Say no to boring grain bowls! This Herby Quinoa Salad with Go-To Tahini Dressing is what all plant-based meal prepping aspires to be. It’s full of unique textures, fresh flavors, and high in vegan protein.
This is kind of a summery recipe, but I do feel it can work any time of year with a few tweaks! Quinoa salads often taste very “one note” to me, so when creating this version I wanted to pack in as many flavors and textures as possible.
Ingredients in this Herby Quinoa Salad
In this recipe we have:
A creamy tahini dressing that is is super versatile!
Quinoa forms a protein-rich base.
Chickpeas are one of my favorite legumes to add a satisfying texture.
Baby kale does not require chopping, but spinach, arugula, regular kale work too.
Chopped parsley, basil and/or mint lend tons of flavor.
Green onions provide some bite – both the white and green parts are edible, so we use it all!
Vegan feta or olives add a dash of umami.
Chopped almonds, or any other nut/seed, maybe hemp or sunflower, add texture.
Blueberries (fresh or dried) add a nice pop of color and refreshing zing.
What Is a Go-To Tahini Dressing?
This dressing is made with simple ingredients, is ready in just 2 minutes, and can be easily used in salads, grain bowls, and even as a dip!
It’s very important that you used a high quality tahini here – I recommend Pepperwood Organics or Soom. Lower quality sesame pastes can have bitter notes that will require more maple syrup to cover up. Additionally, you’ll want a tahini that has a very runny texture – this will help it integrate into your dressing more easily. If your tahini is hard, feel free to whip it in a blender with a bit of sesame oil to soften.
Quinoa Preparation Tips
Always rinse quinoa before cooking. Quinoa is covered in saponins, a naturally occurring plant compound that will taste very bitter.
Use a ratio of 2:1, meaning 2 parts of liquid for every one part of quinoa.
Add the quinoa and the liquid to the pot at the same time, bring it to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low to cook over a simmer for 13-15 minutes. The water will absorb as it cooks.
Finally, once you remove quinoa from the heat (when all water is gone), fluff it work a fork before covering once more to steam. This will help each seed open up and give you the best texture.
Herby Quinoa Salad with a Classic Tahini Dressing is what all plant-based meal prepping aspires to be. It’s full of unique textures, fresh flavors, and is high in vegan protein.
For Go-To Tahini Dressing:
4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
2 1/2 TBS tahini paste (runny)
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tsp maple syrup
For Herby Salad:
1cup dry quinoa
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (15 oz, or about 1 1/2 cups cooked)
2–3cups baby kale
1/2cup chopped parsley
1/2cup chopped basil or mint
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1/4cup vegan feta (or olives)
1/4cup chopped almonds (or other nut/seed, maybe hemp or sunflower)
1/2cup blueberries (fresh or dried)
To make tahini dressing: Combine olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, pepper, and maple syrup in a small jar. Stir to fully combine, adding more olive oil if the mixture is too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt to highlight other flavors and more maple syrup for sweetness (if your tahini is a bit bitter).
To prepare the quinoa: rinse under a fine strainer as needed, to remove any bitter notes. Add to a small pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Let cook for 12-15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and cover for a few minutes more to steam.
While quinoa is cooking, add chickpeas, kale, parsley, basil/mint, green onions, feta if using, and almonds to a large bowl. Pour quinoa on top and drizzle dressing over everything. Stir to combine, working to coat as much as possible with the tahini sauce.
Top with blueberries and serve at room temperature. This will taste even better as it sits in the fridge, as flavors will have time to marinate.
To store, cover in a container and refrigerate for 4-5 days. The herbs may begin to wilt a bit but should taste fine.
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Serving Size:One sixth of recipe
Saturated Fat:3.3 grams
Unsaturated Fat:15.4 grams
Trans Fat:0 grams
Keywords: dinner, quinoa
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. I am a lifelong vegetarian and 10+ year vegan, but I do not focus on labels - I focus on creating food that everyone can enjoy. I earned a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University. Meet me here.