Spring Quinoa Salad

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Spring Quinoa Salad: Fresh, easy, and packed with amazing ingredients, dressed in a zippy lemon vinaigrette. Serve alongside grilled steak for a protein-packed meal.

Photo of Spring Quinoa Salad with side of Grilled Steak.

Spring Quinoa Salad

Just when I think spring is around the corner, I wake up the next day to a few inches of snow on the ground. I love springtime, and especially all the spring produce that comes with it: carrots, beets, peas, asparagus, arugula, and fresh herbs are among my favorites! (This Citrus and Beet Salad is the BEST.)

Despite the fact that I still need to wear a coat when I go outside, I’m sharing Spring Quinoa Salad to get ready for spring. This salad contains fresh herbs, sugar snap peas, and a refreshing lemon dressing. Add some “cheater” quick pickled red onions, candied almonds, and crumbled goat cheese, and you’ll be in quinoa salad heaven!

Since it has been warm enough to use my grill, I threw some steaks on the other day and found they were the perfect complement to this salad. Of course, it’s still great without the steak, but if you’re looking to make a more filling meal, you’ve got to try the two together!

Images of the seasoning mix compartmentalized and then mixed together.

How to Make Spring Quinoa Salad

  • Cook the quinoa: Follow this guide on how to cook quinoa and then allow the quinoa to completely cool. I like making quinoa a day before I need it, to give it plenty of time to chill.
  • Prep the dressing: The dressing is very simple and quick to make; simply pulse everything together in a food processor or blender. 
  • Cook the steak: If you’re adding some steak to this salad, see my tips below for how I like to cook the steak for this salad.
  • Assemble: Toss together the quinoa, all the prepped veggies, the delicious lemon dressing, cheese, and finally the almonds. I LOVE using these Honey Roasted Almonds in this salad. If using regular sliced almonds, you may want to candy them (use the directions in this Mandarin Orange Salad) or lightly toast them.


Quinoa contains a natural coating called saponin, which is quite bitter. Be sure the quinoa you use is either pre-rinsed, or rinse it yourself by placing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinsing thoroughly under running water.

Process shots of Spring Quinoa Salad: making lemon dressing and preparing veggies. Spring Quinoa Salad Variation Ideas

  • Quinoa salad with chicken: Using this chicken marinade, grill up some chicken and serve on top of this salad.
  • Change up cheeses: If you don’t like goat’s cheese, try feta cheese instead. To make this completely dairy free, simply omit the cheese topping.
  • Additions: I will sometimes add in chopped avocado, or a few roasted chickpeas, or even roasted asparagus (chopped and slightly cooled) to change things up a bit.
  • To make the quinoa salad vegan: Omit the cheese and use maple syrup in place of honey in the dressing.

Lemon dressing being poured over Spring Quinoa Salad.

Tips for cooking the steak (optional)

  • Generously oil your grill grates. I do this by rolling up a few paper towels, drenching them in oil (I use canola), and using tongs, rub the drenched paper towels along the grill grates. Doing this will contribute to a beautiful sear and ensure the meat doesn’t stick to the grates.
  • Fully preheat your grill. I know it’s hard to wait but adding meat to a fully preheated grill will sear the surface of the meat; that will give you a juicier steak. It also allows the steak to get an amazing char.
  • Let the steak rest. After taking the cooked steak off the grill, give it some time to rest before eating. This allows the juices to re-distribute evenly throughout the meat. I do this by covering my steak with a piece of foil and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. When you do cut into it, make sure to cut it against the grain.

Finished shot of Spring Quinoa Salad.

Other Popular Salad Recipes

Recipe adapted from Buzzfeed

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Spring Quinoa Salad

5 from 1 vote
Spring Quinoa Salad: Fresh, easy, and packed with amazing ingredients, dressed in a zippy lemon vinaigrette. Serve alongside grilled steak for a protein-packed meal.
Print Recipe

Spring Quinoa Salad

5 from 1 vote
Spring Quinoa Salad: Fresh, easy, and packed with amazing ingredients, dressed in a zippy lemon vinaigrette. Serve alongside grilled steak for a protein-packed meal.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword spring quinoa salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 775kcal



  • 1 cup quinoa uncooked
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas sliced
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (or feta cheese)
  • 1/2 cup honey-roasted sliced almonds (Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil

Optional Steak Addition

  • 1 pound boneless steak recommended: New York Strip(two, 8-ounce steaks)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander


  • 2 large lemons (6 tablespoons juice and 3 teaspoons zest)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup good quality olive oil


  • SALAD: Combine the diced red onion, red wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon sea salt in a small bowl. Set aside and stir occasionally. Cook the quinoa according to package directions and allow it to cool completely. (Refrigerate to hurry it along if needed). Slice the sugar snap peas, chop the fresh basil, and set aside.
  • DRESSING: Combine all of the ingredients together - except for the oil - in a food processor or blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but add to your preference.) Blend until all ingredients are well incorporated and zest has been broken down. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream and pulse until just combined and emulsified. Avoid blending the oil in for an extended period of time as it can make the oil taste metallic. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • STEAK: In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, and 1 teaspoon EACH of salt and pepper. Sprinkle this mixture evenly on all sides of the steaks. Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan to high heat (or a large skillet to medium-high heat). Rub an oil-drenched paper towel over grill grates or ridges in the grill pan. (Alternatively, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet.) Place steak on grill or pan (it should sizzle when it hits the pan) and cook 3-5 minutes per side, flipping the steak only once, or until a thermometer (inserted in the thickest part of the steak) registers 130 degrees F (for medium rare). Remove from heat and lightly cover with foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  • ASSEMBLY: While the steak rests, assemble the salad. In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, sliced peas, goat's cheese, red onion mixture (add it all in, even remaining juices), and basil. Add in dressing to taste; (You may not use all the dressing -- add to personal preference-- I like a lot of dressing!) gently toss the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the almonds on top and serve with sliced steak on the side (cut against the grain). 

Recipe Notes

Note 1: I like buying honey roasted almonds (they're so quick and easy), but if you prefer, check out the post for how to toast or candy almonds.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 775kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 803mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 478IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 6mg

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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