Quinoa Salad with Currants and Pistachios

I first tasted this beautiful salad when it was prepared in a cooking class I attended. Full of texture and flavors, it’s perfect for a holiday menu. This guest recipe was developed by Chef AJ, my friend and colleague in plant-based, SOS-free cooking.


Chef AJ of Eat Unprocessed has followed a plant-based diet for over 36 years and is a chef and culinary instructor in Los Angeles. She is also the creator and co-producer of Healthy Taste of LA. You can watch Chef AJ make this recipe on her show, The Chef & the Dietician. (Thank you to Wendy at Healthy Girl’s Kitchen for the gorgeous photo.)

2½ cups water
1¼ cups (8 ounces) uncooked quinoa
½ cup lime juice (about 3 large limes)
3 tablespoons lime zest (from the 3 limes above)
4 medium green onions (scallions), chopped
1 cup Italian parsley leaves, packed (1 ounce), finely chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed (1 ounce), finely chopped
1 cup currants
½ cup raw, unsalted pistachios, whole or coarsely chopped
½ cup pomegranate seeds (when in season)

1. To cook the quinoa, place it in a medium saucepan along with the water. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes. After cooking, set the quinoa aside to cool. (The quinoa may also be cooked ahead of time so that it is completely cooled when you are ready to assemble the salad.)

2. To zest the limes, use a Microplane or other small-toothed grater, and then juice the limes (it’s much easier to zest any citrus before juicing it).

3. Once the quinoa has cooled, place it into a large bowl and add all of the other ingredients, including lime juice and zest. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately or chill to serve later.

Preparation: 25 minutes (not including quinoa cooling time)
Cooking: 20 minutes (quinoa)
Serves: 6 to 8 (makes 8 cups)


Variations: If you do not have limes, orange juice and zest work well; raisins or chopped, dried cherries work well in place of currants; and chopped pecans work well in place of pistachios.

Quinoa: Quinoa comes in various colors: white/yellow, red, black, or a mix of all three. Any color works in this recipe; the multi-colored quinoa gives it even more visual appeal. To learn more about quinoa and see photos of the varieties, see my Holiday Quinoa Dressing recipe.

Serving size: This is a great party or special occasion dish for 6 to 8 people. Double the recipe if you are serving a larger group.


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  1. Judy DeJaegher says

    This was SOOOOO good. I can’t wait to make it for my vegan (and non-vegan) friends and family. I really enjoy trying at least one new recipe of yours every week or two. And I’ve shared your blog with several of my friends.

  2. Cathie Lypowy says

    I love this recipe!! I used crasins instead of currants and it was delicious. I just cook for myself so how long will the salad last in the fridge? I take some everyday for lunch.

  3. Karen says

    This looks great. Can’t wait to try it out for my vegan daughter. She has MS and is trying a vegan, oil free diet to reduce symptoms. Your recipes look ideal. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Hillary says

    This is the most delicious quinoa salad I have ever tried; a veritable flavor explosion in the mouth. So good! Thank you for posting this.

  5. Deb Christy says

    Love love love all your recipes and can’t wait to try this one of Chef AJ’s! For first time around I believe I will half it as I am making this for ME! Thanks again!

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