Quinoa salad is a delicious light and healthy meal for warm spring days. It’s also perfect for summer potlucks and picnics! Serve it as a main dish or side for your veggie burgers and sandwiches. This is the best quinoa salad recipe! It’s easy to make, and it’s vegan and gluten-free.
Do you have one of those recipes that you make all of the time but don’t really write down? I have a lot of them! One such recipe is classic quinoa salad. It’s so easy to make that it doesn’t really even need a recipe.
I’ve been making this quinoa salad for years. It’s fun to make for potlucks, and I often have some in the fridge for days when I need an easy lunch. I give this recipe to my health coaching clients when I talk about grains, as it’s an easy dish to make and always a crowd-pleaser.
Salads made with quinoa are great quick meals for busy days. You just need some cooked grains, a dressing, and some chopped veggies. I like to cook a big pot of quinoa a the beginning of the week and freeze it, so that I have some on hand if I’m in need of an easy meal.
How to Cook Quinoa
I like to use multi-colored quinoa for to make the dish look nice, but of course, any color quinoa will due. Unlike rice, the different colored types of quinoa don’t have different nutrient contends.
When making quinoa salad, I like to cook my quinoa in vegetable stock, or with water and a bouillon cube, for extra flavor, but plain water will just fine.
Quinoa uses a 1:2 ratio with water, and it doubles in size. So, if you need 2 cups of cooked quinoa, you’ll need 1 cup of dry quinoa and two cups of liquid. Combine the quinoa and the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Then remove it from the heat and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Fluff it with a fork, and you’re ready to go!
How to Make Quinoa Salad
This recipe couldn’t be easier to make!
- After your quinoa has cooked, allow it to cool.
- While the quinoa is cooling, mix together the dressing ingredients.
- Next you place the quinoa in a large bowl and mix in all of the salad ingredients.
- Then you add the dressing to the bowl and gently mix everything together. And your quinoa salad is done!
This salad can be served cold or a room temperate. You can pack it and take it with you to a picnic, because it travels well. It’s also a great lunch to take with you to the office.
How to Customize Your Quinoa Salad
This salad is pretty versatile. You can change things up to suit your tates.
- If you don’t like cucumbers, you can use another vegetable, such as roasted red peppers or artichoke hearts.
- You can make the dish a little heartier by adding chickpeas or white beans.
- If you don’t have almonds on hand, you can use toasted pecans, walnuts or pistachios.
- Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds can be used instead of almonds to keep the recipe nut free.
- You can use a flavored balsamic vinegar to create a new flavor profile for your salad.
- If you don’t have quinoa on hand, you can use 2 cups of cooked rice or farro.
Springtime Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 scallions sliced
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 cucumber chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted
- In a medium pot over medium-high heat, add the vegetable stock and quinoa. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pot. Allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or until water is fully absorbed. Set aside and let cool.
- While the quinoa is cooling, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt.
- Toss together the quinoa with the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, parsley, and slivered almonds. Gently mix in the dressing.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.
More quinoa recipes you might enjoy include:
More summery salads you might enjoy include:
- Greek Pasta Salad
- German Potato Salad
- Brown Rice Salad
- Vegan Tomato and Feta Pasta Salad
- Cruciferous Crunch Salad