Quinoa, Cranberry and Pesto Salad


(Updated 10/25/21)

This is my favourite summer salad recipe! It’s fresh, bright and summery; serving as the perfect accomplice to a BBQ alongside some chilled Sauvignon blanc.

Cranberry, quinoa and pesto salad topped with flaked almonds served on a white plate.

With summer in full-swing there’s loads of tasty produce to play with in the kitchen, with this dish celebrating quintessential items like juicy cherry tomatoes and corn kernels.

The star of the show in this salad is the herb basil, which you whip into a super easy zingy pesto to toss through as a salad dressing. While you can make this salad speedy as by just using a store-bought pesto, I recommend making your own if you can – it’s one of those things you cannot beat fresh!

Another thing to love about this salad is that it’s all about the textures and flavours – with each mouthful you’ll get sweet juicy cranberry, crunchy flaked almonds, and zingy herby pesto. Delicious.

Quinoa, Cranberry and Pesto Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 4
A large plate of cranberry pesto salad with flaked almonds.



  • 1 cup dried quinoa + 2 cups water
  • 1 250g pack cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tin of corn kernels
  • 80 g baby spinach
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • Juice of a small lemon

Basil pesto

  • 4 cups of basil leaves
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, or more to taste
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • Olive oil enough to make a thick paste


  • Place dry quinoa in a sieve and rinse for a minute.
  • Place quinoa in a pan with 2 cups of water. Turn heat to high and bring to boil. Once it has reached a full boil, turn the heat down to a medium, place lid on saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. If water hasn’t fully absorbed around this mark, you can switch the heat off and let the quinoa sit in the pan with the lid still on and the water will absorb. Once cooked, remove and let cool.
  • Blitz up the ingredients for the basil pesto into a smooth paste. Put aside.
  • Halve the cherry tomatoes. Open the tin of corn. Drain and rinse.
  • Add to a large serving bowl the quinoa, spinach, cranberries (reserving a few), cherry tomatoes and corn kernels. Dollop over pesto and mix until evenly incorporated. Squeeze over juice of small lemon. Garnish with sliced almonds and reserved cranberries.


Dairy-free? Leave out the parmesan cheese or sub in a vegan parmesan-style cheese.
Why rinse quinoa?This removes the outer coating called saponin, which can impart a bitter taste to the cooked grain.

Leave a Comment & Rate this Recipe

If you enjoyed this dish, please consider giving it a star rating when you post a comment. Star ratings help others discover my recipes online (and your reviews make my day! 🙂 ). Happy cooking and baking. Danijela x

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Recipe Rating