Quinoa Salad Bowl with Shrimp bursts with fresh, bright, tropical flavors. This light lunch or dinner is super satisfying, healthy and pretty!
A perfect summer dinner for a relaxing weekend or busy weeknight. This is a hearty dish that's somehow also light, and is all in one bowl!
What is quinoa?
- Quinoa is a grain, but not a grass like wheat and rice.
- Considered a "superfood," botanically, quinoa is closely related to spinach.
- It's a very healthy food and is a whole protein, which means that it contains all nine essential amino acids.
- Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free, high in dietary fiber, B vitamins, and dietary minerals.
What are the differences in quinoa varieties?
- There are over one hundred types of quinoa! I know, who knew?
- The most common quinoa colors that we see in stores are white/yellow, red, and black.
- The varieties vary slightly in taste and texture. I used a mix of red and white/yellow in this recipe, but you can use any one you'd like to.
- I find that the darker colors tend to have a slightly firmer texture and nuttier, earthier flavor, while the lighter colors are a bit more bitter.
When to Serve it
- This is a fantastic "one bowl" meal that works really well for lunch or dinner.
- It's lovely for a dinner party, and quick and easy enough for a busy weeknight.
- For guests, arranging the salad on a large serving platter, or in individual bowls, is a beautiful presentation, and shows off its more elegant side.
Can you make it ahead?
Yes! Here's how:
- Cook the Tropical Quinoa a day ahead of time, let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
- A few hours ahead of time, cook the shrimp, and chop the greens and onion.
- Mix it all together -- or -- arrange it all in bowls or a serving platter, about thirty minutes before you're ready to serve.
How to Change up the Tropical Quinoa Salad . . . .
If shrimp isn't your thing, you can switch it out for a protein you prefer. I think either chicken or tofu would be a good alternative. Or you can keep it vegan and skip the protein all together, in which case you should use more pineapple and lettuce.
I use a mixture of fresh mint and basil -- you can also use one or the other, or use cilantro, parsley, or any combination thereof.
Not into coconut? Use all pineapple juice to cook the quinoa. You get the idea.
(And yes, if you want to, you can use fresh pineapple and pineapple juice from a can. I use the pineapple chunks in pineapple juice from the 20-ounce can because it works perfectly for this recipe, as you'll see in the instructions.)
More unique and delicious quinoa recipes:
- Quinoa Crisps
- Crispy Red Quinoa Burgers
- Smoky Lemon-Paprika Quinoa
- Lemon Vegetable Quinoa
- Gluten-Free Quinoa Crusted Fried Chicken
- Lemon-Black Quinoa Plum and Avocado Salad
I hope you enjoy this Tropical Quinoa Salad Bowl with Shrimp, and any of the other quinoa recipes you try.
Quinoa Salad Bowl with Shrimp
- grapeseed oil for the pan
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (click here for how to peel & devein)
- 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 teaspoon low sodium, gluten-free soy sauce (see notes)
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ¾ cup red onion, very thinly sliced
- 2 cups loosely packed lettuce (baby greens, romaine, your choice)
- ¼ cup fresh mint, washed and dried, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil, washed and dried, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Cook shrimp. Add enough grapeseed oil to coat the bottom of a large sauté pan. Heat the pan with the oil over high heat. Season both sides of the shrimp with salt and pepper, and once the pan is hot, add them to the pan. You should hear a sizzling sound -- if you don't, your pan's not hot enough. Wait until the pan is very hot and listen for the sizzle! Sauté the shrimp just until cooked through, about 1 to 1½ minutes per side. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare pineapple. Drain the pineapple chunks over a medium-sized saucepan. Make sure to get all of the juice from the can -- it should measure exactly 1 cup. Set the pineapple chunks aside for later.
- Cook quinoa. Add the coconut water and the soy sauce to the saucepan with the pineapple juice, along with the quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Cool quinoa and mix everything together. Place the quinoa in a large serving or mixing bowl and let it cool completely. Add the lime zest and juice, onions, greens, pineapple chunks, raspberries, shrimp, and herbs. Mix it gently to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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delicious!!! made it this evening with red quinoa and fresh pineapple no juice. whole family LOVED it! thanks Valentina <3
Coby, so happy you tried this -- and even happier that everyone loved it! Red quinoa is gorgeous. 🙂
wow those shrimps are succulent and yummy...this is a perfectly healthy and delicious meal, Valentina. Have a wonderful weekend!
Thank you, Angie! I hope you have a great weekend, too. 🙂 ~Valentina
David @ Spiced
This sounds like a delicious summer recipe, Valentina! Those shrimp look insanely delicious, and the flavors are totally calling to me for lunch on a warm day. I love the quinoa twist here, too!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
I love shrimp and pineapple together and who doesn't love quinoa? Sounds like such a delicious, healthy meal, perfect during the summer!
Totally in for ancient grains ! Perfectly combined with shrimps !
Yay! Hope you love it. 🙂
We've been eating a lot of shrimp lately! I'm into the quinoa and everything else in this delicious salad for sure! Pinning! xo
Thanks, Kim! Hope you enjoy!:-)
Another quinoa lover here . . . use mostly white or orange about twice a week and have done so for about a decade . . . love the prawn addition but rarely use tinned fruit - *smile* one can het around that ! Must get into your other quinoa recipes after work . . . thanks !
Thanks, Eha. I must seek out orange quinoa. I bet it's so pretty! 🙂 ~Valentina
Because of broken toes have been using Lite n' Easy, a ready-made hugely popular meal service for a few weeks - one of the most interesting dinners I chose was lamb with honey and cinnamon served with Israeli couscous, orange quinoa and sweet potato . . . sounds a mess but was so good have ordered it again for next week !
Oh that sounds so interesting! I bet it's delicious -- love the addition of the honey and cinnamon. 🙂
David Scott Allen
We both love quinoa, but somehow have forgotten about it. This salad bowl fits perfectly into our new “eat lighter at dinner” campaign. And now, thanks to Eha, I might have to find orange quinoa!
Right!? I'm going to have my eye out for the orange quinoa, too. Hope you enjoy and thanks, Valentina
I love everything about this quinoa bowl. In fact, I'd want to make sure I made enough for dinner that I could have leftovers for lunch!!
Thanks, Liz. Yes, makes for a great lunch the next day. 🙂
John / Kitchen Riffs
I almost always have shrimp in the freezer, and usually quinoa in the pantry. This looks like such a delish and easy dish -- thanks!
Thanks, John!Great idea to always have shrimp in the freezer. 🙂
I can't even begin to tell you how much better THIS SALAD is than what I am currently eating (sigh). What I would not give to have that instead! This is going to make a fabulous and easy weeknight dinner - YUM!!!!
Wish I could had a bowl over to you. 😉 Thanks so much, Nancy!
Let me start off by saying, I am thrilled to have found your recipe! 5 stars isn’t even enough to rate how amazing this meal is and how perfectly all of the flavors just compliment each other. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first upon cooking the quinoa, not being sure how everything was going to taste in the end when put together and how the quinoa was going to turn out in general. If I had been wearing socks when I tried the first bite of this meal, they would’ve been knocked right off! Of course there are a few adjustments I made, and didn’t include all of the items when I put everything together. First, I sampled the quinoa and words cannot describe how delicious it was, the flavors go together perfectly! I couldn’t wait to put everything together after tasting the quinoa! I laid a small bed of arugula down then added the quinoa with pineapple chunks and shrimp on top of the arugula. I then added some fresh mint and was so impressed and amazed with this recipe! I am part Hawaiian and love coconut milk, so I was eager to try this recipe, and beyond ecstatic when I found out how delicious this was. I already want to make it again. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe !
Hi Brittany, you totally made my day with this lovely note! And it's my birthday! 😀 So thank you very much. I'm so happy you loved this recipe so much. The quinoa does do a good job soaking up all of the flavors. So glad you tried it, and thanks for checking out my site and recipes. ~Valentina
I love this ! I like all of the elements together, and I just ordered some good shrimp! Thanks!
Mimi, I hope you love it. Thank you! 🙂 ~Valentina