Carrot, Spinach and Quinoa Salad

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 in featured, Recipes, Sides and salads, Vegetarian | 16 comments

Carrot, Spinach and Quinoa Salad

I am always thinking about how I can prepare low FODMAP vegies and fruits in new and interesting ways.  Carrots have been calling out to me for a while.  We’ve all had plenty of carrots cut into sticks, sliced and diced, steamed, boiled and baked.  Lately though, I have wanted to make carrot the main ingredient for a salad.





This salad made a great side for a roasted chicken that I had marinated in Indian spices and lactose free yoghurt.  I wasn’t cooking potatoes or any other carbohydrate, so the quinoa made a nice inclusion.



Quinoa is a good source of protein which, as I can vouch for after this meal, helps keep you feeling satisfied for longer (meaning I don’t go looking for dessert!)  I cooked the quinoa with some gently toasted ginger, cumin and coriander, which gave it a warm spicy undertone.  I spread the cooked quinoa out in a shallow bowl to cool before combining with the grated carrot and spinach and some chives.



I chose small-sized carrots for their sweetness.  The salad was finished with a lemon and olive oil dressing and a scattering of chopped cashews.  In all honesty, I don’t cook a lot of quinoa because not everyone in my family gets excited about it.  So it was surprising to me that this salad was enjoyed by all around our dinner table.  I noticed no one else went hunting for a snack before bedtime either; gotta be happy with that!



Carrot, Spinach and Quinoa Salad


If quinoa is not to your taste, you could try using basmati rice, cooking it the same way as the quinoa without rinsing at the start.  Instead of cashew flaked almonds would be nice.  I think this salad would also be good with some paneer (Indian yoghurt cheese) or even grilled haloumi.

⅔ cup (135g) quinoa
2 teaspoons garlic infused oil
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 ⅓ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
3-4 (250g) small carrots, coarsely grated
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
large handful (approx. 50g) baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cashews (see note below)

Rinse the quinoa well in cold water then drain in a fine sieve.

Heat garlic infused oil over low heat in a medium saucepan.  Add the ginger and spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the quinoa and stir to combine.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring.  Add the water, bring to the simmer, then cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until tender and the water has been absorbed.  Spread quinoa over a large late or shallow bowl and cool to room temperature.

Mix cool quinoa with the carrots, chives and spinach.  Combine the lemon juice and oil and mix into the salad.  Gently toast the cashews in a dry fry pan until golden and scatter over the top.


Please note: The recently published 3rd edition of Monash University’s “The low FODMAP diet” has now listed cashews in the high fructan and/or GOS list .  The quantity in this recipe may not be problematic (2 tablespoon spread over 4-6 servings).  However, if you prefer you could choose another nut, such as almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, or pumpkin seeds,  noting that their serving sizes are recommended to be no more than 1 handful per serve.


  1. Hi
    Just wondering where you can get lactose free yoghurt that is plain with no sugar, as the only ones I have been able to find have sugar in them.
    Thanks for the great recipes!

    • Hi Jodie,
      That’s a great question. Liddells is the easiest brand of plain lactose free yoghurt to find in Australia. Sugar is listed on the ingredients. I have contacted Liddells to find out if that is added sugar or the glucose left after the breakdown of lactose. I am waiting on an answer in the snail mail; I will let you know the answer.
      The other brand, Vaalia, doesn’t have a plain youghurt in their lactose free range. I have contacted them with this request.
      Does anybody else know of a lactose free plain yoghurt with no added sugar or inulin?
      Cheers, Nat

      • As an update, I received a letter from Liddells. The sugar in their plain yoghurt is not added sugar, but the glucose and galactose left after the lactase enzyme has broken down the lactose.
        Makes the labelling a bit confusing but there you have it straight from Liddells.

    • You might also find this an interesting read:

    • Black Swan make a ‘Naturally Sweet Greek Style Breakfast Yoghurt’. It is available from Woolworths.(500g in a white and yellow coloured plastic container) It does not have added sugar, is lactose free and low fat and it tastes really good

    • try using the liddels its less sweet available at woolies

  2. I’m looking forward to trying this one. Thanks Natalie.

  3. Hi Natalie,
    Thank you for this recipe, I made it for dinner tonight , it was delicious, easy and inexpensive to make, I will definitely be making it again! I might up the spices a bit for our taste! I would also like to report that during a veryrecent information session for newly diagnosed fructose malabsorption , Sue Shepherd said that cashew nuts are now on the high fodmap list together with pistachios! Having said that, I still added a handful on the grounds that I removed them from my serve, the rest of the family enjoyed them!
    Thanks again Natalie, I am so pleased to have found your site and to receive your updates. It’s a very steep learning curve to negotiate so I appreciate any help I can get!,

    • Hi Barbara,
      You are correct that cashews do contain FODMAPs (fructans/GOS). This is why I have only used them as a garnish in this recipe (2 tablespoons spread over 4-6 servings); apologies I really should have mentioned this above. Most nuts should be limited to no more than 1 handful per serve (approx.10). Of course, this salad won’t suffer too much from omitting the nuts all together. I do love a bit of crunch though!
      Cheers, Nat

  4. Can’t wait to try this recipe. It sounds so delicious. Natalie, many thanks for your inspiration to make our meals more interesting and tasty! Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating gratitude in their lives. :-)

  5. Was only just lamenting that I was finding it difficult to make Quinoa tasty – without adding lots of massel stock cubes! This salad looks delicious – thank you! Your recipe book is my stand out favourite from all the low FODMAP ones I have bought – the photography makes me want to cook everything. Love the link to Jalna too – LOL for being under “Special Needs”!

  6. HI Natalie
    here in NZ we have Retro-organics plain , sugar free Lactose free yougurt

  7. Natalie, as a newly diagnosed lactose and fructose malabsorption community member, would like to add my thanks for the great help you and your blog are…medical profession not very enlightening. Have myself looked for yoghurt with less sugar, but Liddell’s seems to be the only one. I have made quinoa salad with parsley, sliced olives,dry tomato and lemon and oil dressing.

  8. I’m curious, as garlic is one of the biggest no nos for my daughter, is the garlic infused oil OK?

    • Hi Nerida, garlic is certainly a high FODMAP food. However, garlic infused oil is quite safe as the fructans in the garlic are not fat soluble, ie they don’t remain in the flavoured oil after the pieces of garlic are removed.
      Cheers, Nat

  9. My local IGA stocks Kingland Soy Yoghurt, it does contain sugar but is a lower quantity than Liddells.

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