California Quinoa Salad

You have no idea how happy I am that I can make this at home now. I’ve been dreaming about this oil-free quinoa salad from Whole Foods ever since I brought a tiny little container of it home and devoured it in two seconds. I searched the internet for a copycat recipe but no luck… I saved the label from the container and decided to figure it out on my own!

Copycat Whole Foods “California Quinoa Salad”

This recipe makes plenty of leftovers to last you for a few (or more) days. Perfect for busy people who enjoy quick and easy leftovers. All of these measurements were estimations, just throw in the ingredients to suit your tastes. I really don’t think you could mess this up!

I’ve been eating this so fast, I haven’t had a chance to put it in a bowl and take a proper picture so please forgive me! Just trust me, you don’t need a fancy picture of this one… I PROMISE you will love it!!!

California Quinoa Salad

1 cup mixed quinoa from Trader Joe’s – regular quinoa or red quinoa would work well here too

2 cups water (for cooking quinoa)

1 cup lentil sprouts (optional but adds a yummy crunch!)

1/2 package frozen mango from Trader Joe’s, thawed OR 1-2 diced fresh mango, diced)

1/4 large red onion, diced

1/2 medium to large red pepper, diced

1/2 small bunch cilantro, chopped 

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (optional but good!)

1/3 cup unsalted, dry-toasted slivered almonds

3/4 cup raisins (currents and cranberries will work too!)

1 1/2 cups frozen edamame, thawed

Juice of 2-3 limes

2-3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (I like to use fig balsamic vinegar)


1. Rinse quinoa well, cook as directed.

2. Fluff quinoa well when done, spread out and let cool.

3. Add all other ingredients and toss.

4. Enjoy cold!!

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  1. Courtney Cloe Reply

    I made this today, and I must say, it is amazing! I am so glad it is a big salad, I am going to send some to the station with my husband; they are trying to be plant strong and need some new ideas for recipes.

    • Yay! So glad you enjoyed it! I sent some to work with my hubby too! :-)

  2. Maggie Reply

    Delicious!! Just made it for my lunch for the week. I love a mix or unexpected flavors and perfect for the warmer weather! Thanks!!

    • Glad you like it! I’ve been making this a lot lately, so easy and yummy!

  3. Kyo Reply

    Thank you so much! I’m printing this off right now. I love this salad!

  4. tina Reply

    WOW this is delicious!!!! i am new to eating a plant based diet and have been searching for recipes and info. i am so glad i found your site :)

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  7. Jodi Reply

    Hi! Just discovered your site a few days ago while searching for this recipe (after sampling it at WF), and so glad I did! my husband is a former paramedic (also a big, tall guy), I also have 2 small children, and about a year ago we started embracing a “real food” diet (eliminating processed foods as much as possible), and just recently I have been leaning toward a purely plant-based diet … so I am excited to browse and try many of your recipes! (may have to start with those garbanzo bean cookies!) … thanks!

    • Hi Jodi! Just saw your post, sorry for the delay! We have so much in common, that’s so cool! Hope you are enjoying the recipes on my blog. What have you made so far? :-)

  8. Hi! I just discovered your site a few days ago while seacrhing for this recipe (after sampling it at WF!) and I am so glad I did! My husband is a former paramedic (also a big, tall guy), I have 2 small children, and about a year ago we started juicing & embracing a “real food” diet (eliminating processed foods one by one, as much as possible), and just recently I have been leaning toward a purely plant-based diet, so I am very excited to explore your recipes and try some out! I may have to start with those chocolate and peanut butter cookie bites! thanks!

    • You’re welcome! Glad I can give you a few recipes to help! :-)

  9. Hezz Reply

    I could not agree more!! We ate this salad for the first time yesterday and were feverishly searching for the recipe!! I can’t wait to try ur recipe and already bought the ingredients!

  10. lindsayharley Reply

    I love this! I use to get it at Whole Foods and they don’t carry it anymore. I just made it and it’s so good. Thanks so much!

    • SO glad you liked it! I make this often and I love that I don’t have to go to Whole Foods to get it!

  11. Made this today. SO yummy and a great replication of the WF dish! Great job! :)

  12. Tracy Reply

    Adding my thanks for an awesome website. Doing ETL and this is great! I made the salad tonight, adding a bunch of chopped kale, which I dropped into the pressure cooker with the quinoa and mushroom broth.
    SO GOOD!

    • You’re welcome Tracy! Those additions sound good, ill try it… Thank YOU!! :-)

  13. Fantastic salad! I substituted bulgur for quinoa and it worked out just fine.

  14. Sharon Reply

    Interestingly enough, my Whole Foods (as per the ingredient list on the glass case) has no coconut listed….. nor do I taste any hint of coconut in the salad I buy. Everything else seems on the mark. I wonder if regionally they change it up a bit? Of note: Im IN California, LOL

    • I’m in San Diego, Ca and there was coconut on my label. Weird, maybe it is location?

  15. Just came from WF in Naperville, IL, having devoured my second purchase of this salad and determined to recreate this recipe. Thanks for saving me the trouble! I happened to inquire about the coconut, which I noticed on top of the salad but hadn’t been aware of the previous time. The staff member told me it’s just a dusting on top.

    • I could write it on as optional then, it is good mixed in! :-)

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  17. pamwertz Reply

    Ack! Just used your print button and it printed out 7 pages of comments…. Excited to try this!

    • Oops! I’m working on that but it’s slow going with my two toddlers!! Hope you like it!!

  18. fin Reply

    I’m so glad I found your recipe. Like yourself, I tried this salad at WF a couple weeks ago and was determined to find the recipe. I tried a different recipe that asked for olive oil and red wine vinegar and it just wasn’t the same. I gotta mow through the remainder of that salad, but I can’t wait to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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