Sunday, May 11, 2014

Asian Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Celery, and Peanuts (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

I love the Asian flavors in this Asian Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Celery, and Peanuts.

Asian Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Celery, and Peanuts found on

This blog is about the food (and not about me) and I work pretty hard to keep it that way.  But since many of you will be seeing this recipe for Asian Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Celery, and Peanuts on Mother's Day, I do want to say a little about my amazing mom, who died far too young and left a hole in the hearts of her children that can probably never be filled.   Now I attempt to forget about that hole by spending time with the grandkids and great grandkids my mom never met or didn't get to spend nearly enough time with, and I think often about how blessed we were to have a loving, talented, and generous mom who put her children's needs above her own and literally would have done anything for us.  If you're lucky enough to be spending Mother's day with your mom, do everything you can to pamper and appreciate her, because you have no idea how much you'll miss her when she's gone.  And if you're a mom yourself, I hope you're having a wonderful day with your kids.

The internet and quinoa were two things my mom never did experience, but mom was a healthy eater who loved vegetables, and I have a feeling she would have liked this salad.  Jake and I tested this recipe after a long day of trying other dishes, and it took us two tries to get a dressing we liked, but that didn't stop us both from eating a good-sized bowl of it.  The barely-sweet dressing accents the chewy quinoa and crunchy vegetables perfectly, and if you're not a fan of one of the veggies I picked you can certainly substitute others that go with the Asian flavors.  Of course, this is my Meatless Monday pick for the week, and this delicious salad is so good no one will ever guess it's vegan.

(To find more meatless recipes click the label Meatless Monday or check Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.  I also share Meatless Monday ideas from other blogs for Meatless Monday at BlogHer, and have a great Meatless Monday Pinterest board.)

Nearly all quinoa needs to be rinsed, so put it in a wire-mesh strainer and rinse with cold water.

Bring 2 cups vegetable broth to a low boil, stir in the rinsed quinoa, reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook covered for 15 minutes.  Then turn off heat and let it sit for 5 minutes more.

While the quinoa cooks, thinly slice the sugar snap pes and celery, chop the red bell pepper, and slice the green onions.  (Chopping by Jake, he is a master!)

When the quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork.

Dump the quinoa into a bowl (big enough to hold all the ingredients) and let it cool while you make the dressing.

You can certainly use freshly grated ginger root in this, but for dressings I love this Spice World Ground Ginger Root, found by the Asian foods or in the produce department of many grocery stores.

Whisk together the soy sauce, ginger puree, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Agave Nectar (or other sweetener) and then whisk in the avocado oil.

Chop up enough peanuts to make about 1/2 cup chopped peanuts.

When the quinoa is pretty cool, stir in about three tablespoons of the dressing.

Stir in the chopped vegetables, add more dressing until the salad seems moist enough for you, and stir in the peanuts.  Serve right away or refrigerate for a few hours; enjoy!

Asian Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas, Red Bell Pepper, Celery, and Peanuts
(Makes 4-6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups vegetable stock (I used a 14 oz. can of vegetable broth and added a little water to make 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups diagonally sliced sugar snap peas
1 cup diagonally sliced celery
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup diagonally sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Dressing Ingredients:
(This will probably make more dressing than you need, but it's good over rice or cooked vegetables.)
2 T soy sauce (low sodium is fine; use gluten-free soy sauce if needed)
1 tsp. Spice World Ground Ginger Root or grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. Agave Nectar (or other sweetener of your choice)
3 T avocado oil (or other neutral flavored oil)

Put the quinoa in a wire-mesh strainer and rinse well.  (This removes a bitter coating on the quinoa.)   Bring the vegetable stock to a low boil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid.  When it boils, stir in the quinoa, reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover the pan, and cook 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 5 minutes more.

While the quinoa cooks, cut the sugar snap peas, celery, and green onions into thin diagonal slices and chop the red bell pepper into small pieces.  

When the quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork.  Dump the cooked quinoa into a bowl (big enough to hold all the ingredients) and let it cool while you prep the other ingredients.

To make the dressing, whisk together the soy sauce, ginger puree, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Agave Nectar (or other sweetener) and then whisk in the avocado oil.  (You can use any neutral-flavored oil if you don't have Avocado oil.)  Chop enough peanuts to make 1/2 cup chopped peanuts.

When the quinoa has cooled about 15 minutes, add about 3 tablespoons dressing to the bowl and stir to lightly coat the quinoa with dressing.  Stir in the vegetables and chopped peanuts, adding a little more dressing as desired.  Serve right away or chill for an hour or two before serving.

This kept pretty well overnight in the fridge, although I thought it was best freshly made.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This salad has lots of low-glycemic vegetables, but quinoa is restricted to Phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Wonderful Salads with Quinoa:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Spring Asparagus Quinoa Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette ~ Good Life Eats

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint ~ Kalyn's Kitchen

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad ~ Half Baked Harvest

Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes, Cucumbers, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. Your mom sounds amazing and it is such a shame she didn't get to meet all of her wonderful grandkids! Such a sweet post.

    As for the salad, this definitely sounds like something I would gobble up! I've really been on an Asian kick lately.

  2. Thanks Joanne. She truly was such a wonderful person; I hit the jackpot in the parents department.

  3. OMG i just discovered this blog and im totally in love!!! iM GOING TO MAKE EVERYTHING!!.................. :)

  4. Shared a delightful Mothers Day brunch at Silver Fork in the canyon today with my sons and grandkids. The restaurant power and generator failed after all the snow and wind, but we were happy to wait; then ate too much. After all that food, your refreshing quinoa salad and vegetables is just what I need to get back to eating lighter this week. I love all the ingredients.
    Kalyn, your story of your mother is touching.

  5. Such a sweet tribute to your mom, Kalyn, and a great reminder to treasure our moms. I'm so lucky to still have mine!

    This salad looks really terrific, but it would only be gluten free IF folks use gluten-free soy sauce. Most soy sauce is not gluten free because it contains wheat. There are gluten-free options from familiar companies like San-J and Kikkoman, but not all their soy sauces are gluten free.

    Have a great week!

  6. Hi Wanda; I'm glad you had a nice Mother's Day with the family.

    Thanks Shirley. Yes, you are lucky to still have your mom. I assume that people who are gluten-free use gluten-free soy sauce, but maybe I need to specify.

  7. I just realized that my comment about still having my mom probably sounded thoughtless and heartless. My sincere apologies, Kalyn. My heart truly goes out to you and others who don't have your moms. Thinking about life without my mom is very difficult.

    Many gluten-free newbies trust the "gluten-free" label on a recipe and don't know all the places gluten lurks when first diagnosed. But even as a veteran, I expect a gluten-free recipe to contain all gluten-free ingredients or note when a gluten-free version of an ingredient needs to be used. It's the safest route to go for readers for sure. I love that so many of your wonderfulrecipes are naturally gluten free or easily made so. :-)


  8. I am so sorry to read this. You talk with great respect about your mom. She must have been an amazing person.

    We are trying to eat more Quinoa in the house. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thanks Helen. She was such a wonderful mom. I guess I was lucky to have her for so long, but I sure miss her now.

  10. I certainly don't use quinoa often enough in salads, and it's so easy to make a batch in the rice cooker and have it on hand. Thanks for the reminder to do that more often.

  11. Lydia, this is the second time I've used it lately, and I am really like it.

  12. I love quinoa and don't eat it nearly often enough. Love this salad, too. Lovely words about your mom... nice that you're passing it on.

  13. Katie, I'm trying to eat it more often myself! Miss my mom so much, but so grateful to have had such a good one.

  14. chowing down on this right now. Delicious!

  15. I've made this twice now - delicious!

  16. Emily so glad you've been enjoying it!

  17. This is my new favorite salad. I find it to be just as delicious 3-4 days later, if it lasts that long! I will be taking this to our family reunion picnic! YUM!!! Thanks you!

  18. So glad you have been enjoying it so much!


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