Whole Food — s California Quinoa Salad — Damn Delicious

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Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad

A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that you can make right at home, loaded with sweet mango, bell peppers, edamame and coconut!

Have you ever tried Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad? I’ve tried it a few times and I finally got around to make it at home. And to my surprise, the homemade version is so much better.

Now I love copycat recipes because you gain full control of what’s in your dish, and you can cherry pick some of the ingredients to your preferences. So for me, I added extra mangos and extra coconut because the tropical twist in this is just amazing!

There’s also tons of other fun goodies in this salad – from the raisins to the edamame and the tangy balsamic-lime dressing. Yes, it’s definitely a party flavor with every bite!

Plus, this is incredibly healthy and nutritious, and certainly bikini-friendly. You can’t beat that!

Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that tastes 1000x better than the store-bought version!


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and lime zest; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, edamame, red onion, coconut flakes, almonds, raisins and cilantro. Pour the balsamic vinegar mixture on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately.

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Not to mention that it tastes better, you can control the exact ratios of ingredients, but hello money savings! Love WFs but not the prices of their deli stuff. You could go broke to feed a family dinner in there! Great recipe and idea!

Oh my! This looks amazing, and thumbs up for adding a little extra of the tropical things, so delicious and colourful! I just wish we could get proper shelled edamame here, have only found tiny snack boxes of them or canned ones, but they’re just not the same! Will have to give this a go 🙂

Love the colourful look of this – so pretty! Looks perfect for a potluck, too 🙂

It’s been a while since I’ve visited a Whole Foods Salad Bar – they do have great inspiration there!

This salad looks just fresh and colorful. It’s screaming my name! 🙂

I’m loving the colors and flavors of this salad, the mango is a great touch!

Love quinoa salads, and your version looks so fresh and colorful – YUM! Perfect lunch!

I’m hooked on so many things at Whole Foods but I haven’t gotten around to trying their version of this salad. This looks so colorful and satisfying, and that balsamic-lime dressing sounds delicious!

Yum! Perfect for a lunchbox main 🙂 I love the idea of adding coconut flakes to a quinoa salad too.

I like the coconut mixed in. This would make a GREAT lunch for those of us who
work most particularly——with a 10 minute prep time—hello—-awesome.

Oh yum, this looks amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen this at my Whole Foods but now I want to go check!

This quinoa looks awesome! Gotta try this one!

So bright and fresh, wish I had this now!

I just made this for a party & it really is delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

I’m so glad you posted a recipe for this! I can’t wait to try it! 🙂

How much lime is zest of two limes? Can you explain further?

1 lime can yield about 1-2 teaspoons of zest.

Sounds delicious and can’t wait to try it. Wish we had the nutritionals, though.

Rene, feel free to use online resources at your discretion to obtain nutritional information.

Gonna make mine with ORZO pasta.

After bariatric surgery for weight loss, I started to build a salad from quinoa on up. It was lacking, but the significant protein in the quinoa was worth a try. This recipe fills in the gaps, holes if you will, in my recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Oh, and BTW, don’t believe it when the company says it is Pre-Washed! Wash it regardless of what they print on the package.

Made this with cous-cous instead of quinoa for some picky family members and it was a huge hit. Making it again with the quinoa for a GF friend this week.

Yes, i must say you are perfect in your field. I really appreciate your work. I ‘ll be waiting for your next update. Keep up the good work.
Grocery Coupons

I love this Salad! We do not have a WF here (I live in the middle of nowhere!) so I am totally digging the copy-cat recipes. Thanks 🙂

So good! I omitted the bell pepper and edamame and used chopped almonds instead of sliced. I replaced the like zest with the juice of half a like. Definitely making again! I also soaked the quinoa for about 4 hours prior since it usually upsets my stomach otherwise.

This is the best Quinoa salad I have ever made and I have made quite a few. So many delicious ingredients that go so well together. Love it!
Thanks for the recipe!

Could you make this a day ahead or would it ruin the flavors some way?

I think it should be fine – it’ll really let the flavors soak in!

The only thing I noticed was that the raisins plumped up a bit. The flavors really melded – I made it on a Sunday and had leftovers for lunch Monday and Tuesday. I probably wouldn’t let it go three days because the mangoes may start to deteriorate.

Do you mean 1 cup cooked quinoa or dried quinoa??

Jessica, you will be starting with uncooked quinoa, and cooking it to package instructions as indicated in the first step of the recipe.

Hey, I saw your quinoa salad and just HAD to make it. It’s been featured here –> http://www.obsessivecooking.com/2014/10/whole-foods-quinoa-salad.html

Thanks for the delicious and healthy recipe. I devoured it and my friends all are inspired by you too 😀

Does anyone have any recipes on couscous salads. Tried it at an organic market in Point Reyes California, it was the best!!

I made this today and followed the recipe exactly but it was a little bitter from the zest. Maybe I put too much? I put in the zest of two whole limes. Also, it turned out really dark because of the balsamic vinegar. A lot darker than your picture. I even put in a little less than 1/4 cup.

Joyce, how much quinoa did you use? The recipe calls for 1 cup uncooked quinoa, which should have yield about 3 cups cooked.

Is the balsamic vinegar quantity accurate? I just made this and it’s way too overwhelming and tart – cannot enjoy all the lovely ingredients in the salad.

Yes, the measurements are accurate, but please feel free to adjust the amounts as needed to suit your taste preferences. That’s the beauty of home cooking! 🙂

I really love salad! I want to try about quinoa salad so I took time to find some recipe. I found bunch and one of them was yours, but I want to try your recipe since I love almonds, raisins and mango and your recipe has those. I am excited to make this! 🙂

There is no olive oil in this recipe.

Quinoa is loaded with protein and fiber. I tried it before but doesn’t taste good. But your recipe looks good. I’ll probably try it! Can’t find cilantro leave: Would it be good to use parsley instead of cilantro leave?

Do you use white balsamic vinegar or regular balsamic? Thanks

I used standard balsamic vinegar.

I just made this and it is so good! All of the recipes that I have tried from this site have been great! I am slowly making my way through the list. Thank you! You are awesome:)

Chungah! I love you! Everything I have made from your blog has been incredible (I was caught shame-eating the sriracha cream sauce from the teriyaki salmon straight outta the fridge last week). I’ve been shopping at whole foods since forever, but somehow managed to pass over this salad until last week. I didn’t realize when I bought it that it had the coconut and mango, so was excited to discover that… and then while browsing your site for dinners this week became even MORE excited that you had a copy cat recipe. Quinoa is cooking as I type, super pumped to make this tonight! Thanks for sharing your talents!!

You should try toasting the coconut before incorporating it into the recipe, it adds a lot of flavor.

Chungah, this was amazing. We just tried the Whole Foods California Quinoa Salad recently and loved it, so I knew right away I would need a recipe for it. Yours was the first I came across and I have to tell you it is spot on perfect. Thanks so much!

I used only 2 TBL of balsamic and juice of 2 limes mixed with a little water, no zest. I also used less than a 1/4 cup onion and more edamame for more protein. Awesome

Im eagerly looking for interesting salad recipes and stumbled across your website. Made this for dinner yesterday and packed some for lunch today. Absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Forgot to add dressing today but still equally delish! Thanks for sharing and please keep such recipes coming!

I have a mango allergy so I used pineapple instead and I love it! Thanks so much for sharing this copy cat recipe! Can’t wait to try another one of your recipes soon!!

This is my new favourite quinoa dish, so quick and easy, but oh so delicious!! Pretty to look at and yummy to eat.

This was one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Very quick and easy and also very healthy. The only change I made was using “orange” balsamic vinegar due to having it on hand. Not sure if this changed it much, but was very delicious.

Hi, I just had the salad for lunch and it’s pretty good. How can I reduce/remove the amount of “fat/saturated fat’? Noticed that the fat content (saturated fat too) is kind of high for a salad. Thanks.

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

Just made this last night for dinner! I’ve never added coconut flakes to anything before and LOVED it! Makes for good lunch leftovers. Really fun combo- thank you!

Come join me in my culinary adventures where we’ll be using simple, fresh ingredients and transforming them into sophisticated and elegant meals for the everyday home cook.

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