Cooking in College: Easy Quinoa Salad

I remember when I first moved out after high school, I was thrilled to begin culinary life on my own: picking what goes in my fridge, creating meals that want to eat. However, as most things go, turns out it wasn’t that easy. Three meals a day (that’s what I do at least), 7 days a week, the rest of your life. As you all can probably imagine, the last two years have been a lot of trial and error: very burnt stir fry, undercooked chicken, and my fair share of chopped fingers.

What has been the hardest though the past two years has been not getting lazy and staying inspired. Most days I’m out of the house from about 9AM-7PM, and when I get home at the end of the day, very tired and hungry, the bowl of pesto pasta or some pizza is always tempting. As is grabbing a sandwich at Uni (3-5 Euros a day does add up after all, as my mother always said). And I know I’m not the only one, every person my age (actually probably all ages) shares in these woes.

Thus, I wanted to start sharing some of my recipes on the blog. I’ve started to become much better not only at making meals that are more creative, but also in portions that are easy to pack for lunch or reheat after am 8pm lecture. Fellow students/impatient cookers/susceptible to too much eating-outers, I am here for you. As a general rule of thumb, I usually cook a portion that I eat immediately, along with 2-3 servings to eat the following days.

The motto for this new series is: Simple/inexpensive ingredients, easy instructions, quick prep time, delicious food. Also I wing a lot of things, you can always give or take a little. Enjoy!

» Easy Quinoa Salad «

  • This recipe is a much simpler spinoff of a Trader Joe’s quinoa salad recipe my mom used to prepare for school lunches.
  • Prep time: About 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 (perfect for lunches and dinners in the days to come)

quinoa 4
What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of Red Quinoa
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (I do two cups of water and add a cube per cup)
  • 1 jar of kidney beans (about 400 g)
  • 1 jar of corn (about 400 g)
  • 1 avocado
  • about 10 grape tomatoes
  • 2 small red onions (or 1 large one)
  • parsley & cilantro (I store them powdered or frozen)
  • 2-3 limes (depends on how zesty you want it)
  • olive oil (about 1/2 cup)
  • salt & pepper

quinoa 2

Step by step:

  1. Bring the two cups of water to a boil in a large pot (you’ll be able to make the entire salad in this one pot). Once the water is boiling, drop in your cubes. If you’re using ready-made chicken broth, lower to a simmer.
  2. While the water is simmering, rinse off your quinoa. You can either do this with a strainer, or just wash it in a small bowl and dump the water back out.
  3. Put the quinoa into the simmering chicken broth. Keep the temperature medium/high and cover. The quinoa should be ready in about 15 minutes, stir occasionally.
  4. While your quinoa is cooking, prep your other ingredients. Dice your red onions, cut your tomatoes into fourths, chop up your avocado. Get rid of any excess liquid in the kidney bean and corn jars.

quinoa 3

5. Once the quinoa is done cooking (all of the water should be gone), take the pot off the heat. While you’re waiting for the quinoa to cool a bit (about 10 minutes is usually good), add in the olive oil, herbs, lime, salt and pepper. Season to your taste.

6. Once you’ve seasoned, add in all of the other ingredients. Stir well, and taste-test to see if the salad needs any more seasoning.

7. Serve immediately while still slightly warm, or let the salad cool off in the fridge. It tastes great either way!


Guys, I’m beyond thrilled with how this post turned out, amateur food-photography and all. I hope you enjoyed it. :) If you have any recipes or ideas for me, please do leave them in the comments below! Much love, Julia

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