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Strawberry Quinoa Salad

This Strawberry Quinoa Salad is a perfect summer side dish, full of fresh berries, creamy avocado, refreshing mint, and high-protein quinoa. It’s interesting, satisfying, and quick to make!

overhead view of green bowl of strawberry quinoa salad with a silver spoon on a grey table

It is difficult for me to get “excited” for quinoa salad. While there are many flavor variations that can be fun to try, I consider it a generally utilitarian kind of meal, something fairly standard that is not particularly engaging. I am glad to say that this recipe, with bright strawberries, creamy avocado, and crunchy pistachios, goes against this idea! Full of satisfying textures and flavors, this salad is definitely not “one note.” It would be perfectly at home on a cookout picnic table or enjoyed during the week for a simple lunch. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Ingredients Needed for Strawberry Quinoa Salad

  • For the salad dressing, you’ll need:
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 TBS lemon juice
    • 1 tsp maple syrup
    • Salt and pepper.
  • For the salad base, you will need:
    • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or 2 cups cooked)
    • 6-8 strawberries
    • 1 cup mint leaves
    • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
    • 1 small avocado
grey plate with one avocado half and 8 full strawberries

How to Cook Quinoa for Salad

This recipe can be made with pre-made quinoa or you can make your own! For equipment, you will need a fine mesh strainer, a medium sized pot, and a fork for stirring. First, rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Add quinoa to a medium pot with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook about 15 minutes (until water is absorbed). Remove from heat and stir with a fork to “fluff.”

Why do I have to rinse quinoa before cooking?

Rinsing quinoa before cooking helps remove something known as a “saponin,” a slightly toxic organic compound with a bitter flavor. Rinsing helps remove these “off” flavors.

What is the quinoa to water cooking ratio?

The ideal cooking ratio for quinoa is 1:2. This means that for every one cup of dry quinoa, you will need two cups of water.

How much quinoa will 1/2 cup dry make?

1/2 cup dry quinoa yields 2 cups cooked. When cooked, quinoa will quadruple in size.

side view of green bowl of strawberry quinoa salad with a silver spoon on a grey table

How to Make Strawberry Quinoa Salad

  1. For the dressing, whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 TBS lemon juice, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper.
  2. Cook the quinoa and mix with dressing in a large bowl. Add sliced strawberries, mint leaves, pistachios, and avocado pieces. Stir to combine once more. 

Can I freeze quinoa salad or prep it ahead?

Quinoa can be frozen on its own but it is best not freeze the entire salad (as some elements will not hold up well once thawed. If you’d like to try freezing cooker quinoa, feel free to just thaw to room temp before mixing with the other ingredients.

To make this recipe ahead, prepare as usual but add avocados and mint just before serving. This salad will keep for 4-5 days in a sealed container in the fridge.

hand scooping avocado into a bowl of strawberry quinoa salad

How to Customize this Recipe

  • Swap out the pistachios for slivered almonds or pine nuts
  • Use blueberries or raspberries in place of strawberries
  • Add feta cheese (vegan if needed, like this Lentil Salad with Vegan Feta)
  • Bulk it up with some kale

Love quinoa in the summer? Try these Quinoa Beet Burgers next!

Print
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overhead view of green bowl of strawberry quinoa salad with a silver spoon on a grey table

Strawberry Quinoa Salad


  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Strawberry Quinoa Salad is a perfect summer side dish, full of fresh berries, creamy avocado, bright mint, and high-protein quinoa, it’s satisfying and quick to make.


Ingredients

Scale

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 TBS lemon juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or honey (to help thicken the dressing)
  • 1 tsp mustard (optional, to help emulsify the dressing)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • A dash of pepper

For the salad:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or 2 cups cooked)
  •  6-8 large strawberries, hulls removed and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, slightly chopped (you can sub pine nuts or slivered almonds)
  • 1 small avocado, cubed 

Instructions

  1. Begin by adding the olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, optional mustard, salt, and pepper to a sealable jar. Put the lid on the jar and shake to combine. Alternatively, whisk the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer (this helps remove some bitterness from saponins). Add quinoa to a medium pot with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook about 15 minutes (until water is absorbed). Remove from heat and stir with a fork to “fluff.” Add lid back on and set pot aside to cool slightly. Prep other ingredients during this time.
  3. Add cooled quinoa to a large bowl and drizzle with dressing, stirring to coat. You may not need all of the dressing. I recommend adding half and then tasting the quinoa to see if it fits your preference.
  4. To quinoa, add sliced strawberries, mint leaves, pistachios, and avocado pieces. Stir to combine once more. 

Notes

If you’re prepping this salad in advance, wait until just before serving to add avocado and mint, as these tend to brown/wilt over time. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Salad

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: One fourth of recipe
  • Calories: 362 calories
  • Sugar: 6.9 grams
  • Sodium: 298 milligrams
  • Fat: 27.1 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 3.7 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 23.4 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 26.2 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Protein: 7 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams

Keywords: quinoa, strawberry, salad

Portrait of Emily, founder of Garlic Head

About the Author

Hi, I'm Emily! Garlic Head is a plant-based recipe website for all eaters who want to easily, affordably, and sustainably incorporate more vegetables into their diets. My recipes focus on entertaining-style cuisine, perfect for celebrating all of life's little moments! Meet me here.

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Garlic Head is a plant-based community founded by me, Emily. I focus on providing affordable, simple, & healthy recipes for entertaining.

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