Black Quinoa and Red Lentil Salad with Parsley

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).

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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

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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.

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27 thoughts on “Black Quinoa and Red Lentil Salad with Parsley”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • Gretta,
      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 ;)

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

  7. 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 ;)

    • 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!

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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

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

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

  10. 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!

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