Pasta and Quinoa Salad

Anyone who knows me well knows that I absolutely love cookbooks. Few things are more enjoyable than curling up with a good cookbook  and a pad of sticky notes cut into little strips on a weekend afternoon.   I just love to go through and mark all the recipes that catch my eye, dreaming of one day making them all.

Recently, I had the chance to spend such an afternoon with Vegan Holiday Kitchen, and I’ll have to tell you, it was a very enjoyable time.

In addition to loving cookbooks, I love the holidays. A lot. I love any excuse to celebrate.

Case in point: We don’t have birthdays in our house, we have Birthday Seasons. (It is currently my soon to be 7 years olds birthday season and let me tell you…he is milking it. And I love every minute of it because he so reminds me of myself.  Well, except is isn’t constantly trying to talk people into foot rubs during his birthday season.  Yet.)

Anyhow, as if getting a new cookbook wasn’t enough, the fact that it was a holiday cookbook had me especially excited. I even made a special trip to the store to get sticky notes. A quick glance told me I was probably going to need to be prepared.  And I wasn’t disappointed!

Start to finish, Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas is simply amazing. The photography is stunning and the recipes will leave you drooling.



When I first heard the book was coming out, somehow I envisioned a book that only focued on the winter holidays.  Imagine my suprise and delight to find recipes for everything from summer entertaining, to Easter to brunches.  In fact, this pasta and quinoa salad recipe comes from the summer entertaining sections.  But don’t hold that against it.  I just had to try it be cause I LOVE new ideas in the kitchen, and frankly it had never occurred to me to combine pasta and quinoa. I’m actually kinda mad about that, but I liked it so much that chances are you will see this combination again. You’ve been warned.

I highly recommend this book!  It’s not the kind of book you use once and set aside, but one that you will refer to time and again.  Get your copy of Vegan Holiday Kitchen now!

Recipe reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Kitchen.  A courtesy copy of Vegan Holiday Kitchen was provided by the publisher.  That doesn’t change the fact that this book rocks. :)

Pasta and Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa (red, white or a combination), rinsed
  • 2 cups small pasta (tiny shells, ditalini, or other)
  • 8 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, cut into approximately 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped green pimento olives

  1. Combine the quinoa with 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer, than cover and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. If the quinoa is not quite done, add 1/2 cup water and continue to cook until absorbed. Allow to stand off the heat, uncovered, until at room temperature.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, then drain.
  3. Combine the cooled quinoa with the cooked pasta in a large serving bowls. Add the remaining ingredients except the last two. Toss gently but thoroughly.
  4. If time allows, cover the salad and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Just before serving, stir in the cherry tomatoes and olives. (Wendy’s note: try not to eat too much…this is good!)

Preparation time: 25 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Calories: 260

Fat: 8.6g

Protein: 6.3g

Carbohydrates: 37.3g

Fiber: 3.5 g

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

  • Catherine A Saxton

    i am brand new to quinoa and a new subscriber to your list so anxious to start learning to cook healthy, I tried the stuff in the box and let me tell you hubby was NOT impressed! Hopefully with going organic and following your cooking methods and having recipes that actually taste good will get back to what we started doing a year ago and fell away from…eating for better lifestyle.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Hi Catherine!

      So glad you stopped by.  I would have to agree with your husband that plain quinoa straight from the box is not all that impressive.  Think of it more like a blank canvas!  Let me know if I can help and good luck with you healthy lifestyle!

  • susann

    my quinoa was soggy (not fluffy) and didn't taste at all like i thought! then i read somewhere to rinse and soak before cooking…haven't tried that yet….not impressed

    • Wendy Polisi

      How did you cook it?  It sounds like you over cooked it or used too much water.  Properly cooked quinoa is fluffy!  You should rinse your quinoa if the package does not specifically say “no rinsing needed”.  This post may help you: