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white bowl with red rice quinoa salad on a speckled counter top with a child's hand in the frame
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5 from 2 votes

Red Rice, Quinoa and Pumpkin Salad

This quinoa salad is hearty enough to qualify as a meat-free dinner but would be equally good as a side with lamb or chicken.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pumpkin, quinoa salad, red rice
Servings: 8
Calories: 300kcal


  • 1 cup white quinoa rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup red rice rinsed and drained
  • 2 lb pumpkin peeled and cut into 3cm (1 inch) pieces; I used Kent pumpkin, butternut or another dense-fleshed variety would work too
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or almond, macadamia, avocado oil – whatever tastes good to you
  • 3 whole limes juiced
  • 1/2 whole orange zested and juiced
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ cup dried apricots diced into small pieces
  • ½ cup shelled pistachio nuts toasted and roughly chopped
  • 4 scallions sliced spring onions (white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 bunch mint leaves picked, sadly omitted from my photos
  • 4 oz Persian feta crumbled
  • 1 red chili finely chopped (optional)
  • Extra lime wedges optional


  • Set your oven to 100˚C/212˚F (steam only). Mix the rice with 1 ½ cups (375ml) water and put in the oven for 25 minutes.
  • While the rice starts cooking, mix the quinoa with 1 cup (250ml) water. Add it to the oven once the rice has been in for 10 minutes (ie 25 minutes total cooking for the rice, 15 minutes total for the quinoa). When the grains are done, remove from oven and fluff with a fork, then leave to cool.
  • Change your oven setting to 200˚C/400˚F, combination steam setting (if your oven has variable steam levels, choose 80%). Put the cubed pumpkin in and cook for about 20 minutes until tender and browned on the edges. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
  • While the pumpkin is cooking, mix the oil, citrus juices and zest, garlic, salt and pepper to make a dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning – if your fruits aren’t particularly juicy you may need a little more lime or orange. The dressing should be a bit sharp and a bit oversalted as it’ll get soaked up by the grains pretty quickly.
  • Once the rice and quinoa have cooled (you want them lukewarm), mix them in a large bowl with the dressing, apricots, pistachios, spring onions, feta, mint and half the chilli (if using). Gently toss the warm pumpkin through and, if you can, leave the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving so the dressing absorbs into the grains. Serve with more chilli and lime wedges.


  1. Makes 4-6 big dinner serves, or 8-10 ‘side salad’ serves
  2. This is hearty enough to qualify as a meat-free dinner but would be equally good as a side with lamb or chicken. If you are like my husband you'd probably also prefer the addition of a little fried bacon into the mix.
  3. I bought my red rice from an Asian supermarket, it was labelled ‘Cargo Red Rice’. It would be lovely made with brown rice instead of the red if you can’t find it.
  4. I’ve made the salad without quinoa (just double the rice quantity), and I’ve served it both warm and cold. Leftovers keep for 3 or 4 days in the fridge, although the mint won’t look as green and the citrus flavours in the dressing become a bit muted over time.


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 240mg | Potassium: 739mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 10350IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 3mg