Wild Rice Quinoa Salad

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published December 17, 2023

This easy-to-make salad is put together in minutes for a quick lunch or dinner.

This vibrant and nutritious dish features a harmonious ingredients blend that promises flavor and health benefits. With cooked quinoa, wild rice, fresh tomatoes, parsley, green onions, and a medley of aromatic spices, this salad is a testament to the delicious possibilities of a diabetes-friendly diet. The carefully selected components offer a symphony of flavors and textures and align seamlessly with managing blood glucose levels.

Quinoa: The Diabetic-Friendly Supergrain for Stable Blood Sugar and Satisfying Meals!

Quinoa is a highly nutritious grain-like seed often considered a superfood due to its exceptional nutritional value. It is a versatile ingredient and can be a beneficial part of a diabetes-friendly diet. Here's an overview of the nutritional components of quinoa and its relevance for individuals living with diabetes:

Protein: Quinoa is a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans.

Fiber: Quinoa is rich in dietary fiber, which can help stabilize blood glucose levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.

Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates have a lower impact on blood glucose than simple sugars.

Vitamins: Quinoa is a good source of various B vitamins, including B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B6 (pyridoxine).

Minerals: It is rich in essential minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and iron.

Antioxidants: Quinoa contains antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage caused by oxidative stress.

Glycemic Index and Benefits

Quinoa exhibits a favorable glycemic index (GI), generally categorized as moderate to low, which indicates its relatively gentle effect on blood glucose levels. Its glycemic load (GL), accounting for both GI and serving size, is also relatively low, further emphasizing its suitability for individuals with diabetes. 

The combination of quinoa's fiber content, low GI, and low GL makes it an advantageous dietary choice. For those with diabetes, these attributes can contribute to more stable blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of sudden spikes. Quinoa's fiber not only helps regulate blood sugar but also promotes a feeling of fullness, assisting in appetite control and potential weight management—an essential aspect of diabetes care. 

Additionally, the magnesium content in quinoa may enhance insulin sensitivity, potentially aiding in better blood glucose control. Given its nutrient density and overall benefits, quinoa can be a valuable addition to a well-balanced diabetes diet when incorporated alongside non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Wild Rice: Taming Blood Sugar Spikes with Nutrient-Packed Delight!

Wild rice, often considered a premium grain, offers a unique nutritional profile that can be valuable for individuals living with diabetes. Here's a closer look at the nutritional components of wild rice and its relevance for diabetes management:

Complex Carbohydrates: Wild rice primarily consists of complex carbohydrates, which are digested and absorbed more slowly than simple sugars. This can contribute to better blood sugar control by preventing rapid spikes in glucose levels.

Protein: Wild rice contains a moderate amount of protein, making it a suitable choice for those looking to balance their carbohydrate intake with protein, which can help with appetite control.

Dietary Fiber: Wild rice is rich in dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber. Fiber aids in digestive health and can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates.

Vitamins: It provides essential vitamins, including B vitamins such as B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), and B6 (pyridoxine). These vitamins play important roles in energy metabolism and overall health.

Minerals: Wild rice is a good source of minerals like manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals are essential for various bodily functions, including bone health and immune system support.

Antioxidants: Wild rice contains antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which have been linked to reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

Benefits for People with Diabetes

Wild rice has a relatively low glycemic index (GI), which means it has a mild impact on blood glucose levels when compared to high-GI foods. However, the GI can vary based on factors like cooking time and preparation.

Its glycemic load (GL), taking both the GI and portion size into account, is also relatively low. This suggests that wild rice is less likely to cause significant spikes in blood glucose levels when consumed in reasonable portions.

In addition:

  • The complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber in wild rice can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of glucose during digestion, promoting more stable levels.

  • The moderate protein content of wild rice can contribute to satiety and help with appetite control, potentially supporting weight management, which is important for diabetes control.

  • The presence of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and minerals like manganese and magnesium, can support overall health and may have a positive impact on blood glucose control.

  • The antioxidants in wild rice can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are factors that can affect diabetes management.

In summary, wild rice's low GI and GL, combined with its complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, make it a valuable addition to a diabetes-conscious diet. Including wild rice as part of a balanced meal plan, along with other nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, can contribute to better blood sugar management and overall health for individuals with diabetes.

Tomatoes: the Juicy Heroes of Diabetes-Friendly Nutrition!

Tomatoes are a versatile and nutritious addition to the diet, particularly for individuals living with diabetes. These vibrant red fruits boast an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, making them a valuable choice for overall health. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, a crucial nutrient that supports the immune system and acts as a potent antioxidant, potentially reducing inflammation. They also contain significant amounts of vitamin K, essential for blood clotting and bone health, as well as potassium, which plays a role in regulating blood pressure.

One of the standout features of tomatoes in a diabetes-friendly diet is their low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). With a low GI, tomatoes have a minimal impact on blood glucose levels when consumed in reasonable quantities. This means that they are less likely to cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, making them a suitable choice for individuals looking to manage their blood glucose effectively. The fiber content in tomatoes further aids in blood sugar control by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates during digestion, promoting more stable and balanced glucose levels.

Additionally, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant linked to potential heart health benefits. While tomatoes can be a nutritious and diabetes-friendly addition to meals, it's important to consider portion sizes and overall meal composition. Incorporating tomatoes into balanced dishes with other non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help individuals with diabetes create satisfying and nourishing meals that contribute to overall well-being and blood sugar management.

Wild Rice Quinoa Salad

Beverly Verwey
Servings 6 people
Calories 439 kcal


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 2 medium tomato seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 cups spinach chopped


  • Place the quinoa, wild rice, tomato, parsley, spinach and green onion in a bowl and toss.
  • To make the dressing: mix together the lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and coriander. Pour over salad and mix well.


Instead of spinach use any greens such as arugula, or any type of lettuce mix.


Calories: 439kcalCarbohydrates: 70.3gProtein: 20gFat: 4.9gSodium: 350.8mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.