Perfect Quinoa Salad
Although the word quinoa can leave you second-guessing yourself on if you said the word correctly, this salad recipe is just the opposite. This quinoa salad is not complicated at all. It is super easy and one you can make in your sleep.
I love salads, and I don’t just throw that word around loosely. More specifically, this quinoa is one of my absolute favorites.
If there something to know about me, it is the fact that I don’t really eat grains anymore. I treat grains as a treat. Yes, a treat. I am not one to treat myself to a muffin at my favorite cafe but to actually pack this very recipe into my bag to eat while sipping on my favorite drink.
This Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipe:
is light, full of flavor, nutritious, refreshing with fresh flavor but more importantly… easy to put it together. As if that was great enough, this recipe is also allergy-friendly and gluten-free, and kids love it, making it a great salad for basically everyone!
If I were to describe this salad in one word, though, I would call it versatile. If you are someone that craves a savory breakfast, then this simple salad recipe is about to be your best friend and satisfy all of your savory grain bowl desires. Oops, I pretty much just describe myself. I’m a big fan of savory, low-sugar, higher-fat, and protein-packed nutrients for breakfast.
Eating a breakfast like this is excellent for hormonal balance and a great way to fuel yourself for the day ahead. Plus, BONUS: it aids with weight loss.
If you already wish it were tomorrow morning so that you can make your new favorite savory breakfast… here are my go-to toppings to any quinoa bowl. I like to take my quinoa, gently stir-fry it, cook up some eggs with it and then top with avocado, some sauerkraut, and microgreens.
is a delicious salad, excellent for lunch and dinner too. Also, great for next day leftover breakfast or lunch. If you are someone who likes to eat with their hands rather than a fork, quinoa is excellent in a wrap, too.
If I use this salad recipe for dinner, I absolutely love adding even more protein (quinoa is a complete protein- containing all essential amino acids)) into the mix with fiber-packed beans or more of the good fat like kalamata olives or feta cheese. Serve it over arugula with grilled sockeye salmon, balsamic dressing, and voila–a delicious nutrient-packed dinner just like that.
I know the idea of Quinoa seems weird. It is awkward to say, and it looks a bit odd, but people usually are pleasantly surprised when they actually try it and end up really liking it. I love being the person that serves someone quinoa for the first time.
I love making it for potlucks or gathering around the table with friends and family. They may know me as the one bringing the quinoa, but I always make it differently every time with different ingredients, and it never disappoints. It is still a big hit!
Here are some of my favorite Quinoa Salad combos to try for yourself…
Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, red pepper, lemon zest, green onions, capers, fresh basil or other fresh herbs, lemon juice, lime juice, and avocado. The bell pepper adds a beautiful crunchy texture to the salad, while the capers are added in for their saltiness. Top it off with lemon dressing to add a nice acidity and the best flavor.
There is no wrong answer here. Just experiment and see how it turns out. It may not be your perfect combination, to begin with, but I can guarantee you are going to still be feeding yourself with a lot of great nutrients.
Oh, this combination just came to mind. Try using olives, pine nuts, parsley, hazelnuts, black beans, fruits, and broccoli, and let me know what you think!
Best Quinoa Salad Recipe
You can whip this salad up any time and bulk up the recipe to give you leftovers for the next few days. You may even already have these ingredients in your kitchen already, so you have no excuses now! Get cooking!
apple cider vinegar
I like simple. Simplicity is a good thing! My cooking is all about being simplistic and I have made it my mission to bring basic back into the kitchen! Have you ever watched a cooking show and wondered what ingredient they just used? Sure, watching those shows are some of the most fascinating cooking shows out there, but it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. Just make the salad simple, drizzle a fantastic homemade simple dressing on top, and that will do the trick.
You better believe that the dressing for this salad is super easy and rocks! It takes about five seconds to whisk up and voila! A beautifully delicious quinoa salad is born!
How to Cook Quinoa
Remember how we said how challenging saying the word Quinoa can be? Well, actually making Quinoa is one of the easiest grains to cook. Hallelujah! Also, I love the nutty flavor of quinoa. I personally like to cook my quinoa the day before I'm making the salad because I like my quinoa cold, but each to their own. (No judgment here!) Quinoa cold is easier to mix with veggies, especially if you want your veggies nice and crisp and not mushy from hot quinoa. For this recipe, I used white quinoa because I like fluffy quinoa, and white quinoa seems to be more fluffy.
And even more great news: you can keep cooked quinoa in the refrigerator for up to one week… but I would keep my eye on it just to be sure.
Here are my tips for cooking the perfect quinoa every single time!
If you have the time, for best results I recommend soaking the quinoa in filtered water for 24 hours first. All you have to do is put your quinoa in a bowl or a jar, add water, cover it, and place it in the fridge for 24 hours. This helps remove phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of minerals.
To begin this process, I personally like to rinse my quinoa first before placing it in its 24-hour bath. Rinsing removes quinoa’s natural saponin coating, which can make it taste soapy or bitter. Once you rinse your quinoa set aside for a few minutes to drain, then place it in a jar or bowl and cover with filtered water. Place the lid or
cover on it and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. If you are not interested in this additional step or don’t have the time, then at the very least, I recommend rinsing it–no one likes their food to taste soapy.
When cooking your quinoa, you are going to need 2 cups of liquid per one cup of quinoa. I like to add some veggie bullion to my liquid as well. Better yet, if you have some bone broth, this is the time to put it to good use! Bone broth makes quinoa taste even more delicious while adding even more nutritious (as if that was even possible).
1. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, water or broth and salt.
2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover with a lid.
3. Cook for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, covered.
5. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
You can either serve now with some sauce made for it or let it cool to use with my easy quinoa salad. If you are going to use it for my easy quinoa salad recipe, then transfer the quinoa to a glass storage container and put it in the fridge. Make this quick and easy Quinoa Salad part of your weekly routine and a healthy staple in your house!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
This is my favorite quinoa salad recipe so far. So make a big batch and enjoy it!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thetastesoflifeholisticblog
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup or honey
- Box of microgreens
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 cups quinoa cold cooked
- 1 cup cucumber diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 yellow pepper diced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 jar capers
- 2 large avocado pitted, peeled, and sliced
- 1/2 red onion finely diced
- 3 oz basil fresh chopped
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, capers, cucumber, tomatoes, basil, peppers, and onions.
- Mix salad with dressing and add salt and pepper. Stir until salad is fully coated with the dressing.
- Top it with sliced avocado and microgreens then serve it.