Recipe: Tuna & Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Recipe: Tuna & Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Seamus Mullen
Oct 23, 2017
(Image credit: Colin Clark)

The rise of the one-bowl meal has a lot to do with convenience. It's easy to get all your food and flavor in one handy vessel, but figuring out just what to put in one to make it as flavorful and nutritious as possible requires some thinking. Chef Seamus Mullen has created a one-bowl meal that delivers on all fronts.

"You've got protein from the tuna, fiber and antioxidants from the quinoa, loads of vegetables, and just enough richness from nuts and goat cheese to keep you full until your next meal," he says. It's wrapped up in a tart and tangy lemon honey mustard vinaigrette that you should seriously consider doubling so you can use it on whatever salad you make next.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Do This for Even Better-Tasting Quinoa

Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that can make the cooked grain taste bitter or soapy. Luckily, it's easy to get rid of this coating by rinsing the quinoa just before cooking. Boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, but it doesn't hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home — especially if you've purchased it from the bulk section of the grocery store.

Tuna & Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Serves 4 to 6

  • For the quinoa:
  • 2 cups

    tricolor quinoa

  • 5 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water

  • 2

    fresh thyme sprigs

  • 1

    bay leaf

  • 1

    dried chile

  • Salt

  • For the dressing:
  • 1

    clove garlic, finely grated on a Microplane or minced

  • Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon

  • 2 tablespoons

    Champagne vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1/4 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • For the salad:
  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1

    medium English cucumber, cut into chunks

  • 1

    (6- to 7-ounce) can high-quality tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked

  • 2 cups

    baby arugula

  • 1/2 cup

    fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 cup

    fresh oregano leaves, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 cup

    toasted pine nuts

  • 1

    medium shallot, thinly sliced

  • Flaky finishing salt, such as Jacobsen

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup

    crumbled fresh goat cheese

Make the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer to a large saucepan and add the broth or water, thyme, bay leaf, chile, and a generous pinch of salt.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a low, steady simmer. Cover and cook until cooked through and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make the dressing.

Make the dressing: Place the garlic, lemon zest, vinegar, mustard, and honey in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. While whisking, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and continue whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

When the quinoa is ready, drain off any excess liquid. Discard the bay leaf, chile, and thyme; set aside to cool.

Make the salad: Finely grate the zest of the lemon into a large bowl. Trim the top and bottom of the zested lemon. Use a paring knife to cut off all the pith and peel. Cut out the segments between the membranes and pick out any seeds. Cut the segments into small pieces and add to the bowl with the zest.

Add the reserved quinoa, cucumber, tuna, arugula, mint, oregano, pine nuts, and shallot. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and gently toss until everything is evenly coated. Taste and season with flaky salt and pepper as needed. Top with the goat cheese and serve.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The quinoa can be cooked and the vinaigrette can be made up to 5 days ahead. Store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Reprinted from Real Food Heals: Eat to Feel Younger and Stronger Every Dayby arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Seamus Mullen.

Find Seamus' Book:

Real Food Heals: Eat to Feel Younger and Stronger Every Day by Seamus Mullen

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