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July 26, 2019

by Alyssa

Saffron Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad

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This easy Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad is made with fresh saffron quinoa, then tossed with tons of other goodies like carrots, mint, spring onions and dates.

Fluffy Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad

When I'm searching for the perfect side dish, my mind almost always jumps to quinoa. I love that quinoa is not only a superfood, but it's also versatile. You can use it a million different ways and it can assume all sorts of flavors.

We've pretty much run the gamut here in terms of flavors. We've got Mexican Quinoa Salad, Asian Quinoa Salad, Moroccan Quinoa Salad, Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.

I felt like I was running out of options until I thought about saffron. Saffron is an amazing spice that is used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking. And boom! It hit me: we needed to make a Middle Eastern quinoa recipe using this incredible ingredient!

How to make Fluffy Quinoa

How to make Quinoa Fluffy for Salads

If you're new to making your own quinoa salads, there is one major thing you need to keep in mind: the texture of your quinoa!

When you're making a salad, you want the fluffiest quinoa ever so that when you mix in your other ingredients it's not getting mushy and sticky.

So how do you make fluffy quinoa fit enough for salads? The simple trick is you need to let it cool. Completely! If you don't let your quinoa cool completely before mixing in other ingredients, it turns into a hot mess – literally. Sticky and mushy. Not light and fluffy.

Ingredients for Middle Eastern Quinoa

Ingredients for Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad

So I'll admit, I'm not like 1000% sure these are all authentic ingredients in Middle Eastern cooking, but the combo works and it tastes incredible. Especially the saffron quinoa base.

Here's what we're using for our middle eastern quinoa:

  • Saffron quinoa: we cook our quinoa using some saffron threads, salt, pepper, and water. It's amazing on its own, but fabulous in this salad
  • Vegetables: and then we're mixing in some shredded carrots and green onions
  • Medjool dates: which add sweetness and are just the best thing ever
  • Pine nuts/sunflower seeds: you gotta get in some crunch

And we're finishing it off with some lemon zest, fresh mint, olive oil and a dash of maple syrup. So simple, yet SO good!

Best Saffron Quinoa Salad

Is Quinoa Salad Healthy?

Quinoa salad is absolutely healthy! It's got quinoa in it which we know by looking at the quinoa nutrition facts is packed with plant-based protein, complex carbs, fiber and vitamins, and minerals.

And from there it's all about what else you're adding. If you're adding more veggies, awesome! Try to also get in some healthy fats and extra protein (especially if it's becoming a meal).

I don't personally like only eating quinoa salad as a main portion. I find it to be a little much for me. Instead, I enjoy quinoa as a side dish or do a serving on top of a bed of greens to bulk it up even more.

Israeli Quinoa Salad Recipe

How Long Does Quinoa Salad Last in the Fridge?

Quinoa salads are perfect for meal prep. Since you aren't typically adding lots of mixed greens (or greens that wilt easily), it will keep for 4 – 5 days. This Middle Eastern quinoa will last at least that long.

If you are using an ingredient that tends to wilt or brown – like arugula, mixed greens, avocado, apple, etc. – you'll probably want to enjoy your salad that day. Otherwise, meal prep the heck out of this thing and enjoy it all week long!

Healthy Quinoa Salad with Saffron

The Best Middle Eastern Quinoa Recipe

And just like that, we're here. Ready to dive into this amazing recipe!

I know that you're going to absolutely love this salad. We enjoyed it as a side dish while I was visiting my parents and had it alongside some grilled fish. It was perfection!

If you wanted to make this salad into a main dish, I would add in some massaged kale and a can of chickpeas. It gives you your greens and a boost of protein in there too.

Hope you enjoy it! xx Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad

More Cold Quinoa Salad Recipes:

Saffron Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad

This easy Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad is made with fresh saffron quinoa, then tossed with tons of amazing vegetables like carrots, mint, spring onions and dates.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 side servings
Calories 172kcal
Print Pin
Healthy Middle Eastern Quinoa Recipe
4.8 from 5 votes



  • Pour the quinoa into a small saucepan. Add water, saffron and a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring the water to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy. Allow quinoa to cool completely.
  • Transfer the cooled quinoa to a large mixing bowl. Add the carrots, onions, dates, seeds, mint and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Drizzle on the olive oil and maple syrup and toss again. Season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust with more if needed.


Serving: 0.5g | Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 292mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1450IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

Interested in Healthy Eating? Grab our 7-Day Vegan Meal Plan!

With a week’s worth of simple and healthy meals, Eat Clean will help you see just how easy living a life full of whole foods can be. Recipe are 100% gluten-free and vegan!

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