Cucumber Mint Quinoa Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in



By Todd Porter

Published 2013

  • About

We’re still trying to figure out why we’ve never had a successful cucumber-growing season. Normally we’ll get a batch of about ten cucumbers that look great, but after that, our cucumber vines fizzle into oblivion. We’re still not giving up, and hopefully one year we’ll have enough to satisfy our cucumber cravings. It’s salads like this one that really let cucumbers shine and make us crave them even more; it’s full of crunchy freshness, and the mint-quinoa combination makes it a perfect summer picnic dish to share with friends.


For the Shallot Dressing

  • ¼ cup (60ml) olive or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 cup (170g) raw quinoa (see Note)
  • 1 cup (135g) diced cucumber
  • ½ cup (40g) chopped fresh mint leaves, or more to taste



  1. Make the shallot dressing: In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive or grapeseed oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until a light golden brown or until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil, the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, vinegar, lemon juice, and pepper to taste. Stir until the sugar dissolves and all the ingredients are well combined. Set aside to marinate briefly.
  2. Make the salad: In a saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 cups (480ml) water. Bring to a simmer, cover, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, or until the water is fully absorbed. Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Add the cucumbers and chopped mint and stir to combine.
  3. Add the shallot dressing and toss well to coat. Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator and toss again before serving.