I dreamed this salad up last week, thinking it would be perfect for Passover. Turns out there’s a lot of debate about whether or not quinoa’s actually Passover-appropriate (and many Jews won’t eat lentils during Passover, either). So while I am posting this during Passover, the observant among you might choose to make it some other time.

black quinoa and red lentil salad

This is a great one-pan vegetarian dish that could be embellished in a number of ways. It’s got a good amount of protein from the quinoa and lentils already, but you could add some cooked fish or chicken, if you like. You could also top individual servings of this salad with a fried or poached egg. I love parsley- it’s incredibly nutritious and so flavorful- but if you are not a fan, you can substitute your favorite salad greens instead.

Black Quinoa Salad photo

Standard quinoa will work in this recipe, of course, as will French or other lentils (though the cooking time may need to be adjusted with a different type of lentils). Feel free to cook in seasonal vegetables or to omit the olives and/or preserved lemon rind if you don’t enjoy those flavors; if you do keep them in, I think toasted pine nuts would be a great addition to the salad (sadly, I was out of these when I made mine).

Recipe for Black Quinoa and Red Lentil Salad with Parsley

Adapted from this quinoa dish of mine
Makes 4 servings


*2 tablespoon olive oil
*1 onion, chopped
*2 stalks celery, chopped fine
*1 cup black quinoa, rinsed in cold water and drained (use a fine mesh strainer for this, as quinoa seeds are pretty small)
*1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed in the strainer with the quinoa
*2 1/2-3 cups water (or use chicken or vegetable stock)
*1/4 cup pitted black olives (I used oil-cured olives)
*1-2 teaspoons minced preserved lemon rind
*1-2 cups minced parsley
*pinch or two of smoked paprika


1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally until it is golden and translucent. Add celery and cook for a minute or two longer.

2. Add the rinsed quinoa and lentils along with 1 1/2 cups of the the water or stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pan.

3. Allow the quinoa and lentils to cook for approximately 15 mintues, until the water is absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup water, stir, and continue to simmer until absorbed. Keep adding liquid, 1/2 cup at a time, until all of the liquid is absorbed and the lentils and quinoa are tender. When the quinoa and lentils are done, turn off the heat and allow everything to rest, covered, for 5 minutes.

4. Mix in the olives and the preserved lemon, and taste to see if the dish needs additional seasoning. Add a pinch or two of smoked paprika, if desired, and serve warm or cold over finely minced parsley to taste.

Black Quinoa Salad with Red Lentils

I am sending this post along to Jen’s Grains and Legumes Kitchen Bootcamp for April!

More delicious looking quinoa salads:
Quinoa Side Dish with Pine Nuts from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables from Deliciously Organic
Sweet and Crunchy Quinoa Salad from The Kitchn



  1. 1

    Maris (In Good Taste) — April 19, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

    Not only does this look so healthy but so delicious too!

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 5:42 am

      Thanks Maris!

  2. 2

    Jeanette — April 19, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    Winnie, this quinoa lentil salad sounds so good – I love the combination of preserved lemon, black olives and smoked paprika, and the dark colored quinoa and lentils make this especially appealing!

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 5:43 am

      I’ve been pretty lazy about shopping lately so was happy to pull this together with what I already had on hand :)

  3. 3

    Lynda - TasteFood — April 19, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

    Great photos, Winnie. You’re rocking it!

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 5:44 am

      Thanks Lynda…I aspire to have mine look half as good as yours!

  4. 4

    marla — April 20, 2011 @ 6:53 am

    Black quinoa is so elegant & of course tasty. Love that this is a one pot, super health packed meal :)

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 5:45 am

      Thanks Marla…my pantry us overrun with so many healthy things…trying to put them to good use!

  5. 5

    RavieNomNoms — April 20, 2011 @ 7:47 am

    Delicious, I just love quinoa. I love that you can get it in different colors!!

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 5:45 am

      Me, too! I feel a little bad for regular quinoa that I’ve ditched her for the more interesting colors, though…

  6. 6

    Kelly Wilson — April 20, 2011 @ 7:48 am

    I cannot find black quinoa where I live. Can white quinoa be substituted?

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 5:46 am


  7. 7

    Oui, Chef — April 20, 2011 @ 8:21 am

    Hmmm…I’ve never seen black quinoa before, but love regular and red quinoas. The black is visually stunning, does it taste very different than the others? – S

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 8:30 am

      It really doesn’t taste different Steve. I think it’s got a different antioxidant profile, but honestly you could use any variety here.

  8. 8

    Jennifer (Savor) — April 20, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

    Seeing that my hubby is Portugese, any recipe with a ton of parsley will be a hit

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 5:46 am

      Does he make special dishes from his heritage? I’d love to try Portuguese cuisine…

  9. 9

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — April 21, 2011 @ 3:10 am

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen black quinoa before, I’ve seen the red kind, I wonder if it’s similar to that? I just adore quinoa and would love to try out a new variety, I’ll have to see if I can track some down near me.

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 5:48 am

      I bought mine at my local natural foods store. It’s packaged by a company called Alter Eco…any quinoa will work in this recipe, though.

  10. 10

    Heather @ Healthy Eating Starts Here — April 21, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    oh, I’m with you on the parsley! So good, especially with lemon & olives – this sounds absolutely fantastic… I’m so with you on using one pot too ;)

    • Winnie replied: — April 21st, 2011 @ 8:30 am

      Thanks Heather. I could eat bowls and bowls of parsley. I really love it. And it’s supposed to be very good for your thyroid gland!

  11. 11

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — April 30, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

    Looks incredible! Thanks so much for submitting it to this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp. I need to find some black quinoa… It looks great!

  12. 12

    Kitchen Bootcamp Roundup – Grains and Legumes | my kitchen addiction — April 30, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

    […] I’ve recently started cooking with quinoa, and I love it.  I can’t wait to find some black quinoa so that I can give this Black Quinoa and Red Lentil Salad with Parsley from Healthy Green Kitchen. […]

  13. 13

    Craving > Cherry Tomato and Hearts of Palm Salad + Giveaway Winner | foodiecrush — May 27, 2011 @ 1:26 am

    […] words: Power packed. Dr. Winnie’s Healthy Green Kitchen Black Quinoa and Red Lentil Salad with Parsley combines one of the world’s great superfoods, quinoa, with protein charged lentils and is […]

  14. 14

    [kill whitey] | .the rebel grrl kitchen. — August 11, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    […] Quinoa: (pronounced KEEN-wah) is grain with light, nutty, flavor. Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source, unusual among plant foods (Wikipedia, 2011; (note to students reading: this is not an appropriate source for academic papers!)). Here’s a super yummy recipe from Healthy Green Kitchen for Black Quinoa and Red Lentil Salad. […]

  15. 15

    Gretta — October 28, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

    I love quinoa, and this recipe looks delicious but I have a problem with black and red quinoa. The aesthetic look of the black quinoa makes this recipe look great but the heartier quinoas don’t digest nearly as well. They just shoot right through your digestive tract unless you really cook the crap out of them. When you overcook them they tend to loose their flavor and subsequently the flavor of your onions and celery. The olives and lemon rind will kick it up a notch, the paprika too, but even though it won’t look as pretty I would try the regular (and less expensive) quinoa.

    • Winnie replied: — October 28th, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

      I’ve not had the same experience with the red and black quinoa as you, but you are, of course, free to use regular quinoa ;)

  16. 16

    Maria — February 2, 2012 @ 6:15 am

    I love quinoa too, its healthy and contains less calories and full of nutritions.It looks delicious, and I can’t wait to find this quinoa from healthy green kitchen too.