Hawaiian Quinoa Salad

This is definitely one of the strangest recipes I’ve made in a while. I mean that in a good way. While the photo looks like some kind of a crazy dessert, it’s actually a (mostly) savory entree with beans, quinoa, and kale – just like every boring quinoa bowl you’ve ever had. What’s different about this one is that (you guessed it) it’s also full of Hawaiian-themed ingredients like shredded coconut, pineapple, lime juice, and more.

Really, this is just one big ol’ bowl of everything. Sweet. Savory. Even a little spicy. There’s so much happening in this one silly little pineapple shell, we really need to zoom in to see what’s going on:

The thing is, the flavors really work. Somehow, throwing everything but the kitchen sink into this one bowl ends up being pretty tasty. If your tastebuds are getting sick of that plain quinoa tabbouleh and you’re looking for something new, give this one a try at your next luau (you have one every weekend, right??) – it’s a really fun, easy, different recipe. And, it makes a huge bowl that will bring you leftover lunches for days.

Makes: 4+ large servings


  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2+ tablespoons lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 green onions
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple
  • 4 cups steamed kale
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Step One

Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. You’ll need about 4 cups cooked which is something like 1 1/2 cups dry + 3 cups water. You can do this just before, or up to a day in advance. When done, add it to your largest mixing bowl and season with salt, pepper, and some lime juice.

Step Two

Then, basically just add everything else to the bowl and toss together. Sliced green onions, shredded coconut (I used the finely-shredded reduced fat kind), corn (thawed if frozen), canned black beans (drained and rinsed), some chopped fresh pineapple (try to avoid the canned syrupy kind), and some chopped steamed kale (this can be done in the microwave by adding the chopped leaves to a dish with a drop of water – it steams fast and retains more nutrients than any other method).

You can also add some cayenne pepper which I think pairs really well with the pineapple, and I actually used this specific chili-lime seasoning from Trader Joes (seen in the pictures) and that was amazing.

As far as the avocado, you can dice that and gently toss it into the bowl, or simply use it as a garnish for each dish when serving.

Step Three

Chill. The dish itself is that simple. And you can definitely eat it warm or lukewarm like this, but I found it to get much better when chilled. Garnish with some extra cayenne, coconut, and/or pineapple.

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