Mix and match your meal prep/lunch routine with these three easy quinoa salad recipes! Between a Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing, an Asian-Inspired Quinoa Salad with Peanut Sauce, and a Nutty Quinoa Fruit Salad, there is something for everyone. Most recipes ready in 15 minutes, all vegan and gluten-free!
It’s that time of year when I start to get majorly bored with my current lunches in rotation. Perhaps it’s because we’re finally done with holiday craziness? I enjoy eating salads year round, but they really need to be fully loaded for me to get excited.
When planning lunches, my body craves variety, but not so much that I need to buy 15 ingredients for one recipe. I love meals that are easily adapted to whatever I have on hand. Enter: quinoa salad!
Quinoa Salad Benefits
Grain salad recipes are beautiful in their versatility. Mixing and matching vegetables, proteins, and dressing is the most fun part! Sometimes I’ll just prepare a large batch of grains at the beginning of the week just so I have some on hand. Today, we’re focusing on three simple recipes that can be made with cooked quinoa
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette
- Asian-Inspired Quinoa Salad with Peanut Sauce
- Nutty Quinoa Fruit Salad with Cinnamon Maple Dressing.
These recipes all work well for packed lunch or a light dinner. The fruit salad has actually become a staple in my breakfast routine!
How to Cook Quinoa
Preparing a large pot of quinoa is fairly simple. It is often ready to eat in 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to remove saponins. Read more about why rinsing here!
- Using a 2:1 ratio of water and dry quinoa, combine in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, uncovered.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
- Remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork, cover, and let steam for a few more minutes.
All of the recipes below can be easily doubled to feed more people. I actually find that they taste better the longer they sit, as flavors have more time to meld together.
Ways to Modify Quinoa Salad Recipes
- In the Mediterranean Salad if you don’t have kale on hand, feel free to sub in another dark leafy green, like spinach. Chickpeas are my favorite plant-based protein, but another kind of bean is an easy substitute. Capers or olives would add even more Mediterranean flavor.
- For the Asian-Inspired Salad, edamame is a fun plant-protein addition. Almond butter would work in place of peanut butter for the sauce. Be sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce if you are gluten-free.
- In the Nutty Fruit Salad, any kind of frozen berry will work. It’s important to reserve the juices when thawing, as this becomes part of the dressing.
I hope you love these Quinoa Salad recipes! Please let me know which one you try first in the comments on on Instagram. Leaving a rating/review always helps me develop better content for you all.
For a more in-depth post on how to cook quinoa, click here.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked)
- 1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, diced
- 3/4 cup fresh parsley or basil, minced
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 cups shredded kale
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard,
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp dried oregano or dried basil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Prepare your quinoa if not already cooked (here is a great tutorial). Slice all salad ingredients as directed and add to a large bowl.
- In a Mason jar, add all dressing ingredients and shake to combine.
- Pour 1/2 of dressing onto salad, stirring to combine. Taste and add more dressing as desired.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days!
Asian Peanut Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup carrot, sliced into matchsticks
- 1 cup broccoli, diced into small pieces
- 2 cups kale, minced
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews
- 1/4 cup cilantro, optional
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 2 TBS low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 TBS lemon or lime juice
- 1 TBS sesame oil
- 3 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp each garlic and ginger powder, optional
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- Water to thin
- Add all quinoa salad ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Add all dressing ingredients to a blender and combine until smooth. Add water until a pourable sauce is achieved (up to 1/4 cup water).
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Nutty Quinoa Fruit Salad
Quinoa Fruit Salad
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 cups frozen wild blueberries, thawed (or other frozen berry) Thawed berries will help add juice to the salad)
- 1 large navel orange, peeled
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Cinnamon Maple Dressing
- 2-4 TBS maple syrup, depending on sweetness preference
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Add all quinoa salad ingredients to a large bowl. Be sure to reserve the juices from the thawed fruit, as that will help coat the salad with flavor.
- Combine the maple syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pour over the top of salad and stir to combine.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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