Black Quinoa Asian Slaw

One of my favorite places to grocery shop is Whole Foods Market.  Everything they have in my opinion is incredible.  Walking into the produce section is like walking into a carnival of bright, fresh, fruits and vegetables stacked neat and clean but in perfect view and reach for everyone.  With samples galore and the friendliest staff ever. 

Of course, you do pay a premium for the quality but it’s worth it to go when you can.

The other day I arrived just after the lunch hour.  I was starved having not had anything to eat since 6:30am.  I looked at the soups and although it was chilly out I felt like something light and refreshing.  I headed over to the prepared foods section and their Black Quinoa Asian Slaw caught my eye.  It was positively stunning with the black balancing the bright vegetables and fruit mixed in.  The woman behind the counter said it was delicious so I tried it.  AMAZING!!!!

Of course after coming home I looked at the ingredients and then got online to see if that recipe was posted anyplace.  I found it!  I went back out to Whole Foods to get some Black Quinoa and the other ingredients.  I had the regular pale quinoa but the black made this dish stand out. 

A simple dish to prepare and packed with nutrients.  Did you know: 

  • Quinoa is the only grain that is a complete protein, with all eight essential amino acids 
  • Has a rich color and unique texture, adding value to any plate. 
  • Has an earthy somewhat nutty flavor and crunchy texture 
  • It’s been called the “Mother Grain” by the ancient Incas, and a staple in their diet
  • Quinoa is Kosher
  • Perfect addition to all cuisines and vegetarian dishes
  • High in potassium which helps control blood pressure
  • Wheat and gluten free which is great for those suffering with celiac disease or wheat allergies
  • Low on the glycemic index, which means it won’t spike blood sugar levels because it enters our bodies at an even rate keeping us full longer
  • High in fiber

Note: Some caution must be taken however, when prepping your quinoa. Because the grains are covered with “Saponin”  a naturally occurring chemical compound common to plants, you must be careful to remove it.  (Saponin functions as a natural pest control by being virtually unpalatable, preventing birds and insects from eating it).   If not removed (by simply rinsing it well under water in a fine mesh sieve prior to cooking), it will taste bitter and can have minor toxic effects, causing stomach aches and sometimes vomiting. A good rinse before cooking (being sure the water runs clear) and even after will insure that all the Saponin is removed. Leaving you with a healthy, nutritious and delicious grain to eat.

Black Quinoa Asian Slaw
serves 10-12


  • 8 oz  Black Quinoa
  • 2 c. water
  • 4 oranges, segmented
  • 2 c. red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 c. snap peas, bias cut
  • 1 c. carrots, shredded
  • 1 c. scallions, bias cut
  • 1 mango, small dice
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro, rough chopped
  • 2 T fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 c. orange juice, reserved from orange segment
  • 1 t Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c. sesame oil
  • sesame seeds to garnish, toasted


1. Rinse Black Quinoa under cold water until water runs clear. Place Black Quinoa in boiling water and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Rinse again.
2. In a small bowl combine orange juice, rice wine vinegar and ginger. Slowly whisk in sesame oil to create an emulsion. Set aside to incorporate flavors in dressing.
3. In a large bowl combine Black Quinoa, red cabbage, snap peas, carrots, scallions,mangos, and cilantro.
4. Fold in dressing and let chill in fridge until ready to serve.  To serve, garnish with toasted sesame seeds if desired.

I think this is delicious on it’s own but would be a great addition to any meal as a side dish or with chicken or fish added to it.

Beautiful, Nutritious and Delicious!

Here are more Quinoa recipes you might like to try.


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  1. I have a Whole Foods about 5 minutes from me…and I think I’m there 4 times a week. I love quinoa and have both regular and black in my pantry…and will be certain to try this amazing salad! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe~

  2. Vicki – this is a GREAT recipe! There is a whole foods in my town, but it’s far enough away that I have to take a cooler with me (about a 20 minute drive). I visit with a girlfriend monthly for a “day trip”.

    I am becoming a fan of quinoa – and I appreciate this amazing recipe!

  3. Awesome post and recipe, I have been looking for the black kind and havent been able to find it. I am bookmarking this one… I have to go to Orlando to Whole foods to get it! YUM!

  4. @Lizzy – I often get a prepared food at Whole Foods and if I like it a lot I seek out the recipe. I’m sure they have it at your location. Try it before making it to see what you think. I thought it was great. Although a light dish it’s surprisingly filling. I would imagine its due to The high protein content in the quinoa.

  5. @Ann – I actually liked the black quinoa better than the pale quinoa. Just beware, it’s like eating a plate of poppy seeds. You don’t want to smile out in public after eating before flossing.

    I hope you enjoy the recipe. I also posted others at the bottom of this post.

  6. @Pegasuslegend – you can also order it online.

  7. I love how your post today is very thorough and informative! I am new to Quinoa, so it was a fun to read. We live in such a convenient world that we can replicate something delicious so easily by searching online. I love this salad and WF is a great place to shop and learn!

  8. Vicki, this surely is a stunning, gorgeous salad! I have to laugh at you a bit because I would have done the same thing – run home and see if I can figure out the recipe! My husband says that I dissect the food in my mind as I eat it at a good restaurant and then come home and turn in to a “chemist” in the kitchen trying to figure it all out! Thanks for this wonderful recipe – I will definitely bookmark this one! Thanks also for all the education about quinoa!

  9. Vicki, good one! I only have the white and red – need to get the black quinoa now, LOL.

    I knew quinoa had to be rinsed well – but didn’t know why until now. Is the saponin produced by the plant?

    Thanks again for a great recipe!

  10. When I was in Virginia for a month last year, we had a Whole Foods down the road and I must’ve gone there nearly every day…I loved it! But can you believe I never ate quinoa, never even knew it existed until I went home ;-). Your black quinoa makes for a striking contrast in this gorgeous Asian slaw, such a sight for sore eyes (and stomach!).

  11. @Nami – I hope you’ll try it. It’s very tasty. Just be sure to rinse it so it’s not bitter.

    @The Cafe Sucre Farine – thank goodness for the internet. I love it and hate it as the same time. Hours can pass before you realize just how long you’ve actually spent online.

    @Maria – thank you Maria. I was sure I had added what Saponin was. I have now added it to my blog. Stating: Since “Saponin” is a naturally occurring chemical compound common to plants, you must be careful to remove it. (Saponin functions as a natural pest control by being virtually unpalatable, preventing birds and insects from eating it)…..

    I’m glad you caught that. In fact the first time I ate it, I didn’t rinse it since the commercial packages in the stores don’t tell you too. I wasn’t that fond of it. Since educating myself about Quinoa and rinsing before and after cooking it’s made a HUGE difference in the flavor. I would always rinse it regardless of what the packaging states. That’s just my opinion.

    @Foodiva – When I was at Whole Foods and walked over to the prepared foods section, that was the dish that stood out among all their other beautiful and healthy dishes. The black against the bright colored veggies and fruit really pops out at you.

  12. Whole Foods is the best, isn’t it? Really great recipe. And tons of info about quinoa – you taught me several things I didn’t know. Thanks.

  13. @Kitchen Riffs – Yes Whole Foods is wonderful! Thank you so much for your nice comments, I’m glad I taught you something about Quinoa that you didn’t know.

    Have a great day!

  14. This looks lovely. I’m a fan of quinoa, but I’ve never ever seen black quinoa. I’ll keep my eyes open for it!

  15. Thanks for stopping by Beth. I had never seen the black quinoa either until I spotted this beautiful dish in the Whole Foods prepared food section. I like the taste of it better than the natural color. Plus it makes all the other foods pop out that you blend with it.

  16. Hi Vicki-I also shop at Whole Foods, at least once a week, and love everything they have in the store!
    I agree with you re: the produce dept. I can practically stay in that one dept. for an hour, just looking through all the amazing fresh fruits, and amazing vegetables.

    Your black quinoa Asian slaw is fresh, nutritious, colorful, and so delicious! Love how you combined the quinoa with the slaw.
    I keep passing by the grain section each time I visit, and do remember seeing the black quinoa. Will buy some next time, for sure.
    Thanks for the tip, and interesting info on the quinoa, and thanks for sharing:DDD

  17. @Ellizabeth – I know the shopping experience is amazing at Whole Foods. I try not to go there over the weekend because it’s like a mad house. So many people it’s unreal.

    As for the quinoa slaw, I take no credit for it. This is something I picked up at Whole Foods then searched online for the recipe because I loved it so much. The photo though was my recreation of that dish.

  18. I have always been puzzled about how to prepare quinoa so thanks for some great info and precautions.

    I believe Whole Foods would be the equivalent of our Harris Farm where quality does command a little premium but it is so good to be able to cook with such fresh and natural ingredients! Love the look of your slaw and I don’t think any restaurant would have done it here yet!

  19. I love Whole Foods but the closest one is an hour and a half away. 🙁
    That black quinoa looks really good- I’ve had the regular kind and the red, but never the black. I’m going to be looking for it now, to try this yummy looking recipe. 🙂

  20. This looks delicious! I found you through YBR, what an inspiring blog you have! 🙂

  21. @ChopinandMySaucepan – Quinoa can be tricky and if you don’t rinse it well it will taste bitter. Follow these directions and you’ll never have a problem. I’m happy you like the looks of the slaw. Not only is it pretty but it tastes great. If you can’t find black quinoa around you, I know they have it online.

    @ScrambledHenFruit – I’ve never had the red before. The black is so striking especially against the bright colored fruit and veggies. It really stands out. I hope you like it if you try it.

    @healthyfoodietravels – thanks for stopping by. This is delicious. Thank you for the compliment about my blog. I’ll be stopping by yours soon.

  22. I’ve been struggling with Quinoa lately. I don’t really like the flavor, but I’m not giving up. Will be trying some sweet breakfast recipes this week to see if I like it better.

  23. This dish looks amazing and refreshing. I have never tried black quinoa but I will now.

  24. Jacquelyn, it is delicious, I hope you enjoy it.

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