These Quinoa Salad Recipes are full of protein! Choose from 5 flavours: southwest, curried, Mediterranean, caprese, or green goddess.
Choose the type of quinoa you want to prepare. Before you can prepare the salad, you first need to prepare the quinoa.
- White quinoa is the most common to find in the store. It cooks up to a fluffy light texture.
- Black quinoa has an earthy flavor.
- Red quinoa is has the most nutritional value in the form of vitamins and minerals. Red quinoa ends up a little chewier. It has a rich nutty taste. This is the common choice for cold salads because it retains its texture so well.
- There are also purple and orange varieties of quinoa, but they can be difficult to find in stock at most stores.
How to make quinoa salad (step-by-step)
Quinoa salad is quick and easy to make in a large batch.
- Put the quinoa and water in a pot on the stove. The quinoa to water ratio is 1:2. This means, for every cup of quinoa, you will need 2 cups of cooking liquid.
- Cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
- Before preparing the salad, allow the quinoa to cool for 30 minutes.
For an added layer of flavor, you can also toast the quinoa before cooking it. Just toss it in a little olive oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes before adding the water to the pot.
While your quinoa cools, go ahead and prepare all the other ingredients that will go into the salad.
- Clean and chop the veggies
- Mix liquid ingredients for dressing
- Prepare any proteins or meats you want to add
- If you are substituting ingredients and using softer fruits and veggies or nuts, wait until the day you plan to eat the salad to add them to the top.
Why are quinoa salad recipes great for meal prep?
Quinoa salad is an easy lunch to prepare in advance. It is normally eaten cold so no worries if your office doesn’t have a microwave. It holds up remarkably well in storage. As a result, you’ll never have to worry about wilted or soggy lettuce with these nutritious salads!
Plus, with a large batch of cooked quinoa, you can create an entire week or even a month’s worth of meals, quickly and easily. Plain quinoa freezes beautifully and a fully prepared quinoa salad will last in the fridge for up to five days.
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Quinoa salad is a perfect meal for a busy day. It is high in protein and fiber. You’ll feel full for a long time after eating this salad. It also has a low glycemic index so it will not cause a blood sugar spike. It’s been proven to have heart and respiratory benefits as well.
Quinoa Salad Recipes
The following quinoa salad recipes will give you a place to start with experimenting with combinations. To make these varieties, keep reading!
- Curried quinoa salad
- Green goddess
Southwest quinoa salad
Caprese quinoa salad
Curried quinoa salad
Green goddess quinoa salad
Mediterranean quinoa salad
Do you need to rinse quinoa before cooking?
Most recipes call for rinsing quinoa before cooking. This is an optional step but I do recommend it.
Quinoa has a natural coating that rinsing will wash away. Some people think it tastes bitter or soapy without rinsing while others might say it just has an earthy flavor.
However, most boxed quinoa is pre-rinsed. You can rinse it again to be sure, but only if you want to. Just put it in a fine mesh strainer and run cold water over it for a minute or two.
If there are ingredients that you don’t care for, or you have other reasons not to use them, there are plenty of options! Other popular ingredients for quinoa salad include:
- Spinach, kale, or other dark greens
- Cheese (Feta is a popular choice)
- Citrus zest and/or juice
Can you freeze quinoa salad?
You can freeze the ingredient of quinoa salad, but not the entire assembled quinoa salad.
Quinoa however, is very easy to freeze. After it is cooked, allow it to cool completely. Then, transfer the quinoa into freezer storage bags or meal prep containers. Frozen quinoa will keep well for up to three months.
When you are ready to use it, thaw the quinoa in the fridge for 24 hours.
Main dishes to serve with quinoa salads
Quinoa has fewer calories and carbs than white rice. It’s easy to substitute cooked quinoa for rice in any recipe if you are eating a low carb diet. It’s also a gluten-free grain that can be eaten in place of pasta.
These salads are fantastic for lunch or a veggie-packed side dish for dinner. Pair it with burgers, steak, pork, or poultry to make a complete meal.
Other healthy quinoa recipes
- 21 Delicious Healthy Quinoa Recipes
- Tahini, Kale, and Quinoa Bowl
- Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this salad into meal prep lunches
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
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For more information please see the list of How long does quinoa salad last in the fridge