme this month.

  21. I totally learned something today. I’d never heard of quinoa until I saw this post. It looks like an awesome recipe, especially because it has pomegranate arils (didn’t know that word either) as well as cilantro in it. Thanks again!

  22. I love your first cook book and I cant wait for the second. Thanks for all your hard work. Congrates.