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Citrus Basil Quinoa Salad


This cold quinoa dish has become a favorite make-ahead meal in my home.

citrus basil quinoa salad on a plate

Freshly squeezed orange juice pairs perfectly with fragrant basil in this easy dressing, and when tossed over quinoa and crunchy vegetables, it creates a tasty and refreshing dish.

Despite it’s reputation as a “super grain,” quinoa is not technically a grain–> it’s a seed! Quinoa is an easily digested source of complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, making it the perfect base for a filling packed lunch or quick dinner. It’s also a great source of iron, magnesium, vitamin B2, and manganese, which are all necessary for healthy brain function.

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This cold salad can be easily modified to feature any fresh vegetables you like, so feel free to add any seasonal vegetables that you have on hand.

Citrus Basil Quinoa Salad
serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Quinoa Salad:

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
3 cups water
1 cup Orange Basil Dressing (recipe below)
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cucumber, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
1 red bell pepper, chopped
salt and pepper

For the Orange Basil Dressing:

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Combine the dry quinoa and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat, allowing the quinoa to cook for 15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, and fluff with a fork.

To prepare the Orange Basil Dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until completely smooth and emulsified. Adjust the flavor to taste, if desired.

Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and toss with one cup of the Orange Basil Dressing and all of the chopped vegetables. (Don’t be surprised if the spinach wilts from the heat of the freshly cooked quinoa.) Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Serve chilled, or at room temperature.

citrus basil quinoa salad on a plate

This dish will last for up to a week in the fridge, when stored in a sealed container. The flavor gets better as it marinates!

Note: The leftover Orange Basil dressing makes a delicious addition to any leafy green salad, and will last for up to a week in the fridge.

5 from 5 votes
Citrus Basil Quinoa
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

A refreshing, protein-rich salad, perfect for a packed lunch or quick dinner.

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4
Calories: 781 kcal
Author: Detoxinista.com
Ingredients
For the Quinoa Salad:
  • 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup Orange Basil Dressing (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cucumber , chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper , chopped
  • freshly chopped basil , to taste
  • salt and pepper
For the Orange Basil Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
Instructions
  1. Combine the dry quinoa and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat, allowing the quinoa to cook for 15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, and fluff with a fork.
  2. To prepare the Orange Basil Dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until completely smooth and emulsified. Adjust the flavor to taste, if desired.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and toss with the Orange Basil Dressing and chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
  4. This dish will last for up to a week in the fridge, when stored in a sealed container. The flavor gets better as it marinates!
Recipe Notes

Note: The leftover Orange Basil dressing makes a delicious addition to any leafy green salad, and will last for up to a week in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Reader Feedback: What are your favorite make-ahead meals?

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Comments

D

Megan,
What brand of quinoa do you use? Have you ever had little rocks or sand in it? All brands I’ve tried so far have them! You don’t rinse the quinoa either?

    Tiffany

    I use Truroots organic quinoa from Costco. It’s pre-rinsed and always turns out perfectly.

Carol

Would lemon juice be ok to substitute for the orange juice? I’m allergic to oranges!

the delicate place

i gave this to my husband as he has been using quinoa and rice to ‘bulk up’ his meals in place of huge chunks of animal protein to save money 🙂 he seemed pretty stoked about it so thanks!

Elizabeth

I made this last night and it was delicious! I added a handful of raw cashews to the dressing to make it “creamy” and it turned out divine!! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

Nicole

Megan,
I have just discovered your site (and LOVE it). This is the first recipe I have tried and it has been my snack for the last several days. I had to swap in some items (grape hierloom tomatoes and carrots) because I was out of red peppers and cucumbers. This has gotten better each day it sits in the fridge. Thanks for the inspiration! Congratulations on your pregnancy – such an exciting time!!
Nicole

Penny O'Leary

Thank you for the info that quinoa is actually a seed. THAT will make a big difference for me. Will try this recipe tonight.

Ozlem

I made it today for lunch and it was delicious. Thank you!

Jjulie

Thank you for all your hard work. As I have just started down this ‘health’ road I am
1 amazed at hoe good the food is
2 how quick and easy healthy food can be
3 this is the best. HOW GOOD I FEEL eating this way

My body and I thank you!!

Just made this dish and am looking forward to my evening meal

Thanks again

Julie

Laurie

I made this salad for dinner tonight, it was very nice, thank you!
Tomorrow it’s your mac and cheese…

beachgurl

Had no orange juice, used lemon juice and marmalade. No spinach used
bokchoy tops. The flavours are more intense the next day! Very healthy
summer salad!

MaryL

It looks great and delicious, but I can’t stop wondering: Is this picture a correct representation of the Citrus Basil Quinoa salad? I see some shredded carrots in there(there is no word about carrots in the recipe, yet I don’t see the spinach, at least nowhere close to the amount of spinach required in the recipe – even if it was wilted. I’m a visual person, and I can’t imagine this salad looking like this, based on provided recipe, unless it is a variation of the basic recipe. Thanks.

Laura

Do you think the dressing would be ok without the honey?

Natalie

Such a nutritious and delicious recipe, I have just made it with added sweetcorn! The dressing is to die for too. Popped it in the fridge to marinade, can’t wait to try it 🙂 Thank you!

Destiny

Made this with kale! Girl! This is money!!!!!

Kate

Delicious, though mine does not look like the one in the picture… I also use TruRoots.

Elizabeth

Soooo delicious–especially the next day!

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