Most people know that quinoa is one of the best superfoods on the market today and highly versatile. Because of this, quinoa has been used in many recipes, including various salads.
You can keep your quinoa salad fresh in the fridge by storing it in an airtight container, leaving the dressing off, and keeping the meat separate from the quinoa. It is also best to put your quinoa in the fridge right after you cook it rather than letting it sit out for any period.
Not sure how to keep your quinoa salad fresh in the fridge? Let’s look at the proper ways to store it and how to tell if your quinoa salad has gone bad.
Will Quinoa Go Bad if it’s Left Out?
When it comes to leaving food out, it is essential to remember that any food that has been cooked will go bad if left at room temperature for more than two hours. Quinoa is no different from this, especially once it has been cooked.
After you purchase quinoa at the market, it is best to store it in your pantry or cabinet unopened until you are ready to cook it. This will ensure the raw seeds stay in their best condition when you use them.
Once you have cooked your quinoa, like other cooked foods, it will begin to go bad if left at room temperature after two hours. While many people say you can leave it out for many hours, the USDA recommends that any cooked food left out after this period be tossed to prevent illness.
The bottom line is that, yes, if left out for extended periods, quinoa will go bad. Because of this, it is recommended that once you have cooked it, let it cool for a few minutes, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How Long Will Quinoa Salad Last in the Fridge?
Knowing how long quinoa salad will last in the fridge depends entirely on what you have put in it. However, since different foods have various spoilage times, it is vital to know how this will affect your quinoa salad.
In most cases, if your quinoa salad contains only quinoa and veggies, it will likely last longer than if you have included meats. This means that your quinoa and veggies will likely last 7-10 days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container.
If you have added meat such as chicken to your quinoa salad, the shelf life in the fridge may be reduced by several days. Quinoa salad that includes chicken or other meat will likely only last up to a week at most.
But different foods break down differently, depending on how they are prepared and the food type. For example, meats like chicken, beef, and turkey tend to break down much faster than other foods, such as vegetables.
At the end of the day, if you have made quinoa salad, it will likely be at its best for a week to 10 days at most. After this time, you may want to toss it and make a new batch to prevent yourself from getting ill.
How to Tell if Your Quinoa Salad Has Gone Bad
Knowing whether or not your quinoa salad has gone bad entails a few different features that are common in most types of food. These features can be detected through appearance, smell, and even taste.
When quinoa is cooked, depending on the type you have purchased, it has a distinct appearance. This includes the seed that has popped open slightly and has a round shape and distinctive coloring.
The first sign of quinoa salad that has gone bad is typically seen through its appearance. In most cases, a quinoa salad that has gone bad will be runnier than usual, and the color of the ingredients will fade slightly.
Smelling it is one of the best ways to determine whether or not your quinoa salad has gone bad. If the quinoa salad has gone bad, the smell will be noticeable as soon as you open the container.
In most cases, if it smells different than when you made it initially, there is a chance that the salad has gone bad. If this is the case for you, it is best to toss it to prevent any food-borne illness.
If you cannot determine whether the quinoa salad has gone bad through the appearance or smell, tasting it will be another way to try it. When quinoa salad has gone bad, it will have a taste that is off from what it was initially.
What’s the Best Way to Store Quinoa Salad?
For most foods, including quinoa salad, you can store them in different ways as long as the containers are airtight. Some of these ways include storage containers or even plastic storage bags, as long as they are airtight.
Whichever way you store your quinoa salad, you should be sure that you do so within two hours of it being cooked. After this period, bacteria begin to grow, which aids in breaking down the food and causing spoilage.
After you have cooked your quinoa and prepared your quinoa salad, give it about 10-15 minutes to cool completely. At this point, place the salad in either a storage container or bag, seal it completely, and put it in the fridge.
Keep in mind that all food in the fridge should be stored separately from each different type. For example, if raw meats are stored in the refrigerator, you will want to place your quinoa salad well above them to prevent cross-contamination.
Ways to Make it Last Longer
For most people, you are likely looking for ways to make your quinoa salad last much longer than the recommended timeframe.
Since cooking is typically time-consuming, finding ways to make your quinoa salad last longer means more time saved.
Wait to Add the Meat
One way to make your quinoa salad last longer is to add the meat when ready to consume it. Since meat breaks down much faster, storing it separately can keep your quinoa salad fresh.
Add the Dressing as You Eat
Another way to ensure your quinoa salad stays fresh longer than the suggested time is to add your dressing as you eat it.
When the dressing is added to the salad ahead of time, it causes the entire salad to stay moist, which can increase bacteria growth.
Put it in the Freezer
Some people recommend even placing your quinoa salad in the freezer instead of in the fridge if you want it to last longer. Keep in mind that the integrity of the salad may not be the same when you thaw it by using this method, but it will last longer.
Overall, if you want your quinoa salad to last longer, you can do a few things to make it happen. Of course, it depends entirely on what ingredients you use to prepare your salad to know how long it will last.
Final Thoughts on How to Keep Quinoa Salad Fresh
The bottom line when it comes to keeping quinoa salad fresh is that you should always follow the guidelines and recommendations of the USDA. This means ensuring you do not leave it exposed to room temperature for more than two hours and storing it in an airtight container in the fridge between uses.