Citrus Infused Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

· Dear High School Graduate ·

June 3, 2017 5 Comments
Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

It's that time of year again and I am traveling to Atlanta for my nephew Jeremy's graduation. I am going back and forth about what my contribution will be to his graduation party. I am going back to place that feels like home and to friends who have become family. I lived in Georgia for 12 years; I was there when he came into the world and now he is about to embark on the next chapter of his life... College...
I remember going off to college 'eons' ago with all the feelings of excitement and fear all bottled up into one. Sometimes I wish I could do over parts of my life and if I could speak to my younger self this is exactly what I would tell me.

Dear Jeremy and all other graduates; slow down, don't be in a rush to grow older. There'll be time for that. Take the time to live in each moment, relish it, feel it, embrace it. This is what I wish that someone had told me when I was in a rush to become an adult. I could not wait for college to be over, not realizing how hard life would really be when I was truly responsible for myself and the decisions that I made and how it would impacted my future which determined the meandering road my life would follow.

Your road will most certainly not be straight, expect many obstacles along the way because that's how life is. The most important things to remember are, work smart and hard, anything worth having requires blood, sweat and tears; there is pride in failing, it builds character, just get up and try again, if you must cry only do so for a minute and move on; develop a thick skin but keep a soft heart; expect disappointments, it is a normal part of life; always remember to ask God for directions and most importantly, never give up, don't quit, just keep going. We won't give up on you!

Multi Colored Vegetable

Mixed Vegetables

Shelley, Jeremy’s mom wanted a lot of side dishes to round out her menu. The menu already included; Barbeque, Chicken, Escoveitch Fish, Rice and Peas, Ackee Dip with Festival, Avocado Dip with toasted Bulla (aka bulla and pear) and Corn Casserole, Fruit Salad and of course the graduation cake which was Carrot Cake layered with Chocolate. I decided to add a Citrus Infused Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad to the mix. The flavor combination is awesome! Not bragging but it was a hit, this was the first time that the rice and peas was left standing and the quinoa salad gone!!! I am sure that part of the reason is that people are opting for more lighter and healthier dishes and the whispers and chatters coming from the group was ‘oh, this is surprisingly good.’ Of course with every comment I was smiling my face off.

Sliced baby tomatoes

Baby Tomatoes

This citrus infused goat cheese quinoa salad has many movable parts but I promise you that the extra effort needed is worth the taste. Several of the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. The quinoa salad consists of a citrus vinaigrette dressing, pickled red onion, multi colored bell peppers, persian cucumbers, goat cheese and cilantro.

Red Pickled Onions

Pickled Red Onions

To make the Pickled Red Onions:
  • 4 medium red onions
  • 4 tablespoon salt
  • 2 large lemons
  • 3 limes
  • 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Slice onions thinly
Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoon salt on onions
Add the juice of 2 large lemon to onions
Mix well
Cover for 2 hours
Rinse onions add another tablespoon salt
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix well cover and refrigerate

Steamed Quinoa

Lightly Steamed Quinoa

Steam Quinoa
Follow directions on the package to steam the quinoa. For a better flavor steam quinoa in chicken broth. Add a couple of pepper corn and a sprig of thyme. Usually 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water, however reduce water by half a cup because quinoa should be lightly steamed to give it an al dente quality. When quinoa is steamed, spread on a sheet pan to cool.

Citrus Dressing

Citrus Vinigrette Dressing

This was dressing was adapted from but I tweaked it a bit to my liking. To give it a more robust flavor I roasted a head of garlic as this gives the garlic a milder and sweeter taste. You can double the recipe for extra dressing as its really delicious!

To make the Citrus Vinaigrette Dressing:
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 head garlic roasted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

To roast garlic; Cut off 1/4 inch of top of garlic head to expose the cloves , put in foil paper, drizzle with olive oil, wrap tightly and bake in oven 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes

Blend all the ingredients to emulsify.

Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

Citrus Infused Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Goat Cheese Salad

Citrus Infused Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

Graduation Cake

Jeremy’s Carrot Cake


Citrus Infused Goat Cheese Quinoa Salad

20 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 1/2cups chicken broth (can be substituted with vegetable broth)
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped pickled red onion
  • 1 cup citrus vinaigrette
  • 2 persian cucumbers
  • 1/2 yellow, red, and green bell pepper
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 10 red baby tomatoes


  • Add olive oil to chicken broth and steam quinoa al dente
  • Cool on sheet pan when cooked
  • Slice baby tomato in halves
  • Chop pickled onions in small pieces
  • Cut cucumbers and bell peppers in small squares
  • Break goat cheese in tiny pieces
  • Using large bowl; mix quinoa, onions, cucumber and peppers with half cup of vinaigrette
  • Sprinkle cilantro, goat cheese, red pepper flakes and toss lightly
  • Drizzle remaining vinaigrette, cover and refrigerate
Cuisine: Vegetarian | Recipe Type: Salad





  1. Susan bailey

    June 4, 2017
    Oh yum yum!!! Mouth watering dishes. I have no doubt that these were all delish.
  2. Natasha Walker

    June 8, 2017
    Oxtail is my all time favorite dish sis. Hoping to taste yours when you get hme.
    • Sharnette

      June 9, 2017
      I have a better suggestion...Please try the recipe and tell me about it.
  3. Liz

    September 9, 2017
    Wow!!! Love the recipe and the vibrant colors that scream, "Healthy and tasty!" However, I was in awe of the Jeremy's graduation message and the story that spoke to me as well! Inspirational! Yummy! And OMG!!! So proud of you! Cant wait to get my CIGCQ salad on! Sorry had to abbreviate!
    • Sharnette

      September 11, 2017
      Much love Liz, cant wait to see you and the family. I have something special to prepare for you.

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