Cilantro Lime Quinoa

This super easy quinoa with a zippy cilantro and lime dressing brings life to your bliss bowls, tacos, and dinner plates. Packed with protein and gluten-free, this quinoa salad is the perfect staple recipe. 

Cilantro Lime Quinoa in a white bowl

When I make a recipe like this quinoa, my mind goes crazy with ideas for mix-ins— complementary ingredients that would make this fantastic quinoa even livelier. The obvious when dealing with lime and cilantro is that Mexican flavors would work brilliantly. Think black beans, charred corn, crumbled queso fresco, and of course chunks of avocado. This dish is so versatile that I am going to share a brainstorm of potential uses for cilantro quinoa. And after that, tips and reminders for how to best cook this ancient grain.

How to Best Use Cilantro Lime Quinoa:

  • As the grain in healthy bowls– Recipes for bowls often have a grain element. Cilantro quinoa would work beautifully. For example, you could use it in this cauliflower burrito bowl recipe.
  • As a side dish with dinner– Quinoa is the perfect alternative to rice or pasta. Try cilantro quinoa with fish, or chicken. It would pair beautifully with these perfect every time chicken breasts.
  • As an addition to a taco meal – You could substitute cilantro quinoa for the rice that often accompanies tacos or burritos. Serve a bowl of cilantro quinoa next to these fantastic steak tacos or these vegan pumpkin and shitake tacos.

Cilantro Lime Quinoa in a white bowlTips on How to Cook Quinoa:

  • Rinse your quinoa before cooking. You want to wash away the saponins—a naturally occurring bitter compound found in all quinoa. Rinse quinoa in a strainer with lots of fresh cold water while shaking the grains around.
  • Toast your quinoa before cooking in water. I always toast quinoa in the dry pan before adding water it brings out the nutty quality of the grain.
  • Use a little less water than recommended. This is another of my tricks. I find that too much water makes the grain mushy.


Detailed measurements and ingredients can be found within the recipe card at the end of this post.

  • Quinoa- Cauliflower rice is a great alternative for those who cannot have quinoa
  • Cilantro- Parsley would work as an alternative though not as good in this dish
  • Lime- Lemon would certainly work in a pinch
  • Avocado Oil- Olive oil would be lovely too


What can you use instead of cilantro?

Some people just hate cilantro. Ina Garten is one of them which is an interesting tidbit. I think parsley is the closest and would work harmoniously with most dishes. Basil, dill, or tarragon are other beautiful green herbs but they all have a distinctive flavor and are not always the best choice for certain foods.


Is quinoa better for you than rice?

Quinoa contains double the amount of protein and 5 grams more fiber per serving than the same amount of white rice. Quinoa also contains a host of minerals and vitamins.  

I don’t like to judge one food against another, white rice is delicious and the perfect addition to many meals, but if quinoa is new to you I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Cilantro Lime Quinoa


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I can’t wait for you to try this Cilantro Lime Quinoa Recipe! When you make it, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @abrapappa or use the hashtag #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo! 

If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate and leave a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Abra Pappa, MS, CNS, LDN

This super easy quinoa with a zippy cilantro and lime dressing brings life to your bliss bowls, tacos, and dinner plates. Packed with protein and gluten-free, this quinoa salad is the perfect staple recipe. 

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #849974; }

0 from 0 votes

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Course Side Dish

Cuisine American

Servings 4

Calories 191 kcal


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup cilantro chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • zest from one lime
  • generous pinch of salt and pepper


  • Toast quinoa in a dry pan for a few minutes.

  • Add toasted quinoa and water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

  • Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cover pan. Cook quinoa for 15 minutes. You will see the grains sprout what looks like a white ring toward the end of cooking.

  • Cover quinoa and rest 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and then allow to cool slightly. (If you dress the quinoa before it cools a bit it will become mushy. You do not want mushy quinoa)

  • Stir in avocado oil, lime juice and zest and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper,


Leftovers should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. Quinoa will be best if eaten within 3 days.


Serving: 1serving (4 total servings as side dish)Calories: 191kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 6gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 255mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 100IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 2mg

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