Easy Costco Inspired Quinoa Salad

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Step up your summer salad with this easy and healthy quinoa salad recipe. Packed with fluffy quinoa, freshly chopped vegetables, and a zesty lime dressing this homemade salad is perfect for picnics, potlucks, bbqs, and more!

A black bowl with quinoa salad topped with two lime slices and a fork in the right side of the bowl with two small black bowls in the back and a colorful dish towel to the left.
Costco Quinoa Salad

There are many reasons to love Costco. Bulk food makes meal planning and meal prep a breeze! But one of the things most people might not know about Costco is the incredible sides and pre-made recipes perfect for serving up with lunches and dinners.

One of my favorite pre-made recipes at Costco is their Quinoa Salad. It’s a filling salad made with fresh vegetables, a blend of quinoa and rice, and tossed in a lemony dressing. It makes a wonderful side dish, especially during the summer.

While picking up the pre-made salad at Costco is quick and easy, it’s not always the most cost-effective option. So I set out to make a healthier version that is also lighter on the wallet.

Costco’s Quinoa Salad

This homemade version has many similarities to the Costco recipe. They are both made with quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, and a vinegar-based dressing. The Costco recipe also includes lentils, rice, bulgur kale, cilantro, and an oily dressing sweetened with processed sugar.

My version is made with parsley, sprouted mung beans, and a lime dressing sweetened with honey. It’s a simplified version of the Costco recipe since you only need to include one grain instead of two.

Why we love this Quinoa Salad

Aside from being healthier and cheaper to make, here are just a few more reasons to love this summer salad recipe:

  1. Makes a delicious side dish or can easily be served up as a meal.
  2. Easy to adapt and make variations by adding in different ingredients.
  3. Keeps well in a lunch box, making it a great lunch prep recipe.

How to make quinoa salad

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Quinoa – You can easily use cooked red, white, black, or tri-color quinoa. I prefer to use cooked white quinoa as it has a mild flavor.
  • Sprouted mung beans – They add a crunch to the quinoa salad along with a dose of protein and fiber.
  • Cucumber– Finely chopped, cucumber adds a refreshing crunch and flavor to the salad.
  • Roma Tomato – Adds a softer vegetable to the salad as well as a pop of color.
  • Bell Pepper– I use a deseeded, finely chopped red bell pepper.
  • Parsley – Fresh, finely chopped parsley gives the quinoa salad a bright, fresh flavor.
  • Seasoning – A blend of salt and pepper add just the right balance of flavor to the fresh vegetables and dressing.
  • Dressing– This summer salad is lightly coated in a dressing made of lime juice, vinegar, and honey.

Step by Step Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together quinoa, mung beans, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix together lime juice, white vinegar, and honey until they are well combined.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well to combine.
  4. Serve at room temperature.
A top down photo of a black bowl filled with easy quinoa salad and topped with two slices of lime and a spoon in the top right of the bowl with a colorful dish towel to the left side and a small wooden bowl with cucumbers in the back.
Favorite Quinoa Salad

Recipe notes

  • For instructions to cook the quinoa, follow my directions for Instant Pot Quinoa.
  • Allow the quinoa to cool before making the salad.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Quinoa– Use red, black, or tri-color quinoa in place of the white quinoa.
  • Bell pepper– Swap the red bell pepper for green, orange, or yellow. The flavor might vary slightly.
  • Honey– To make this a vegan recipe swap the honey for agave.

How to prep ahead

This is a very great salad for making in advance. Here are a few of my tips for prepping ahead.

  • Make the quinoa in advance and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the salad.
  • Chop the vegetables a day in advance and simply toss them into the salad the day you want to assemble.
  • Assemble the entire salad up to 3 days in advance and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Storing Quinoa Salad

Keep this fresh salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days after making. The cucumbers will start to soften after a day or two.

Variations / recipe modifications

  • Add a cup of cooked chickpeas.
  • Mix in chopped kale, as much as desired.
  • Stir in a cup of cooked bulgur.
  • Add a cup of cooked brown rice.
  • Mix in some pomegranate seeds to add some crunch and color to the salad.

What goes well with quinoa salad?

This light and refreshing summer salad pairs well with many different recipes. Here are a few different ideas for serving the salad.

  • Top it with grilled chicken or shrimp for a protein packed lunch.
  • Serve it at a potluck, BBQ, or picnic as a simple summer side dish.
  • Pair it with a burger fresh off the grill.

Frequently asked questions

Is quinoa salad healthy?

Yes! This is a very healthy side salad recipe. Packed with fresh vegetables, protein rich quinoa, and dressed with a homemade dressing this salad is not only good to eat, it’s also good for you.

Is quinoa salad served hot or cold?

Personally, I prefer to serve this salad at room temperature. You can also opt to serve it cold but I would not recommend serving it hot.

What ingredients are in Kirkland’s quinoa salad?

The Kirkland’s brand salad is made with rice, lentils, bulgur, quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, kale, cilantro, sugar, vinegar, oil, and lemon juice.

Is Costco quinoa salad vegan?

Costco’s quinoa salad is naturally vegan and gluten-free. This copycat recipe uses honey to sweeten the dressing instead of sugar but you can easily swap agave for honey to keep the recipe vegan.

Two small black bowls of quinoa salad with a spoon in between the two bowls and a small brown bowl to the back left with cucumber slices and a colorful dish towel on the left side of the photo.
Easy Quinoa Salad

Other healthy recipes you’ll love

  1. Corn Salsa – Try this non-traditional way of making corn bhel or corn chaat* and you’ll be hooked.
  2. Grilled Honey Garlic Salmon– This 15-minute grilled honey garlic salmon is perfect for days when you crave a fancy meal but don’t want to pay for it or spend hours making it.
  3. Air Fryer Roasted Chickpeas– This crunchy and spicy chickpea recipe comes together with 6 ingredients and can be ready in under 30 minutes for a naturally gluten-free and vegan snack!
  4. Asian Style Sauteed Green Beans– Spice up your vegetable routine with this flavorful Asian-style sautéed green bean recipe! 
A black bowl with quinoa salad topped with two lime slices and a fork in the right side of the bowl with two small black bowls in the back and a colorful dish towel to the left.

Quinoa Salad

5 from 1 vote
Healthy and easy quinoa salad comes together with fluffy quinoa, fresh vegetables, and a zesty lime dressing. Perfect for summer potlucks, bbqs, and picnics.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Diet : Vegetarian
Course : Main Course
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : American

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped roma tomato
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the ones used in the dressing.
  • Make the dressing – mix lime juice, vinegar and honey till they are well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well to combine.
  • Serve at room temperature.
  • Stores well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Notes

  1. For instructions to cook the quinoa, follow this Instant Pot Quinoa recipe. 
  2. Allow the quinoa to cool before making the salad.
  3. Can be assembled up to a day in advance. Bring it to room temperature before serving. 

Variations
  1. Add a cup of cooked chickpeas.
  2. Mix in chopped kale, as much as desired.
  3. Stir in a cup of cooked bulgur.
  4. Add a cup of cooked brown rice.
  5. Mix in some pomegranate seeds to add some crunch and color to the salad.

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 224kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 12gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 402mgPotassium: 725mgFiber: 9gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1221IUVitamin C: 37mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : Authentic, copycat, Costco salad

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