Home > Salads > Rice & Quinoa Salads > Herbalicious Quinoa Salad Herbalicious Quinoa Salad April 14, 2023 | 2 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. This Herbalicious Quinoa Salad is nutritious and satisfying, packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients that will keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day. Every bite is bursting with fresh and vibrant flavors–from the crisp cucumbers, creamy avocado, tangy cheese, salty pistachios, and smoky bacon, every bite is a mouthful of sweet, savory, and nutty goodness. Love quinoa salads? We’re obsessed with them! Try our OG (mega-popular) Avocado Quinoa Salad or this beloved Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad next! The Quinoa Salad Of My Dreams! Like, quite literally! I made this salad a couple of weeks ago, and to my surprise, it made its way into my dreams a week later. If that isn’t reason enough to convince you to make this salad, then I don’t know what is! 🙂 This salad is bursting with fresh and vibrant flavors to leave you feeling satisfied and nourished. The combination of ingredients creates the perfect balance of sweet, savory, tangy, and nutty flavors that work together beautifully. The crisp, refreshing cucumber, creamy avocado, and aromatic fresh herbs like mint and basil add a bright flavor. The roasted and salted pistachios provide a satisfying crunch and a subtle nutty flavor that perfectly complements the other ingredients. Lastly, the bacon adds a savory and smoky taste that takes this salad to a whole new level of deliciousness. But wait, there’s more – the dressing! Oh, the dressing! It’s vibrant, fresh-tasting, and packed with so much flavor that it this Herbalicious Quinoa Salad to a new level. Trust me when I say, it’s so good, you won’t be able to get enough of it! Tips for cooking quinoa: Rinse the quinoa before cooking to remove its natural coating, saponin, which can make it taste bitter. Don’t forget to season the quinoa with salt. For 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, add 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt. Let the quinoa steam and stand for at least 10 minutes after cooking to allow it to fully “pop” and prevent it from becoming watery or mushy. Let the cooked quinoa cool completely before adding the rest of the salad ingredients. To speed up the cooling process, spread it on a sheet pan and refrigerate or freeze it for 10-15 minutes. Herbalicious Quinoa Salad Ingredients Beyond the quinoa, here is a quick description of the other salad ingredients. Fresh avocado: The avocado adds a creamy and indulgent texture to the salad. Make sure to use perfectly ripe avocados, which yield to gentle pressure without being too squishy. Bacon: If you’re apprehensive about the mess and smell of cooking bacon, don’t worry! In this recipe, we have a baking hack that ensures perfectly crisp bacon with minimal effort and easy cleanup. You’re going to be hooked on this method! English or Persian cucumbers: We recommend using mini/salad cucumbers instead of regular cucumbers– they have more flavor and texture. Plus, they don’t break down as quickly, making them an ideal addition to this salad. Goat cheese: This tangy addition pulls everything together and adds a burst of flavor. If you’re looking for a dairy-free option, you can skip the cheese, but we highly recommend using it to take this salad to the next level. Fresh herbs: A blend of fresh herbs like green onions, basil, and mint adds a magical touch to this Herbalicious Quinoa Salad. However, you can also use just mint and green onions to simplify the ingredient list and cut down on costs. Pistachios: Choose roasted and salted pistachios for added flavor without any extra work. Opt for shelled pistachios to save the trouble of shelling them yourself. You can find them in the snack aisle or bulk food section of most grocery stores. The Best Vinaigrette! This vinaigrette is the perfect finishing touch for any salad, but especially for this Herbalicious Quinoa Salad! It offers a bright, tangy, and slightly sweet profile that enhances the flavors of each salad element. Here’s what you’ll need for the dressing: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest for a vibrant citrus flavor. Extra virgin olive oil for a rich, full-bodied taste. Grey Poupon® Dijon mustard for a robust, tangy flavor. Fresh mint is the secret ingredient that adds loads of flavor and freshness. We grab a packet of fresh mint and use some in the dressing, then tear up the rest to add to the Herbalicious Quinoa Salad. Honey for sweetness. Adjust to taste for a perfect balance. Salt and pepper for a finishing touch. QUICK TIP We love zesting the lemons with a microplane and then juicing them with this citrus juicer. When zesting the citrus, zest only the very outside bright yellow part of the lemon. Avoid the white pith below the peel which is very bitter and will make the dressing taste sour. SHORTCUTS Honey measuring hack! Who else hates how difficult it is to get honey from the measuring cup to the bowl?! Try this: lightly spritz the measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray and then add the honey. Watch as it glides nicely (and cleanly) out! Adding Protein to This Herbalicious Quinoa Salad Although it may not seem like it, this salad is loaded with protein from the quinoa, bacon, peas, and goat cheese. Quinoa and peas are excellent sources of plant-based protein. Pairing the protein in this salad with healthy fats like olive oil and avocado makes it incredibly satisfying. If you’re looking to add even more protein, leftover shredded rotisserie chicken is an excellent choice. Try to find a lemon-herb rotisserie chicken for an extra burst of flavor. Grilled chicken or blackened chicken is also a great option. STORAGE Herbalicious Quinoa Salad Storage/Make-Ahead For the best taste and texture, serve the Herbalicious Quinoa Salad immediately after dressing. The avocado and herbs may brown or wilt if stored for too long, so it’s best to consume the salad as soon as possible after dressing. If you make the salad in advance, you can store the vinaigrette, quinoa, and toppings separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, toss the ingredients together, dress them, and enjoy! The vinaigrette can be made in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use, making it a great time-saving option for busy days. If the dressing separates and forms layers when stored at cold temperatures, let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before use. Give it a good shake, and it will be ready to use. To save time, prepare the quinoa and vinaigrette a day before. With these two elements out of the way, the salad comes together quickly and easily! More Delicious Grain-Filled Salads: Thai Quinoa Salad with a peanut dressing Jennifer Aniston Salad with a lemon vinaigrette Wild Rice Salad with roasted sweet potatoes Blueberry Corn Salad with a lemon-basil vinaigrette Brown Rice Salad Mediterranean-inspired FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Herbalicious Quinoa Salad 5 from 1 vote - Review this recipe This Herbalicious Quinoa Salad is a nutritious and satisfying dish, packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients to keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day. Every bite is bursting with fresh and vibrant flavors--from the crisp cucumbers, creamy avocado, tangy cheese, salty pistachios, and smoky bacon provide sweet, savory, and nutty goodness. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Herbalicious Quinoa Salad 5 from 1 vote - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This Herbalicious Quinoa Salad is a nutritious and satisfying dish, packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients to keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day. Every bite is bursting with fresh and vibrant flavors--from the crisp cucumbers, creamy avocado, tangy cheese, salty pistachios, and smoky bacon provide sweet, savory, and nutty goodness. Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish Cuisine American, Healthy Keyword Herbalicious quinoa salad, Powerhouse Quinoa Salad Prep Time 40 minutes minutes Cook Time 20 minutes minutes Total Time 1 hour hour Servings 6 servings Chelsea Lords Calories 527kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $10.73 Ingredients▢ 1 cup uncooked quinoa▢ Fine sea salt & pepper▢ 7 oz. bacon (~7 slices)▢ 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas (~2-1/4 cups)▢ 3 Persian/mini cucumbers, cut into half moons (2 cups)▢ 1 large ripe avocado, diced▢ 1 cup mix of finely chopped fresh herbs (we like mint, basil & green onions)▢ ½ cup pistachios roasted and lightly salted▢ ½ cup goat cheese or feta (leave out for dairy-free)Dressing▢ ⅓ cup each: extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice (plus 1 tsp zest)▢ ¼ packed cup fresh mint leaves▢ 1 tablespoon honey▢ 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard▢ 1½ teaspoons minced garlicUS - Metric USMetric InstructionsQUINOA: Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve in cold water for about 30 seconds. In a small saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water and season with salt (I add ½ tsp). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the water has completely absorbed into the quinoa. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. After it has finished steaming, remove the lid and fluff the quinoa gently with a fork. Set aside to cool to room temperature. In a hurry? Spread it on a sheet pan and slide it into the freezer for 15 minutes. Best case: make the night before--makes salad assembly a breeze!DRESSING: To make the dressing, add all ingredients except the oil to a small blender jar. Season to taste (I add ½ tsp salt & ¼ tsp pepper), then blend until smooth. Drizzle in the oil and blend briefly to emulsify. Transfer to a glass jar and store in the fridge until ready to use. This dressing tastes best when made the day before! BAKE BACON: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Set out an extra-large sheet pan with raised sides. Place a metal cooling rack on top of the tray and lightly grease it with cooking spray. Place bacon slices in an even layer (not touching) on top of the cooling rack. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove and let cool, then dice into small pieces. PEAS: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the frozen peas to the boiling water and cook for exactly 30 seconds. Drain and immediately toss some ice cubes on top and run cold water over the peas to stop the cooking process. Shake off excess water and set aside to dry. PISTACHIOS: Add ½ cup pistachios to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to break them down. (You'll get some fine crumbs too--this is intended!) ASSEMBLY: Combine fully cooled quinoa, peas, diced avocado (Note 1), cucumbers, fresh herbs, pistachios, and diced bacon in a large bowl. Add ½ the dressing and toss gently to coat. Top with goat cheese and drizzle on more dressing to taste (we like to add it all). Toss again gently, season to taste, and serve promptly. Video Recipe NotesNote 1: Serving: For the best taste and texture, serve this salad immediately after dressing. The avocado and herbs brown or wilt if stored for too long, so it's best to consume the salad as soon as possible after dressing. If you need to make the salad in advance, you can store the vinaigrette, quinoa, and toppings separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. When you're ready to serve, toss the ingredients together, dress them, and enjoy! Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 527kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 14.3g | Fat: 38g | Cholesterol: 24.6mg | Sodium: 356.7mg | Fiber: 7.5g | Sugar: 6.9g 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. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.