Quinoa Recipes: Healthy Quinoa & Veggie Salad

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The best DETOX quinoa salad -- such healthy and delicious ingredients that are so good for you and help detox your body. Recipe from chelseasmessyapron.comA super healthy “detox” quinoa and veggie salad made with all natural ingredients that are good for you and help to detox your body!A super healthy “detox” quinoa and veggie salad made with all natural ingredients that are good for you and help to detox your body!

We love Quinoa Recipes — quinoa is such a great superfood that is filling, packed with protein, and the perfect canvas for adding to so many different recipes! Today I’m sharing some of our favorite quinoa recipes and bonus — a brand new one: this nutritious Quinoa and Veggie Salad is packed with good-for-you ingredients and a honey-lime dressing.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Recipes: Healthy Quinoa Salads

It’s no secret that we adore quinoa on this site. And luckily, so does my whole family; we eat it in our house all the time. Come over to dinner at my home during the week and there’s a good chance there’s a quinoa recipe on the table!

This quinoa salad is one of our go-to recipes, among many others. Here’s a list of our favorite quinoa salads (pick through your favorite flavors for some great meal inspiration!):

  • Quinoa Salad with avocado, tomatoes, and cucumbers. This salad includes a lemon-basil vinaigrette.
  • Caprese Quinoa Salad with mozzarella, tomatoes, and creamy avocado. This salad is dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Quinoa Fruit Salad with fresh berries and mango. This salad features a citrus vinaigrette.
  • Kale and Quinoa Salad with fresh berries and dried blueberries. This salad is dressed in a sweet balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Thai Quinoa Salad with crisp veggies, sweet mango, fresh herbs, and a medley of greens. This salad is topped with a peanut dressing.
  • Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad with roasted sweet potatoes, creamy avocado, and a honey-lemon vinaigrette.
  • Citrus Quinoa Salad with pistachios and fresh citrus all wrapped up in a citrus-lemon vinaigrette.
  • Southwest Quinoa Salad with black beans and roasted corn, with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette.
  • Quinoa Corn Salad with fresh avocado, crisp corn, black beans, cilantro, and green onions. This salad is dressed in a chipotle-lime vinaigrette.
  • Quinoa and Almond Salad with almonds, sunflower seeds, tart apples, and dried cranberries. This salad is complemented beautifully with a raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Greek Quinoa Salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta. This salad is finished with a Greek-inspired vinaigrette.
  • Quinoa Apple Salad with apples, pears, pistachios, dried cranberries, and a lemon-poppy seed vinaigrette.

A

Quinoa Recipes: Savory Quinoa Entree recipes

nd quinoa isn’t just delicious in salads; we love it in so many savory applications. Here are our favorite dinnertime quinoa recipes:

Ingredient shot-- all the ingredients used in this dish

So what’s the deal with quinoa recipes, anyway?

Not only do I think quinoa tastes amazing, but it’s also considered a superfood – meaning it’s exceptionally nutritious for you. It is high in fiber and protein and one of the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources. Plus it contains all 9 amino acids! That makes it a complete protein–on a par with meat for how it supports good nutrition.

Many people use it as a substitute for white rice, and the great thing is that it’s much more nutritious than regular white rice: it has fewer calories and carbohydrates, with much more fiber and protein. All good things! It also pairs exceptionally well with a lot of dishes, and can be right at home in a variety of meals – such as this salad recipe I’m sharing today! 

QUICK TIP

Quinoa isn’t actually a grain at all. It is actually a pseudo-grain — a seed.

Process shots of this quinoa recipe-- cooking the quinoa; letting it cool; chopping spinach; adding it to the quinoa

Healthy Quinoa and Veggie Salad

Now that we’ve talked about quinoa and quinoa recipes, let’s dive into this particular quinoa recipe — a nutritious veggie salad with quinoa in it!

My number one tip for making quinoa recipes where you want chilled quinoa (salads!) is to prepare the quinoa ahead of time. With cooked and cooled quinoa ready to add to the salad, the prep time goes quickly. Waiting for quinoa to fully cook, steam, and cool is easy enough but time-consuming. So….get that part done in advance!

That said, if you’re making the quinoa at the same time you’re making this particular salad, here’s how to speed up the process for quinoa cooling: Spread the cooked and fluffed quinoa on a sheet pan in one even layer. Slide the sheet pan in the fridge (or freezer) for 10-15 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.

Process shots-- assembling dressing ingredients; shaking to combine; drizzle over salad; serve

Quinoa Recipe Tips 

New to quinoa? Try some of these tips for success:

  • Make sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking it. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin which can make it taste bitter. Pour the uncooked quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to a minute.
    • Want to skip this step? Some quinoa comes pre-rinsed; check the package to see if that is mentioned.
  • Allow time for the quinoa to steam. Once the liquid is absorbed, don’t rush to cool the quinoa. Instead, let it stand (covered) for at least 10 minutes (up to 15 or 20). Letting the quinoa stand allows the quinoa to fully “pop” and ensures it doesn’t end up watery or mushy.
  • If the quinoa has cooked through, but there is still liquid in the pot, make sure to drain off that liquid. Alternatively, if the quinoa has not cooked through (the grains haven’t visibly popped), but the liquid has absorbed, add a few more tablespoons of liquid.
  • While it may seem like a lot of quinoa recipes are missing protein, quinoa is actually loaded with it. One cup of cooked quinoa has 24 grams of protein. 
  • Don’t forget to season quinoa. Just like everything else we cook, salt is hugely important to making flavors come alive. A little salt goes a long way for flavor in the quinoa and the salad as a whole. The salad will taste under-seasoned if the quinoa isn’t seasoned.

QUICK TIP

We mention that quinoa pops when it’s done. It really does open up just like popcorn does. With that in mind, did you know you can pop quinoa just like popcorn? Put a handful of quinoa in a skillet, cover, and shake, just like you’re making popcorn. In just a few minutes you’ll have mini popcorn to enjoy as a snack or as a salad garnish!

Quinoa Vegetable Salad

Quinoa Salad Variation Tips

  • Add some meat. This salad is vegetarian by default, but feel free to grill some chicken to serve on the side or to chop up and put on top of the salad. It isn’t necessary to add meat to the salad; it’s actually loaded with protein even without meat, thanks to the quinoa and black beans! 
  • Other topping ideas: Roasted red pepper, fresh sweet pepper, roasted pepita (pumpkin) seeds, matchstick carrots.
  • Change up the herbs. If you aren’t a fan of cilantro or green onions, you can replace one with the other to only have one herb in the salad. Chopped parsley also makes a good alternate herb.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad Storage

Unfortunately, this salad doesn’t sit very well with the dressing and avocado mixed in. If you aren’t planning to eat the entire salad at one sitting, toss and add dressing to only what you’ll be eating at this time. If you keep the dressing separate, you can store this salad in the fridge for up to 3 days (with the exception of the avocado). The avocado browns and takes on an odd texture, so I add half the avocado one day and place the other half in a plastic bag (squeeze some lemon or olive oil on the exposed side) in the fridge until I’m ready to prepare another serving.

QUICK TIP

While a lot of quinoa recipes store nicely, quinoa salads are tricky since the quinoa continues to absorb the dressing and becomes bloated.

Quinoa Salad

 

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Quinoa Recipes: Healthy Quinoa and Veggie Salad

4.98 from 34 votes
We love Quinoa Recipes -- quinoa is such a great superfood that is filling, packed with protein, and the perfect canvas for adding to so many different recipes! Today I'm sharing some of our favorite quinoa recipes and bonus -- a brand new one: this nutritious Quinoa and Veggie Salad is packed with good-for-you ingredients and a honey-lime dressing
Print Recipe

Quinoa Recipes: Healthy Quinoa and Veggie Salad

4.98 from 34 votes
We love Quinoa Recipes -- quinoa is such a great superfood that is filling, packed with protein, and the perfect canvas for adding to so many different recipes! Today I'm sharing some of our favorite quinoa recipes and bonus -- a brand new one: this nutritious Quinoa and Veggie Salad is packed with good-for-you ingredients and a honey-lime dressing
Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course, Salad, Vegetarian
Cuisine Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword quinoa recipes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Quinoa Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 420kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $8.23

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (186g) white quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
  • 3 oz. (85g; 4 cups lightly packed) baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (15.25 oz; 432g) corn, drained OR 1-1/2 cups (208g) frozen corn (thawed)
  • 1 can (15.25 oz; 432g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup (155g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5-6 green onions, chopped (3/4 cup; 60g)
  • 1/4 cup (13g) cilantro, finely chopped
  • Fine sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1 large ripe avocado

Dressing

  • 2 large limes, juiced (4 tbsp (56g) juice; 1/2 tsp zest)
  • 4 tablespoons (46g) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons EACH: ground cumin, Dijon mustard, honey use another sweetener for vegan
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • QUINOA: Prepare the quinoa by rinsing it under cold water in a fine-mesh sieve to remove the bitter saponin coating. Combine the quinoa and 2 cups water in a small pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, add in 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste), reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, keep the quinoa covered, and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in the fridge or freezer to cool to room temperature. Quinoa can be prepared 3-4 days in advance.
  • DRESSING: Add all of the dressing ingredients to a jar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, I add 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (use less if using table salt) and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add to preference. Place lid on the jar and shake vigorously to combine. Store in the fridge until ready to use. If making the dressing far in advance, don’t be concerned if it separates or forms clumps — this is just the olive oil solidifying, which it does at cold temps. Take the vinaigrette out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes or so before you need it to bring it back up to temperature; then shake it up to remix.
  • VEGGIE PREP: Lay the spinach out on a cutting board and run a knife through a few times to get a coarse chop. Drain the corn or thaw frozen corn. Drain and rinse black beans. Halve cherry tomatoes. Chop the green onions and cilantro. Dice avocado if using.
  • ASSEMBLY: In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa and spinach. Top with corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, and avocado. If planning to eat all this salad in one sitting, drizzle on the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings. Toss and enjoy! If you want this salad as leftovers, don't add all the dressing -- read the next step.
  • LEFTOVERS: This salad doesn’t sit very well with the dressing and avocado mixed into it. If you aren't planning to eat the entire salad at one sitting, toss and add dressing to only what you’ll be eating at this time. If you keep the dressing separate, this salad can store in the fridge for up to 3 days. See Note 1 for how to store the salad.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Storage: Here's how I store this salad to eat throughout the week: Prepare the salad as the recipe indicates, but leave out the avocado and don't add the dressing. Divide the salad evenly into four containers, leaving space for the dressing. Add the dressing to small containers or snack-sized bags and then add the sealed dressing packets to the meal prep containers. Seal the containers and store them in the fridge until ready to eat. For the avocado: On the first day you'll be enjoying the salad, halve the avocado. Chop 1/4th of the avocado and add it to the salad. Take the remaining avocado and squeeze lime juice over it all and refrigerate it in an airtight plastic bag. Add 1/4 of the avocado each day, slicing off the top layer if it's browned. To enjoy a portion of this salad each day: Add the avocado, pour the dressing over everything, toss to combine, and enjoy!
 
Nutritional information does not include the optional avocado.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 905mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2547IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 5mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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116 Comments

  1. Yum, I love salads like this! We eat pretty healthy all the time (with indulgences – don’t get me wrong!) but I love this time of year when everyone is posting such great healthy recipes! And this looks delicious!

    1. I love it too! So motivating to get back on track. Like your delicious couscous salad, I need to try that out next!

      1. What I love about these salads is how incredibly full they make you feel while being so light at the same time,Thank you so much Ms. Chelsea I’ll be making this soon.Xoxo

  2. Happy New Year:) This salad looks great Chelsea! We usually try to eat a lot of veggies and salad but definitely over indulged on heavier meals and treats over the holidays so a detox salad sounds perfect:) Love quinoa but have never tried cooking it directly with tomato bouillon but it sounds fantastic and really flavorful!

    1. Thanks Kelly! Happy New Year to you as well! 🙂 I’m in the same boat haha, trying to bring in more healthy meals. I love the tomato bouillon in it, you’ll have to let me know what you think if you end up giving it a try!

  3. I’m so in need of this right now. I’ve been stuffing my face with so many horrible foods the past month, I seriously can’t bear to think about exactly how much it’s been! Great dish and great pics!

  4. I have just recently started getting on the quinoa bandwagon and this salad looks delicious! It has everything I have committed to eating more of in my life! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. This looks so amazing! I bet I could talk my man into eating quinoa if it came with black beans and cilantro, two of his Cuban-self’s very favorite things!

  6. I love quinoa, this is my kinda salad. Packed with veggies and nutrients with a “side” of quinoa! 🙂 Pinning and sharing, thanks Chelsea!

  7. Chelsea, this looks absolutely gorgeous! I am probably the only one around that has not tried quinoa. Now, I am going to. Everything about it looks very appetizing. I’ve just never found a great recipe… until now! I’ll let you know when I make it… pinned and printing out. (=

    1. Thank you so much Gloria! Oh I’m so excited you are going to try it and finally try quinoa! I hope you like it. My husband wasn’t sure about it at first, but he likes it now and I’m pretty obsessed with it! Thanks again 🙂

  8. Quinoa is still fairly new to me so I love finding yummy recipes! This is so colorful, and the pictures are gorgeous! Thanks so much for linking up to Freedom Fridays ….. I’ve pinned this and shared it on FB 🙂

  9. I LOVE a good quinoa salad. This looks fabulous! You have rekindled my quinoa salad desires and I am going to have to do something about it soon!

  10. We love the tomato bouillon. We get the tomato and chicken bouillon and always use that to flavor rice and quinoa when appropriate!!

  11. I tried this a few days ago. I was unable to find the tomato bouillion at the Navy commissary and only found quinoa that had flavors in it. I’m new to quinoa and will have to find it at another store because i love eating it. I found that this recipe was just OK. I usually love salads of this type but this one just had something missing. I experimented with different things in my individual servings to see what would improve it. I finally stumbled on it. Balsamic vinegar. a little sprinkle of that on my serving did the trick. I will be using that inthis recipe in the future.

    1. Thanks for commenting Val! Oh that’s a great idea to add Basalmic vinegar – I will have to try it! I didn’t want to add a dressing, because generally dressings aren’t a part of a detox, but basalmic vinegar would work perfectly and not take away from the detoxifying factors of the salad. Thanks again – I’ll add that to the post!

  12. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh. Usually detox salads are so nasty and just bland. Even though this didn’t have a dressing, I loved it so much. It was so tasty and flavorful and felt good to eat something so completely healthy. Thanks for sharing this recipe, you have a new follower.

    1. Haha I have definitely had some gross detox salads! Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  13. Thanks so much for letting me know and for showcasing that salad! I’ll definitely stop by tomorrow. Thanks again Katie 🙂

  14. 5 stars
    I made this and love it. It is not only delicious but very pretty with all the colors. Could you break this down as to Calories, Fat etc?

    1. Thanks so much Cheryl, I’m glad you liked it! Okay I just crunched the numbers and have a nutrition label I’m adding to the bottom of the post!

  15. Oh my! I have found your website thru Recipe Girl’s crock pot post last week. I just love your recipe’s. Keep up the great work.

    1. Oh what a fun comment to receive! Thank you so much Christien – this really meant a lot to me! 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

  16. 4 stars
    I am going to try this. It’s been hard trying to find healthy kidney friendly meals. I’m glad I stumbled on it.

  17. I made this today and it was delish. The only thing is I put feta and balsamic vinaigrette on mine. I would recommend this to anyone. Super delish 🙂

    1. Serving size is listed in the recipe card. I don’t have nutrition facts on all of my recipes, yet 🙂 I’d recommend My Fitness Pal in the meantime

  18. 5 stars
    I have made this salad 3 times now and it is my all time favourite, easy to make and low in calories. I am taking it to a party Friday night as well.

  19. 5 stars
    I’ve just made this for my four year old who is lately a very picky eater, and WE BOTH LOVE IT!! Thank you for this wonderful recipe and for helping me get my kid to eat an unprocessed meal where the ingredients actually grew from the ground!

    1. Ahhh it’s the best when you find a healthy recipe your kids will eat! My boys love this recipe too! Thanks Lindsay! 🙂

  20. 5 stars
    I finally broke down and tried Quinoa this week and really liked it. This salad looks like a something my Bible Study/House Church members would enjoy. My question is the serving size. Does this make a salad meal for six or a side dish for 6?

  21. i’ll be honest i’ve been eating very unhealthy my entire life, mainly because that’s what i grew up with and healthy food is very expensive, but today i got a salad from chick fill-a (ironic i know) and it tastes better than ANY burger or pizza or any other garbage that i’ve ever tried.
    while i love cherry tomatoes but they’re kinda expensive so hopefully regular tomatoes are not too bad with it every now and then lol

  22. I was always scared to cook quinoa don’t ask why but I came across your recipe and said “hey why not?” Although I did not have spinach I substituted it with an avocado. It was so delicious my husband who’s a chef loved it!!! Next time I’ll try it with sautéed mushrooms.

  23. 5 stars
    Thank you for creating this! Just tried it for first time and it was delicious. I added the scallions on top of the quinoa when it came off the heat, to steam them a touch and take away a little of the “onioness”!!! Was perfect for me 🙂

  24. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was very tasty! Halved the dressing recipe (only had one good lime in the bunch), and it was plenty for the entire recipe for us. We also added feta cheese to the tops of our bowls. Will make again.

  25. 5 stars
    Loved the salad 👌 it was yummy 😋 would like to make some healthy,less carbs, veggy options. Thanks

  26. 5 stars
    Excellent!!!
    I made a couple of small changes – I roasted some frozen corn & replaced red pepper flakes with hot sauce.
    Will make this again!!!

  27. 5 stars
    Really good! Made this without cilantro (as I didn’t have any on hand), and had to use lemon instead of lime, but loved it anyway because it tasted so crisp and refreshing!

    1. Way to work with what you had! I’m so glad you loved this recipe! Thanks for your comment Chrissie! 🙂

  28. 5 stars
    Very good. Of course I modified it, cooking the quinoa in chicken broth with diced Hatch green chile and garlic and added one diced cucumber as well as diced avocado to each bowl. I didn’t catch the dressing note until it was too late, DP hopefully it still tastes ok tomorrow since I have plenty leftover… Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for sharing those tips on some of the substitutions you made! 🙂

  29. 5 stars
    I enjoyed this recipe, it was simple and quick to make. I only used two tablespoons of olive oil and I thought it turned out rather well. It’s filling and cool, perfect for a hot day!

  30. 5 stars
    So delicious! The only thing I did different is add a clove of garlic to the dressing (I just threw it all in my nutribullet) and a handful of cotija cheese. A complete meal by my estimation!

  31. 5 stars
    Looking for a way to try some new and healthy recipes and spice up my weight loss program, I came upon this one. Had some quinoa in the pantry but had not touched it. I made this and was blown away at how tasty it is and so very satisfying. Try it!

  32. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe as I’m new to quinoa. OMG, it’s so flavorful and even my 8 year old son liked it. Thank you for sharing your recipe! Amazing!

  33. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious. I added a few avocado slices. Yummy 😋 it was a hit at work! A real crowd pleaser. Thank you!

  34. This recipe is amazingly delicious! We ate the entire salad in one day, so I just gave up on rationing the dressing and dressed the last half. Thank you for sharing. My husband has successfully avoided quinoa for years, but he loved this salad and immediately requested seconds.

    Question – after I cooked 1 cup of quinoa, there seemed to be a lot, so I only used part of that full, cooked cup in the salad. Was the intention to use all of the quinoa? Thanks again, and I will return for more recipes!

  35. I was going to make this today but realize I don’t have spinach but do have kale and arugula = what do you think would be better to substitute ?

  36. 5 stars
    Fabulous recipe! I did cook the quinoa in low sodium vegetable broth and the omitted salt in dressing. Sooo good!

  37. Great flavor. Enjoy the taste. It would have helped to see the note at the beginning. Hope it stores well still altho I added the dressing over the whole thing

  38. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this each Sunday night for weeks as a “prep” lunch for my husband and I. I do put the dressing on, but I skip adding the tomatoes. Instead I make a batch of fresh pico and just spoon some in when I eat it. I also add a 1/4 of an avocado when I prepare it. It’s a great way to keep lunch healthy and not get the 3pm sleepy feeling.

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