Sesame Quinoa Salad

I picked up a lovely toasted sesame-flavored black tea during my first visit to an Adagio retail store last fall in Chicago. This tea has just the right balance of flavor; it’s not too overwhelmingly sesame and it has a hint of toasty sweet. Ever since I purchased it I’ve wanted to make something with it in my tea foodie kitchen.

sesame quinoa salad

I finally found an excuse to test out the sesame tea with one of my favorite things to make on a weekend—a quick and easy quinoa salad. Quinoa salad makes for a tasty weekend lunch or snack. I like to make a big batch so I can take some to work for a healthy lunch early in the week.

quinoa and sesame black tea

When we make quinoa salad at our house, we’re usually emptying the fridge of any and all veggies that need to be used up. Sometimes we’ll add leftover cooked pork chop or chicken breast. Sometimes we’ll dress it simply with a nice olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or sometimes we’ll whip up a creamy curry dressing.

fridge veggies for quinoa salad

For this recipe, I played on the toasted sesame tea flavors and made an easy dressing that includes sesame oil, soy sauce and orange juice. And I cooked the quinoa in a strong brew of the toasted sesame tea.

quinoa cooking in sesame black tea

This is not the last you’ll see of this toasted sesame tea from my tea foodie kitchen. I have an idea brewing for a sesame shitake ramen next.

sesame black tea

Happy cooking and sipping!

Sesame Quinoa Salad

By Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie

Makes 4 servings


1 cup water

1 tablespoon sesame flavored loose leaf black tea (I used Toasted Sesame from Adagio)

½ cup quinoa

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

½ cup each carrots, cucumber and green beans, julienned

¼ cup scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced

1 cup chopped or shredded cooked chicken or pork (optional)

¼ cup cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional, but highly recommended)


1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add loose leaf tea and steep, covered, for 7 minutes.

2. Strain tea into a new saucepan and add quinoa. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer, covered, until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn heat off and allow quinoa to sit another 5 minutes. Remove cover, fluff quinoa with a fork and allow it to cool.

3. While quinoa is cooking, whisk together canola oil, sesame oil, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce and white pepper in a medium bowl, and set aside.

4. Prepare the veggies, then add them to the bowl with the prepared dressing and toss to combine.

5. Fold in the chicken, cilantro and cooked quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with black sesame seeds before serving.


  • For a quick shredded chicken, simmer a small boneless, skinless chicken breast in water (or tea!) until it’s cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, allow breast to cool, then chop or shred it into small pieces.
  • This recipe works with a plain black tea if you don’t have a sesame-flavored tea on hand.
  • I like my quinoa salads packed with veggies. If you prefer a salad that has a higher grains to veggies ratio, either double the amount of quinoa (and water and tea) in this recipe or cut back on the amount of veggies you throw in.
  • I like the veggies raw and crunchy, but you could blanch or steam the carrots and green beans for a slightly softer texture.

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