This Vegan Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite make-ahead lunches. I love how it’s loaded with a variety of crunchy veggies and is a complete source of plant-based protein!
Benefits of Quinoa
Despite it’s reputation as a “super grain,” quinoa is not technically a grain, it’s a seed. This particular seed happens to be a complete source of protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that the human body can’t make on its own.
Quinoa is also a great source of iron, magnesium, vitamin B2, and manganese, which are all necessary for healthy brain function. Lately, I’ve been making quinoa in the Instant Pot to make the process 100% hands-off, but feel free to cook it on the stove, if you prefer.
A Perfect Quinoa Salad for Lunch
Combined with an assortment of fresh herbs, quality olive oil, and chopped vegetables, this salad is bursting with flavor! It’s one of my go-to recipes when I need a large salad to bring to a potluck or party, but I also make it regularly as a packed lunch.
I love how the sturdy veggies hold up well in the fridge for several days, and that it’s hearty enough to keep me full for hours. You can always add in some cooked chickpeas or other beans for extra plant-based protein, too!
How to Make a Vegan Quinoa Salad
Making this vegan quinoa salad is as easy as it gets. All you need to do is cook batch of quinoa, chop some veggies, and assemble it all with a light dressing.
Once the quinoa is simmering away, you can multitask by stirring together the dressing in a large bowl and then chopping the veggies and adding them to that bowl as you go. By the time the quinoa is nice and fluffy, most of the effort should be done– all in less than 30 minutes!
Vegan Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups dry quinoa , rinsed
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup minced scallions , white and green parts
- 1 cup fresh dill , chopped
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley , chopped
- 1 large cucumber , chopped
- 1/2 red onion , chopped
- 1 large red pepper , chopped
- 10 olives, sliced (optional)
- fine sea salt
- fresh black pepper
- Cover the 2 cups of dry quinoa with 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan, over high heat on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature and cover for 15 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Fluff with a fork, and allow to cool while you chop the vegetables and herbs. (Alternatively, you can cook the quinoa in the Instant Pot)
- In the meantime, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and fresh black pepper in a large bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, and toss in the dressing to coat well.
- Add in the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, red pepper, and olives, if using, and toss well to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. (I sometimes add up to 1 teaspoon more salt, to taste.)
- Allow the mixture to marinate at least an hour before serving, or chill in the fridge overnight. This salad can be served cold or at room temperature, and should keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Per Serving: Calories: 481, Fat: 19g, Carbohydrates: 64g, Fiber: 8g, Protein: 14g
- This salad is perfect for proper food combining (as a starch meal), but if you’re not vegan you can add a sprinkle of feta cheese or your favorite protein on top. My husband likes it with shrimp or chicken added.
- If you don’t tolerate quinoa well, I imagine you could use any other grain you like, such as brown rice or millet. You could even use pasta instead, for a healthy pasta salad!
Reader Feedback: Are you a fan of pasta salads? Any favorite combinations you love?