Peruvian Soltero de Quinoa Salad

Peruvian Soltero de Quinoa Salad is a delicious, nutritious make-ahead salad with Christmas colors which makes it perfect for the holidays.

Although I don’t make it often, the Soltero de Queso salad is one of my favorites. I enjoy how it is made from such a complex combination of vegetables. It is much more a vegetable cheese medley than a salad as we know it. Nevertheless, it is a salad that comes from Arequipa and is well loved throughout Peru.

Salads like the Solterito are common at Christmas in Peru because meals in the summer tend to be fresh and light. Additionally, eating the main Christmas meal at midnight means the food preparation really must happen ahead of time and this is a perfect salad to tuck into the refrigerator until the midnight fireworks are done. Midnight meal? Midnight fireworks? Yes, Latin traditions are quite different from the ones I grew up with. I remember leaving cookies and carrots out for Santa and his reindeer along with a note as I went to bed early on Christmas Eve. Here in Peru, bedtime is just about when things are getting started!

Given that the original Soltero Salad has quite a mixture of colors, I wanted a Christmas version that truly highlighted the holiday colors. Not only that, I wanted to make it more of a quinoa salad instead of using potatoes as the main starch. This raises the nutritional level and using the red quinoa gives it a delightful color. 

The quinoa salad mixture can be prepared during the day, with the dressing, and placed over the lettuce just before serving. Of course, you could substitute green peas or edamame for the fava beans should you prefer. Change the queso fresco for cubes of mozzarella or even fresh mozzarella. Personalize this as you wish so that it is a salad your family can enjoy year after year! 


  1. 2 cups cooked, cooled red quinoa
  2. 1 cup blanched, cooled fava beans
  3. 1 cup cubed queso serrano (or fresco)
  4. 1 cup finely diced roma tomato
  5. 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  6. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 T red wine vinegar
  8. 3 T fresh squeezed key lime juice
  9. 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  10. salt
  11. pepper
  12. lettuce for decoration


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine quinoa, fava beans, cheese, tomato, parsley, and garlic. Add vinegar, lime juice and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Use lettuce as a base and serve quinoa mixture on top of it.


  1. The red quinoa requires a bit more water and a bit more cooking time than “regular” quinoa. Plan accordingly.

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