Healthy Turkish Recipes Recipes Salads

Quinoa Kisir Salad Recipe

Fluffy quinoa seasoned with a Turkish-style pomegranate and red pepper sauce. Also, there is fresh flat-leaf parsley, crunchy cucumbers, and juicy tomatoes. You are going to love how easy it is to make this Quinoa Kisir Salad Recipe. ♡

quinoa kisir salad recipe

What is Turkish Kisir?

Traditional Kisir salad is made up of small bulgar, red pepper paste, or tomato paste and fresh vegetables like cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes. Nothing more, nothing less.

I’ve eaten many different versions of kisir and all tastes lovely. I’ve always thought to myself, why not swap out bulgar for healthier quinoa? And here we are. To be honest, it can actually be quite nerve-racking when putting a modern stamp on something so traditional.

By all means, I do not want to step on traditional kisir salad. I simply want to eat healthier. So here I am de-railing it. With love.

red sauce over a bowl of quinoa

Again, I like to make a separate paste that contains the onions, garlic, pastes, and spices. I mix it well before transferring it to the cooked quinoa. Then, I ditch the whisk and use either my hands to massage the quinoa until seasoned well or I use a spoon.

I must say, it’s much funner to use my hands!

Ingredients You Will Need

Cooked QuinoaYou will need 4 cups of cooked quinoa. That’s 2 cups quinoa+ 2 cups cold water cooked in the instant pot for 10 minutes.
Red Pepper Paste You can find this ingredient at your local Mediterranean market or in the middle-eastern section of most national supermarket chains.
Tomato PasteIf you don’t have tomato paste, feel free to use tomato sauce. Either one will work wonders.
Pomegranate MolassesIs sweet and tangy. Again, you can find this ingredient at your local Mediterranean market.
Olive OilWill add a nice buttery texture and flavor.
Herbs and SpicesLike garlic, mint, oregano, and parsley.
LemonI find that the zest and juice of one lemon are perfect for this quinoa salad.
Fresh Vegetables Like onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Tips To Make The Best Quinoa Kisir Salad

Tip 1: make sure to remove the insides of the tomatoes. This will prevent your salad from being too soggy with excess juices.

Tip 2: make a super-concentrated flavor-bomb paste out of the spices, tomato paste, and red pepper paste (more information in the recipe card).

Tip 3: chop your tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions the same size (if possible). The uniformity will provide the best eating experience because each spoonful will contain all of the ingredients—resulting in one flavorful bite!

a bowl of quinoa salad flavored Turkish style


  • Swap out the tomatoes for the sweet red pepper. I understand that not everyone likes tomatoes. In this case, red pepper will give the same look and a nice crunch.
  • Use fresh mint or dried mint. In a previous kisir recipe, I used fresh mint. However, I didn’t have any this time around. Instead, I used dried mint. It’s just as good.
  • Use red pepper paste or tomato paste. I enjoy the combination of both. However, if you are unable to reach one of them, feel free to double up on one of them.

To Serve

Though you can enjoy this quinoa kisir salad the way you like, it can be enjoyed inside a lettuce leaf or alongside your meal in place of any salad.

More than often, I enjoy eating kisir alone on a plate.

To Store

This is the perfect make-ahead dish to bring to any gathering. The longer it sits, the better it gets! Remember, do not add the tomatoes and cucumbers until the day of for optimal freshness.

a plate of kisir salad made with quinoa

More Turkish Recipes!

Read the recipe from start to finish. You will better understand the flow of the recipe and identify any unfamiliar words or methods.

Shop for the ingredients beforehand. When you shop ahead, you are less likely to swap out ingredients for what you don’t have, thus creating a complete recipe fail!

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment below and an honest rating. ♡

0 from 0 votes
Quinoa Kisir Salad Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
Course: Salads
Cuisine: Turkish-American
Keyword: quinoa, salad
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 234 kcal
Jillian: Jillian
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa that’s roughly 2 cups of quinoa + 2 cups water cooked in the instant pot for 10 minutes.
  • Kisir paste
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp red pepper paste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon zest of, juice of
  • 1 cup onion (about 1 small onion) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried mint
  • ¼ tsp dried garlic powder or 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste
  • Vegetables
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup tomatoes ( about 3-4 roma tomatoes) seeds and innards removed, small dice
  • 1 cup Persian cucumbers ( about 3-4 persian cucumbers) small dice
  1. Add the cooked and cooled quinoa to a bowl, set aside. 
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, add the pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, red pepper paste, onion, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, onion, oregano, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix really well until a thick paste-like sauce forms.
  3. Next, add the paste/sauce to the quinoa and massage generously with your hands or a spoon. I like to massage for 2-3 minutes just to make sure every grain is fully coated to its full potential.

  4. Then, add the parsley. Mix and combine.
  5. When ready to serve, add the chopped tomatoes and cucumbers. Give a gentle toss. 
  6. Serve cold or keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days. 
Recipe Notes

Serve: with a slice of lemon and romaine lettuce leaves or alongside any meal.

How long does quinoa kisir salad last? store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Do you like spice? Add jalapeno or serrano at the same time you add the vegetables. 

Nutrition Facts
Quinoa Kisir Salad Recipe
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
Monounsaturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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