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Cherry Pistachio Quinoa Salad

Cherry Pistachio Quinoa Salad – Quinoa tossed with juicy cherries, nutty pistachios, and fresh mint and dressed with a simple apple cider dressing, it tastes AMAZING and is so easy to make!

top down view of serving platter with cherry pistachio quinoa salad.

If you love quinoa salads, then I’ve got something wonderful to share with you today!

With plenty of cherries leftover from the previous recipe, Summer Cherry-Berry Fruit Salad, I wanted to put them to good use. This recipe has been on my to-do list for a few years now and I’m happy to finally bring it to the recipe collection.

Why We Love This Recipe!

  • Full of flavor and texture. Bursting with juicy cherries, nutty pistachios and fresh mint all tossed together with a simple apple cider dressing, it’s a flavor combination that I know you’re going to love!
  • It’s quick and easy to make. This is one of the reasons I love quinoa salads. They take about 30 minutes from start to finish and prep can be done while the quinoa is cooking.
  • It’s healthy. Made with only whole food plant based ingredients, it’s 100% vegan and contains plenty of protein, fiber, and other essential vitamins. Plus, it’s gluten- and oil-free!
top down view of ingredients used to make cherry pistachio quinoa salad recipe.

Ingredient Notes

Start with gathering the ingredients, all of which are simple and should be easily accessible.

  • Quinoa – You can find it almost everywhere these days and it’s fairly inexpensive. Once cooked, let it cool a bit before assembling the salad. This will take the longest, but be patient, it will be worth the wait!
  • Cherries – I used plump, juicy fresh cherries. If out of season, dried cherries will do fine too (see notes in the recipe card below). You can use frozen cherries that have been thawed as well.
  • Pistachios – Their distinctly rich flavor and crunch are perfect with the other flavors. Feel free to substitute using almonds, roughly chopped or slivered. Pecans would be great here as well!
  • Red Onion – You can substitute with shallots which are a little sweeter and slightly milder than other onions.
  • Mint – Adds a pop of color and refreshing note.
  • Apple cider vinegar and lemon – Both are a healthy addition and add zestiness, finishing off the quinoa salad nicely.
side by side photos showing the process of prepping quinoa salad with cherries, pistachios and mint.

How To Make Cherry Pistachio Quinoa Salad

The only real work is removing the cherry pits, for which I finally bought a cherry pitter (above left). It’s a handy little tool to help get the job done with ease.

If you’re going to be pitting a lot of cherries, you may consider one for yourself. They are available on Amazon or Target (I bought mine from target since amazon was backordered).

Tip: When working with cherries I suggest prepping them on a large plate or glass dish, instead of using a wooden cutting board, since the cherry juice may stain it. The stain will eventually go away but it’s something to consider.

side by side photos showing the process of assembling cherry pistachio quinoa salad recipe.

Once quinoa is cooked and cherries are pitted, combine the quinoa with the cherries, pistachios, red onion, mint, salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, and a squeeze of lemon.

And voila – a flavorful, healthy quinoa salad that you’ll probably finish off before the day is done!

And yes, I am speaking from experience. I had this two days in a row for testing purposes and both days it was gone before 6 p.m. All to myself I might add. :)

Top Tips

  • Use a cherry pitter. It makes pitting cherries super simple. You can find them on on Amazon (affiliate link) or Target.
  • Add arugula. For variation, add a large handful of baby arugula to the mix. This bitterness of these greens is a nice compliment to the cherries and pistachios.
  • Add chickpeas. If you’re looking to add a little extra protein, a can of chickpeas will do the trick!
close up of cherry mint pistachio quinoa salad

Serving Suggestions

Serve this healthy cherry quinoa salad as a meal or side dish. Take it to share at gatherings and get-togethers, or make it ahead for quick to-go lunches.

More Quinoa Salad Recipes!

If you love quinoa salads as much as I do, you’ll love these different variations to keep it different and interesting.

side angle view of serving platter with cherry pistachio quinoa salad.

If you try this easy quinoa salad recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

CHERRY, PISTACHIO + MINT QUINOA SALAD

Plump juicy cherries, rich flavored pistachios, and refreshing mint tossed with heart-healthy quinoa and a light apple cider vinegar dressing. Simple and flavorful!

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 – 6 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 lb. cherries (about 2 cups), pitted and sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 red onion (or 1 small shallot), minced
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • a handful baby arugula, optional

Instructions

In a medium-size pot/pan, add quinoa and water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, at a gentle boil, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover, and let set 10 – 15 minutes, fluff with a fork. Let cool almost completely before assembly.

In a large mixing bowl or pot/pan, you cooked the quinoa in, add the cherries, pistachios, shallot, mint, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss well to combine, adding in the optional baby arugula if desired.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Servers 4 – 6

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days.

Notes

Use dried cherries, about 1 1/2 – 2 cups, if fresh cherries are not available. Roughly chop them before adding to salad. I haven’t made this using dried cherries, so you’ll have to use your best judgment on how much to add. If you make this with dried cherries, it would be great to share with us how much you used.

Change up the pistachios using raw or toasted, chopped, or slivered almonds. Chopped pecans would also be great!

Want to add a little extra protein? Try adding a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas to the mix.

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8 Comments

  1. Hello, can I use walnuts instead of pistachio? If it’s yes, there will be any difference in the calories?
    Thank you.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, you can use walnuts in place of pistachios. The calories will be slightly lower with the use of walnuts. Enjoy the quinoa salad, Yasemin!

  2. Absolutely loved this salad! One of my summer favorites that’ll be on rotation for years.

  3. This looks so good! Would thawed from frozen cherries work?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, I would say give it a try. Thawed cherries should be just fine, the cherries will have a little different texture but I think it’s doable. Would love to know how it goes if you try!

  4. I added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and served it over mixed spring greens and it was delicious!!

  5. I used edamame instead of the chick peas. delish!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yay! I love edamame and never thought of adding it as a suggestion. Great choice, and it was probably even more colorful! Cheers :)

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