Packed with fresh vegetables, quinoa, herbs, and plant powered protein, this copycat Costco quinoa salad is the perfect lunch for a hot summer day!
Whenever my family makes a Costco run, we always make a point to pick up the quinoa salad. It's just so good and disappears from the fridge in a matter of days. Since I don't have the time (or money) to be restocking it every other day, I got to work recreating it at home. This copycat Costco quinoa salad recipe tastes just like the original, and you can feel good about it knowing you made it yourself.
Whether you're obsessed with the Costco quinoa salad like us or you haven't been lucky enough to try it, this lentil quinoa salad recipe is sure to be a new staple in your house.
Why This Dietitian Loves This Recipe
I love this Costco quinoa salad recipe for a couple of reasons:
- Packed with plant-based protein. I'm not vegan, but I do like including plant-based proteins when possible. Lentils and quinoa are our main sources of protein in this recipe.
- Full of fresh flavors and produce. During the spring and summer months I'm all about using fresh herbs and veggies. I always love to stop by my local farmer's market to take advantage of what's in season!
- Summer staple. This Costco quinoa salad works for pretty much any occasion. Meal prep, potlucks, packed lunches, or a BBQ... it fits the bill for all of the above.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red onion
- Red bell pepper
- Feta cheese
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder
Cook quinoa and allow to cool in fridge.
Add all the salad ingredients to a bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Adjust dressing to meet your taste preference.
Pour dressing over the salad and toss until well combined.
Substitutions and Variations
To make gluten-free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free. You may need to use certified gluten-free quinoa if you have Celiac disease.
To make vegan: Leave out the feta or add in some olives or capers for that salty taste. Another option is to swap with a vegan cheese option!
To make nut-free: This recipe is naturally nut-free.
Missing an ingredient? Try these:
- Lentils: Feel free to leave them out and just add more quinoa if you aren’t a fan of lentils. You can also swap them with chickpeas or black beans, although this will stray from the original Costco quinoa salad.
- Red onion: Swap for white or yellow onion. Note that this will alter the taste slightly.
- Kale: Swap for chopped spinach.
Note: Do not skip the parsley! It may seem like an ingredient added just for fun and looks, but I promise this is what creates the freshest flavour in this quinoa salad.
This quinoa salad will store great in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days, making it the perfect meal prep option.
For best results, prepare the quinoa ahead of time and allow it to cool in the fridge before starting the salad. Another option is to prepare your quinoa at the beginning of the salad preparation and pop it in the freezer until you need it to quickly cool it down.
As there is no lettuce in this salad, you don't need to worry about it getting soggy. Allowing it to soak in the dressing for a few hours prior to serving will actually enhance the taste!
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a great option for a lighter plant-based lunch option. We have high fibre carbohydrates from the quinoa, protein in the lentils, healthy fats in the dressing and lots of fresh veggies. I would suggest pairing it with some pita and adding some extra protein (adding chicken, steak, my turkey meatballs, edamame or extra lentils works great) if you are eating this as your entire meal though to make it a little more filling.
YES! I highly recommend not skipping out on the parsley. This herb is what gives the salad its fresh flavour.
Normally for baking recipes, I typically say the use of pre-squeezed vs fresh lemon juice doesn’t matter, however in salad dressing I always recommend using freshly squeezed lemon juice for the optimal flavour.
I like brown lentils for the most similar texture to the original Costco quinoa salad, however yellow lentils will work as well. I don't recommend red lentils, as they have less bite and get mushy.
More Summer Salad Recipes
Want more inspiration for some fresh summer salads? Try out these recipes next:
- Creamy Ranch Protein Pasta Salad
- Vegan Bean Salad
- Arugula Quinoa Salad with Lemon Caesar Vinaigrette
- Santa Fe Salad
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this Costco quinoa salad, don't forget to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it!
Copycat Costco Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup dry quinoa cooked according to package instructions
- 1 can (425g) brown lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes chopped
- 1 medium english cucumber diced
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
- ½ of one medium (about ½ cup) red onion chopped
- ½ of a bunch (about ¾ cup) parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup green kale leaves or spinach chopped (ensure the stems are removed)
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 medium lemons just the juice
- ½ tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard old fashioned or grainy
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- salt and pepper to taste
- For best results- prepare the quinoa ahead of time and allow to cool in the fridge before starting the salad! (Another option is to prepare your quinoa at the beginning of the salad preparation and pop it in the freezer until you need it).
- For the salad- Add all the salad ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.
- For the dressing- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Adjust dressing to meet your taste preference.
- Once the dressing is complete, pour over the salad and toss until well combined.
- Store the leftovers in a sealed container for up to 5 days.