Quinoa Salad with Grapes, Pomegranates and Herbs



Earlier this year I met Authentic Suburban Gourmet’s Lisa for lunch at Bocanova in Jack London Square (Oakland).   It was an unseasonably warm winter day so we caught up over chilled wine and shared several small plates.  I was in Lisa’s hands as she was quite familiar with the restaurant’s menu while it was my first visit.  Though I do remember each dish being quite good (and I don’t say that about many restaurants) one in particular has been on my mind since that lunch:  Bocanova’s quinoa salad.



I have to admit that when Lisa suggested having the quinoa salad I was not exactly excited about it (I didn’t tell her that, of course).  I like quinoa and have served it at home many times but until that day it hadn’t exactly made it to the top of my list of favorite foods.  I agreed because when Lisa says something is delicous you believe her.  She knows–and cooks–great food.  Sure enough, the quinoa salad turned out to be my favorite dish that day (thanks, Lisa!) and to be craving it several months later was saying a lot.  It’s a pity that I don’t remember everything that was in the salad but it would be hard to forget big chunks of  duck confit, watercress (or was it spinach?), pistachios and (if I remember correctly) chopped fruit.  At least to me, the ingredients seemed an unlikely combination for a salad but they wowed my taste buds.  Lisa and I ate every last bite of that quinoa salad (and polished off all the other dishes, too) and I promised myself to try it at home soon.

So when I cleaned out my pantry recently and discovered three bags of quinoa I knew just what to make.  My version omits the meat and nuts and is built on my basic tabbouleh recipe but besides loading it with just herbs, I piled on grapes and pomegranates to give it a more fruity quality.  I also cooked the quinoa in stock and sumac for an added layer of flavor so even if this salad is not exactly like the one I enjoyed at Bocanova, the latter remains the inspiration for this colorful, festive summer salad.

* If you happen to have leftover duck confit (or even chicken or turkey) and pistachios, I recommend that you add them in this salad.  It would make for a well-balanced, filling main dish.


5.0 from 5 reviews
Quinoa Salad with Grapes, Pomegranates and Herbs
This quinoa salad is loaded with herbs, grapes and pomegranates. It's a summer explosion for your taste buds.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2 as a side dish
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • 2 - 3 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
  • ½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 Persian cucumber, chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. It's best to use chilled leftover quinoa here. Originally I cooked 2 cups quinoa in 3½ - 4 cups stock and 1 teaspoon sumac but I ended up with about 5-6 cups cooked. To cook just enough quinoa for this recipe, you will need only ¾ - 1 cup uncooked quinoa. Alternatively, you can just cook it in water, too. Chill before tossing in the salad.
  2. In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients from the quinoa to the cucumber in a bowl. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice (adjust amounts of both to suit your taste) over the mixture and toss gently to combine.
The amounts here are based on my taste. Adjust the proportions to your liking. You can also cook extra quinoa so you can enjoy this salad during the week, just tossing the ingredients together for each day you plan to serve it.



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  1. I have to agree with you ordering quinoa salad at a restaurant is a bit risky, glad it was a good thing for you. Your salad does look very appealing to the eye and taste buds, and light too thanks for the recipe Jean!

  2. I love this fresh new spin on tabbouleh, Jean. Beautiful photos – this salad looks bursting with flavor and texture, two of my favorite things in a salad!

  3. Jean – that was such a fun day! We need to venture out again to another wonderful restuarant – your pick this time. Glad that you really enjoyed the salad so much that you recreated it again. Your version looks simply supreme. I remember we enjoyed the deviled eggs with crab, shishado peppers, the quinoa salad and one other item that I just can’t remember. I love Bocanova and enjoy it each time I visit. Your photos are supreme. Thank you for all the kinds words in your post. I am blushing. 🙂

  4. Yum, your lunch sounds good! I love all your ingredients in this quinoa salad and the pretty look of all the colors;-) I have to start using more quinoa, I really like it- especially your creative version;-)

  5. Love the mix of sweet and savory in this pretty quinoa salad. Not to mention pomegranate seeds get me excited for fall 🙂

  6. A splendid salad and combination of ingredients! Sweet and savory food is just so wonderful.



  7. I just checked the restaurant online and it looks like a great place! I haven’t really gone back to the area that I am missing out all the new restaurants in the area.

    I probably felt the same way if someone order quinoa salad at a restaurant, but I love the surprise and it was wonderful that this salad totally changed your view. That’s why it’s so nice to dine with someone who knows what to order and you get to try new stuff. Your pictures are stunning, Jean. I’d love to have this salad and you convinced me to try these.

  8. This makes for a very photogenic salad with all those lovely colours. I would definitely add some chicken then I wouldn’t have to think about the protein for my family.

  9. I love this version. I have never had a quinoa salad at a restaurant before, but i think i would hesitate to order it as well. I love making it at home though!

  10. Oh, look at the beautiful colours and textures happening in this salad! Not only does it look good, the whole plate is chock-full of super nutritious goodies! This is my kind of food when I’m in the mood for something healthy and simple!

  11. Wonderful twist on tabbouleh! I adore dishes that combine sweet and savory and would trust Lisa’s recommendations, too 🙂

  12. Quinoa is something we don’t eat enough. I always say I should make it more often, but I end up cooking something else instead.
    Love your sweet and savory salad. I bet it can be one of my favorite salads as well

  13. Great recipe! and I love the layout of your blog!

    I taped a video on how to cook quinoa and I think you might like it.



  14. Dena Holland says:

    Hello!!! This sounds so delicious and looks wonderful too !!! Thanks for sharing .. e restaurant we like ehre at home (Calgary Alberta Canada ) serves a quinoa salad and it is my favorite now.. fairly new to quinoa and loving it! Their salad can have grilled chicken or salmon and has fresh blueberries and a citrus type dressing that is so fresh and yummy! I just crave the whole thing !! I believe it has raw baby spinach leaves and slivered almonds and other things ..yous sounds awesome hope to try it very soon thanks again! Dena Love the pictures u take too

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Dena, thanks so much for your comment. Your local restaurant’s version sounds great, too. Would like to try with their additions next time. If you do try this one, please let me know how it goes. So glad you like my pictures! 🙂

  15. Thanks for posting this! I just had the quinoa salad at Bocanova as well and did my best at recreating it last night. When I was there last week, the quinoa salad had persimmon, grapes, pomegranate, and the greens were arugula. That’s how I made it. I used a red quinoa, left out the duck (only for lack of duck I assure you) and used a lovely white pear cranberry balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dress it. What a treat! I may try your version as well. Thanks again!

  16. Jo El Hall says:

    I am going to the Farmer’s Market today so I can make this amazing looking dish! It’s perfect for spring. Any suggestions for a substitution for cucumber? Neither me or the husband care for it.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      I have two suggestions. 🙂 How about celery? Or for a fruitier substitution, I like the sound of chopped apples in this salad. A Granny Smith would be great here. Please let me know how it goes. 🙂


  1. […] I must admit I’ve been enjoying its versatility, allowing me to use it as a savory cake, in a salad and now in a baked good.  I can confidently say:  quinoa is here to […]

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