Cucumber Mint Quinoa Salad

SaladVeganCucumberQuinoa

Quick easy quinoa salad with cucumbers and mint. Perfect for a summer picnic salad!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Are you a gardener? What kind of cucumbers do you grow?

I used to grow lemon cucumbers, but gave up because they got too big and seedy.

These days I’m growing Persian cucumbers, which are beautifully thin skinned, with delicate seeds. I usually pick them when they are still on the small side, but even when they grow as big as regular cucumbers, they’re still not at all bitter.

The cucumbers are just now coming in, which means every day I have a small harvest that needs to used (or given away to lucky neighbors).

Cucumber Quinoa Salad

This recipe is inspired by a quinoa cucumber salad I had while visiting my fellow gardener food bloggers Diane and Todd of White on Rice Couple.

Simple Cucumber Quinoa Salad

It’s wonderfully simple, just cooked red quinoa tossed with chopped fresh cucumbers and mint, and dressed with seasoned rice vinegar.

You can also add a chopped avocado to the salad if you want it to be a little more substantial.

By the way, quinoa looks and acts like a grain, but it’s actually a seed, and therefore higher in protein and lower in starch than most grains.

Cucumber Mint Quinoa Salad Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

If you don't have seasoned rice vinegar, just add a little honey or sugar and some salt and pepper to regular rice vinegar until you get the balance of sweet and sour you like.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa (we prefer red quinoa)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled if thick-skinned, unpeeled if thin-skinned (about 3/4 pound cucumber)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion or chopped chives
  • 3-4 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped (optional)

Method

1 Cook the quinoa: Check your package of quinoa. If it says to rinse it, then rinse it. If not, then skip. Place the quinoa in a 1 1/2 to 2 quart sized saucepan. Add the water. Add half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.

Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked. Remove from heat.

boil quinoa in water cooked quinoa in pot for salad

2 Cool the quinoa: Let the cooked quinoa cool to room temperature. You can help cool down the quinoa quickly by spreading it out on a sheet pan.

spread hot quinoa out in sheet pan to cool for salad

3 Prep cucumbers: Cut the cucumber in half in the middle. Then cut each half lengthwise into quarters. Scoop out most of the seeds and discard. Cut the cucumber pieces again, this time crosswise in 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick slices.

prep cucumbers for cucumber quinoa salad

4 Assemble the salad: When the quinoa has cooled, place it in a large bowl and gently with the cucumber chunks, the mint, and green onion.

Sprinkle with seasoned rice vinegar and toss again. Sprinkle with olive oil and gently toss. Add more salt or seasoned rice vinegar to taste. Gently fold in chopped avocado if using.

Combine ingredients for cucumber quinoa salad

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Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

10 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCucumber Mint Quinoa Salad

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Helen

    Delicious. I didn’t have any vinegar so I substituted fresh lime juice. Yummo. It’s my first quinoa salad and my unadventurous husband loved it

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Aric

    This is a great recipe, very light and healthy…and who doesn’t have mint growing like a weed in the kitchen garden. I improvised by adding some thin slices of Fennel, the white parts, and not too much so not overpower. A little fresh lemon juice. It was so delish already, the olive oil seemed unnecessary. Any color Quinoa would taste the same, but the red with the greens is very colorful! Wonderful recipe and I’ll make it again. Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Cindy

    This is so delicious! I make a lot of different quinoa recipes, and tested this one out for a derby day progressive dinner with 80 people. The planning committee loved it so we made a giant batch for the dinner on Saturday night. We had wonderful food, including bourbon marinated flank steak, duchess potatoes, and veggies and herb butter. But the one recipe talked about over and over by all of the people was this one!! People raved about it and I’ve shared it with multiple people already. We mixed red and white quinoa and included the avocado (which is never optional to me-love it!). Big hit! I’ll be making it all summer.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Nikki

    Elise, another winning recipe from you! I’m Asian, and *I* didn’t know I could use seasoned rice vinegar on something other than sushi rice, haha! I find myself coming back to you again and again for ideas. I fell in love with cooking in 2008, and your site is still on the top of my bookmark list after all these years.

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Emily @ don't miss dairy

    I just made this tonight to go along with grilled chicken. Wonderful recipe and easy to put together! Thanks so much!

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