Damn Delicious

Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad

A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that you can make right at home, loaded with sweet mango, bell peppers, edamame and coconut!

Whole Food's California Quinoa Salad - A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that tastes 1000x better than the store-bought version!

Have you ever tried Whole Food’s California Quinoa Salad? I’ve tried it a few times and I finally got around to make it at home. And to my surprise, the homemade version is so much better.

Whole Food's California Quinoa Salad - A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that tastes 1000x better than the store-bought version!

Now I love copycat recipes because you gain full control of what’s in your dish, and you can cherry pick some of the ingredients to your preferences. So for me, I added extra mangos and extra coconut because the tropical twist in this is just amazing!

Whole Food's California Quinoa Salad - A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that tastes 1000x better than the store-bought version!

There’s also tons of other fun goodies in this salad – from the raisins to the edamame and the tangy balsamic-lime dressing. Yes, it’s definitely a party flavor with every bite!

Whole Food's California Quinoa Salad - A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that tastes 1000x better than the store-bought version!

Plus, this is incredibly healthy and nutritious, and certainly bikini-friendly. You can’t beat that!

Whole Food's California Quinoa Salad

A healthy, nutritious copycat recipe that tastes 1000x better than the store-bought version!

10 minutes10 minutes


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and lime zest; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, edamame, red onion, coconut flakes, almonds, raisins and cilantro. Pour the balsamic vinegar mixture on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately.

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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Servings Per Container 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 351.2 Calories from Fat 92.7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10.3g 16%
Saturated Fat 3.8g 19%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 16.9mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 56.9g 19%
Dietary Fiber 7.7g 31%
Sugars 20.6g
Protein 10.7g 21%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    I’m not a quinoa fan but when I had this salad from Whole Foods I wanted to eat it every day. Your version nailed it. SO GOOD 

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    i love this salad!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent summer salad. Its boiling hot in Mumbai where I live and this was a delicious light yet healthy lunch.I added 1/2 cup boiled sweet corn kernels but no raisins as my husband doesn’t like sweet salads. Though I did sprinkle mine with raisins. I didn’t have balsamic vinegar so added 3 tblsps of red wine vinegar mixed with 3/4 tbslsps honey along with the lemon zest. Wondering what to substitute mangoes with once the season ends. Any ideas?
    Thanks Chungah

  4. Rated 4 out of 5

    What are the Allergens?

  5. Hi! This looks amazing! Thinking of making it for lunch for guests. What would you serve with it?

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Is there a Pinterest link?
    I have al my recies there.

  7. Swapped out edemama ..put garbozos instead pretty tasty.  Thank you for recipe. Added a few peas as well.0

  8. Just made this last night for dinner! I’ve never added coconut flakes to anything before and LOVED it! Makes for good lunch leftovers. Really fun combo- thank you!


  9. Hi, I just had the salad for lunch and it’s pretty good. How can I reduce/remove the amount of “fat/saturated fat’? Noticed that the fat content (saturated fat too) is kind of high for a salad. Thanks.

    • Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

  10. This was one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Very quick and easy and also very healthy. The only change I made was using “orange” balsamic vinegar due to having it on hand. Not sure if this changed it much, but was very delicious.

  11. This is my new favourite quinoa dish, so quick and easy, but oh so delicious!! Pretty to look at and yummy to eat.

  12. I have a mango allergy so I used pineapple instead and I love it! Thanks so much for sharing this copy cat recipe! Can’t wait to try another one of your recipes soon!!

  13. Im eagerly looking for interesting salad recipes and stumbled across your website. Made this for dinner yesterday and packed some for lunch today. Absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Forgot to add dressing today but still equally delish! Thanks for sharing and please keep such recipes coming!

  14. I used only 2 TBL of balsamic and juice of 2 limes mixed with a little water,  no zest. I also used less than a 1/4 cup onion and more edamame for more protein. Awesome

  15. Chungah, this was amazing!!!  We just tried the Whole Foods California Quinoa Salad recently and loved it, so I knew right away I would need a recipe for it.  Yours was the first I came across and I have to tell you it is spot on perfect.  Thanks so much!

  16. You should try toasting the coconut before incorporating it into the recipe, it adds a lot of flavor.

  17. Chungah! I love you! Everything I have made from your blog has been incredible (I was caught shame-eating the sriracha cream sauce from the teriyaki salmon straight outta the fridge last week). I’ve been shopping at whole foods since forever, but somehow managed to pass over this salad until last week. I didn’t realize when I bought it that it had the coconut and mango, so was excited to discover that… and then while browsing your site for dinners this week became even MORE excited that you had a copy cat recipe!!!!!! Quinoa is cooking as I type, super pumped to make this tonight! Thanks for sharing your talents!!

  18. I just made this and it is so good! All of the recipes that I have tried from this site have been great! I am slowly making my way through the list. Thank you! You are awesome:)

  19. Do you use white balsamic vinegar or regular balsamic? Thanks

  20. Quinoa is loaded with protein and fiber. I tried it before but doesn’t taste good. But your recipe looks good. I’ll probably try it! Can’t find cilantro leave: Would it be good to use parsley instead of cilantro leave?

  21. No olive oil?

  22. I really love salad! I want to try about quinoa salad so I took time to find some recipe. I found bunch and one of them was yours, but I want to try your recipe since I love almonds, raisins and mango and your recipe has those. I am excited to make this! 🙂

  23. Is the balsamic vinegar quantity accurate? I just made this and it’s way too overwhelming and tart – cannot enjoy all the lovely ingredients in the salad.

    • Yes, the measurements are accurate, but please feel free to adjust the amounts as needed to suit your taste preferences. That’s the beauty of home cooking! 🙂

  24. I made this today and followed the recipe exactly but it was a little bitter from the zest. Maybe I put too much? I put in the zest of two whole limes. Also, it turned out really dark because of the balsamic vinegar. A lot darker than your picture. I even put in a little less than 1/4 cup.

    • Joyce, how much quinoa did you use? The recipe calls for 1 cup uncooked quinoa, which should have yield about 3 cups cooked.

  25. Does anyone have any recipes on couscous salads. Tried it at an organic market in Point Reyes California, it was the best!!

  26. Hey, I saw your quinoa salad and just HAD to make it. It’s been featured here –> http://www.obsessivecooking.com/2014/10/whole-foods-quinoa-salad.html

    Thanks for the delicious and healthy recipe. I devoured it and my friends all are inspired by you too 😀

  27. Do you mean 1 cup cooked quinoa or dried quinoa??

    • Jessica, you will be starting with uncooked quinoa, and cooking it to package instructions as indicated in the first step of the recipe.

  28. Could you make this a day ahead or would it ruin the flavors some way?

    • I think it should be fine – it’ll really let the flavors soak in!

    • The only thing I noticed was that the raisins plumped up a bit. The flavors really melded – I made it on a Sunday and had leftovers for lunch Monday and Tuesday. I probably wouldn’t let it go three days because the mangoes may start to deteriorate.

  29. This is the best Quinoa salad I have ever made and I have made quite a few. So many delicious ingredients that go so well together. Love it!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  30. So good! I omitted the bell pepper and edamame and used chopped almonds instead of sliced. I replaced the like zest with the juice of half a like. Definitely making again! I also soaked the quinoa for about 4 hours prior since it usually upsets my stomach otherwise.

  31. I love this Salad! We do not have a WF here (I live in the middle of nowhere!) so I am totally digging the copy-cat recipes. Thanks 🙂

  32. Yes, i must say you are perfect in your field. I really appreciate your work. I ‘ll be waiting for your next update. Keep up the good work.
    Grocery Coupons

  33. Made this with cous-cous instead of quinoa for some picky family members and it was a huge hit. Making it again with the quinoa for a GF friend this week.

  34. After bariatric surgery for weight loss, I started to build a salad from quinoa on up. It was lacking, but the significant protein in the quinoa was worth a try. This recipe fills in the gaps, holes if you will, in my recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Oh, and BTW, don’t believe it when the company says it is Pre-Washed! Wash it regardless of what they print on the package.

  35. Gonna make mine with ORZO pasta.

  36. Sounds delicious and can’t wait to try it. Wish we had the nutritionals, though.

  37. How much lime is zest of two limes? Can you explain further?

  38. I’m so glad you posted a recipe for this! I can’t wait to try it! 🙂

  39. I just made this for a party & it really is delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  40. So bright and fresh, wish I had this now!

  41. This quinoa looks awesome! Gotta try this one!

  42. Oh yum, this looks amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen this at my Whole Foods but now I want to go check!

  43. I like the coconut mixed in. This would make a GREAT lunch for those of us who
    work most particularly——with a 10 minute prep time—hello—-awesome.

  44. Yum! Perfect for a lunchbox main 🙂 I love the idea of adding coconut flakes to a quinoa salad too.

  45. I’m hooked on so many things at Whole Foods but I haven’t gotten around to trying their version of this salad. This looks so colorful and satisfying, and that balsamic-lime dressing sounds delicious!

  46. Love quinoa salads, and your version looks so fresh and colorful – YUM! Perfect lunch!

  47. I’m loving the colors and flavors of this salad, the mango is a great touch!

  48. This salad looks just fresh and colorful. It’s screaming my name! 🙂

  49. It’s been a while since I’ve visited a Whole Foods Salad Bar – they do have great inspiration there!

  50. Love the colourful look of this – so pretty! Looks perfect for a potluck, too 🙂

  51. Oh my! This looks amazing, and thumbs up for adding a little extra of the tropical things, so delicious and colourful! I just wish we could get proper shelled edamame here, have only found tiny snack boxes of them or canned ones, but they’re just not the same! Will have to give this a go 🙂

  52. Not to mention that it tastes better, you can control the exact ratios of ingredients, but hello money savings! Love WFs but not the prices of their deli stuff. You could go broke to feed a family dinner in there! Great recipe and idea!