Lentil, Quinoa, and Orzo Salad

When a five year old says, “This is my favorite thing! I want more”, then it’s a sure bet that you have a winner on your hands. Then again, in all fairness, I need to tell you that this particular five year old does not like my homemade cookies. It may have something to do with the fact that his mother (my daughter, Tricia) is a chef, so his tastes have been trained in a slightly different direction–the kind of direction where food is sold at $300 a plate.

It’s amusing to watch a five year old and a two year old munching away on duck and scallops and filet mignon, offering their own personal critiques on the quality of the ingredients and the nuances of the flavors. They do it in their own language skill set, the five year old (Gavin) being the most verbose of the two boys. Kade (2) just plows through everything, pushing whatever he doesn’t like to one side of his plate and the rest in his mouth. If Kade is especially fond of something, he will hoard his own portions and steal extras off of his parent’s plates. Gavin is more civilized, he just asks for seconds.

On this salad, Gavin even asked for thirds, eating it like a man possessed. I’m on Gavin’s side, I went after thirds, too.

I have a confession, this was my first experience with cooking quinoa. Now I see what all the fuss is about. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first; I’m one of those people who is a little leery of new foods. With quinoa, I liked the texture, somewhat chewy with some of the grains giving a bit of a ‘pop’ as they are chewed. The flavor is mild and somewhat nutty. The most interesting thing for me was that I kept wanting more and more of it, unadorned except for the light saltiness it had picked up from the cooking water. Mixed with the salad ingredients and the dressing, I was more than content to keep eating this salad off and on throughout the day.

I just have to make an interjection right now…the plumbers are here!!!!!!!!!!! Today, in a few more minutes I will have running water in my kitchen for the first time in nearly a month! Soon, very, very soon, my new kitchen will be up and running. Imagine me doing a happy dance right now. No more doing dishes bent over a large bucket in the bathtub! Wahooooooo!

Okay, I’m under control again.

Although there are three different elements that need to be cooked for this salad (lentils, quinoa, and orzo) they can be cooked in the same pot. Start out cooking the lentils and the quinoa together for ten minutes, then add the orzo for the final 15 minutes. Drain and rinse when finished and you are good to go with adding the remainder of the ingredients for a really lovely summer salad.

Lentil, Quinoa, and Orzo Salad

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'


  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (I used 1/4 cup red and 1/4 cup white pre-rinsed quinoa)
  • 1/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 small European cucumbers, unpeeled and diced
  • 1 small red, yellow, or orange pepper, small diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loose packed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (not olive oil--the flavor is too strong)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt, to taste


    For the Salad:
  1. In a 3 quart pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the quinoa and french green lentils.
  2. Cook for ten minutes, then add the orzo. Stir well, then cook for another 15 minutes until the orzo is al dente. Do not over-cook. The lentils will be slightly firm, which is perfect for this salad.
  3. Pour into a fine mesh colander and rinse under cool water. Drain well.
  4. Put the quinoa, lentils, and orzo in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, cilantro, and parsley and mix lightly.
  5. For the dressing.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, fresh lemon juice, vegetable oil, cumin, and cinnamon. Pour over salad and toss well. Taste and adjust for flavoring with salt.
  7. Cover salad and refrigerate for at least one hour, longer is better. Can be stored for two days under refrigeration.


Look at THIS!!!!!!!!!!! I have running water in the kitchen at last!!!!!!!!

….which means that I can make and and eat more things like this without having to run back and forth to use water in other parts of the house! I am just feeling so happy and grateful right now.




  1. says

    Congrats on having water in the kitchen!!You have been a real trooper.The salad looks great I have been wanting to try quinoa.Have fun splashing in the sink.

    • says

      Thank you! It was kind of weird when I started to cook dinner last night. I kept leaving the kitchen to go to the bathroom sink to wash my hands or fill a pot with water. I’d get about halfway to the bathroom and then suddenly remember that I actually had running water in the kitchen! I feel like such a klutz right now.

  2. says

    I can’t wait to see the final pictures of the kitchen! (Supposing you will be posting them?) I have heard lots about quinoa, but I have yet to cook with it. This salad looks yummy! And I got a laugh out of those boys having sophisticated tastes. I sure wish I had the $300-a-plate-talent! 🙂

    • says

      Yes, I will be posting them soon. We still have a few finishing touches to complete, but the kitchen is fully functional. We have to do some touch-up painting, put the baseboards back in place, and install some new blinds. I keep switching some things around in drawers and cabinets, trying to figure out the best place for everything. My give-away box is getting bigger and bigger. I have told myself, “If you can’t find a place for it in the kitchen, then give it away. No more hoarding!!!!!!” Eek. I hate it when I make rules for myself. The only exception I making is for a few random appliances such as a largeish ice cream maker, a bread machine, and an over-sized cake plate. Actually, I’m still on the fence about whether to keep the cake plate or not. …Holy smokes…look at this long reply! LOL

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