Japanese inspired quinoa salad with soy sauce vinaigrette dressing

Japanese inspired quinoa salad

I’m going to let you in on my tiny secret; I have kept this recipe from all of you for far too long and good things are meant to be shared. This is the BEST quinoa salad ever. If you ever need convincing about quinoa, this is the one dish you should try.

After being introduced to quinoa last year, I have been smitten by this humble seed. I have been eating quinoa salads at least once a week since then. They are perfect when you have been eating too much rich/oily food throughout the week and just feel like having something lighter.

quinoa (1)

Having tried different variations of  making of quinoa salad, I have to say that this is my absolute favourite; it is practically second to none.

I find myself going back to this quinoa salad time and time again, week after week because it is just so delicious. I even (almost) convince my cucumber-phobic sister to eat her cucumbers in this salad.  It is the first time she has eaten cucumbers willingly, with the disclaimer “as long as there aren’t too many cucumbers, they are fine in the salad.”

quinoa (3)

I have made variations of this Japanese inspired quinoa salad, adding or subtracting an ingredient (mostly ingredients found in the Japanese cuisine) and they are work well with this dressing.

You can cook a large quantity of quinoa at the beginning of the week and store it cling-wrapped in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week. The vinaigrette dressing could also be made in advance for up to a week and stored in the fridge.

Now that I’ve let you in on this little secret, will you be giving this quinoa salad a go?

quinoa wakame

quinoa (6)


Recipe: Japanese inspired quinoa salad with soy sauce vinaigrette dressing
Serves 2 for hearty salad meal

1 cup white quinoa seeds
1.5 cups tap water
pinch of salt
1/2 Japanese cucumber, sliced thinly
1/2 punnet of cherry tomatoes (about 125g), sliced into halves
1 tbsp dried wakame (Japanese seaweed), soaked in tap water for about 5 mins
1/2 ripe avocado, cut into 1 cm pieces
3 tsp tobiko (flying fish roe)
2 tsp sakura denbu (Japanese fish flakes)

For the soy sauce vinaigrette: (ratio of soy sauce:rice vinegar: grapeseed oil is 1:1:2)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp grapeseed oil

Other possible additions:
– salmon slices (sashimi grade)
– salmon roe
– shaved bonito flakes
– dried cherry tomatoes
– perfectly boiled molten egg
-cooked enoki mushrooms (straw mushrooms)

1. Prepare the quinoa: Wash the quinoa seeds in running water thoroughly and soak it for about 20-30 minutes before cooking (to remove the coating of saponin that lies in the outer husk of the quinoa that gives it a bitter aftertaste). Drain the quinoa seeds using a sieve or fine mesh strainer.

2. Cook the quinoa as per packet’s instructions. I use the ratio of 1: 1.5 for quinoa seeds to water/stock. Add a pinch of salt and bay leaf/smashed garlic clove if using water. Start cooking the quinoa at medium high heat until it starts to boil. Then turn down the heat to low and allow the quinoa to absorb the liquid. The quinoa takes about 10-15 minutes to cook. The ready quinoa will start to look slightly translucent. Fluff up the quinoa with a fork. Let it cool while you prepare the salad ingredients.

3. Wash and cut up vegetables. Soak the dried wakame in tap water and allow them to “bloom”.

4. Prepare the soy sauce vinaigrette: Place soy sauce and rice vinegar in a bowl and whisk lightly to combine before drizzling the oil in. Whisk well to combine before using.

5. Toss the salad ingredients with the cooked quinoa and vinaigrette. Taste and season if necessary.

japanese inspired quinoa


About jothetartqueen

My first love is eating. A very close second is my love for baking and cooking. I passionately believe that the best form of appreciation of something is almost always through the creation of it. This passion took me on a whirlwind, unforgettable ride through the patisserie diploma course at Le Cordon Bleu (Sydney). Join me on my discovery for the love of food – through the kitchen, through the markets, through experimenting, tasting and loving.
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10 Responses to Japanese inspired quinoa salad with soy sauce vinaigrette dressing

  1. Yes, I would love to try this salad! I started eating quinoa about 10 years ago when we were introduced to its history and preparation by a cooking instructor. I love your use of all of the Japanese-inspired flavors; it’s such a creative way to use quinoa . I’m wondering if I could use an English cucumber in place of the Japanese one (it’s seedless). I’m not sure if I could locate a Japanese cucumber here. And, great tip on making the vinaigrette in advance! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us. I always feel like I learn something new when I visit here. 🙂

    • Wish I had gotten onto the bandwagon sooner! It’s perfectly okay to use an English cucumber in place of the Japanese one. Esp the ones without seeds would be pretty similar I would believe. Go for it!

  2. I wish I could say that your secret is safe with me, but this little gem of a recipe must be shared, far and wide! Sounds like just my palate of flavors, and I even have everything on hand to start prepping right this minute. Minus the roe, and plus a bit of shredded nori to make up for that oceanic element, of course. 🙂

  3. I love using quinoa (I buy it by the 5 lb bag!), and I’m psyched to have a new way to use it. This is so different than anything else I’ve tried with it, which is perfect! I’d hate to get in a quinoa rut! 😉

  4. Quinoa is a refreshing change from all of the rice. Wakame is really good for you. This is a super refreshing salad and I think a little bonita flakes on the top would be perfect.

  5. LB says:

    I had a wonderful Mediterranean quinoa salad recently and yours sounds wonderful, too. Not sure where I’d get some of the ingredients in my small town. Do you deliver???? 🙂

  6. What a lovely variation on quinoa Jo! We love it in this household too! 😀

  7. I love your take on quinoa salad, the soy sauce would add a really nice dose of delicious flavour 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

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