The Best Quinoa Salad

This is one of the best quinoa salad recipes I’ve made! It’s packed with fresh veggies, texture, and flavor. Our easy homemade dressing makes the quinoa taste incredible!

Quinoa Salad Recipe Video

Everyone I’ve made this quinoa salad for loved it (even those who don’t typically like quinoa). I’m not surprised, though. We pack in so much texture and flavor. It’s hard not to love this easy quinoa salad.

Our homemade quinoa salad dressing calls for honey, but if you wish to make a vegan quinoa salad, swap for maple syrup, and you are all set!

Easy quinoa salad with veggies, chickpeas, and dried fruit

Key Ingredients

This is one of the best quinoa salad recipes because it is packed with goodies. I add lots of colorful and crunchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and chickpeas for sticking power.

  • Quinoa: We’ve shared an entire article guiding you on how to cook quinoa, but here are the main takeaways: Rinse quinoa before you cook it to cut down on the bitter flavor. For perfectly fluffy quinoa, use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of dried quinoa.
  • Veggies: I use fresh cucumber, bok choy, grated carrots, and bell pepper, but any fresh, crispy veggie or roasted veggies work in this salad. I especially love the bok choy, which adds a mild and crunchy texture.
  • Nuts and seeds: I love buttery pine nuts and pepitas. Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, or seeds like sunflower seeds are also excellent options.
  • Dried fruit: In the photos, we’ve added dried wild blueberries. Cranberries or raisins will also work. If they are in season, fresh fruit will work, too. I cannot wait until summer, so I can add a handful of fresh blueberries to this salad.
  • Fresh herbs: Add color and flavor. I love stirring in a generous amount of parsley and mint.
  • Chickpeas: Make our quinoa salad even more hearty and satisfying. You can use canned or home-cooked chickpeas (here’s how to cook dried chickpeas).
  • Quinoa salad dressing: I keep things simple with apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and extra-virgin olive oil. For a vegan dressing, swap the honey for maple syrup. Add an extra spritz of fresh lemon juice if you have it. It brightens everything up even more.
Quinoa Salad ingredients

How to Make Quinoa Salad

To make quinoa salad, you’ll want to cook your quinoa first. Rinse your quinoa under cold water to remove saponin, which makes unrinsed quinoa taste bitter. Then, add the rinsed quinoa to a saucepan and water (I use 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa to cook it). Cook the quinoa uncovered until the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes.

Set aside the saucepan, and let the quinoa steam and fluff up. Then, fluff it with a fork and allow it to cool a bit.

While the quinoa cools, prepare the rest of the salad. I make the salad dressing in a small bowl and whisk everything together. It takes a couple of minutes. Then, I add the cooled quinoa and all of the remaining salad ingredients to a big bowl. Drizzle the dressing over everything and give it all a good toss. Easy!

Healthy quinoa salad with veggies, dried fruits, and chickpeas

Storing Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad lasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. After 3 days, the salad might wilt slightly, but it will still taste great! I do not recommend freezing the salad. For tips on preparing and freezing cooked quinoa by itself, see this guide for cooking quinoa.

More Quinoa Recipes

One of the Best Quinoa Salad recipes I've tried with quinoa, veggies, nuts, and chickpeas.

The Best Quinoa Salad

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

This incredible quinoa salad recipe is packed with superfoods. It’s easy to make and makes a great make-ahead salad.

Makes about 8 cups

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

For the Salad

1 cup dried quinoa

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 medium English cucumber, diced (1 cup)

1 medium bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

1 baby bok choy, chopped (2 cups)

1 cup additional grated or chopped veggies like carrots or broccoli stems, optional

1/2 cup (65g) nuts and seeds like walnuts, pine nuts, pepitas or sunflower seeds

1/4 cup (35g) dried fruit, blueberries or cranberries

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs like  fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, dill or mint

For the Dressing

1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Juice from 2 to 3 lemon wedges, optional

Directions

  • Cook Quinoa
  • 1Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly under cool running water for 30 seconds to a minute. Or, add quinoa to a bowl. Cover with cool water, swirl the quinoa around, then drain. Repeat this rinsing process once more.

    2Gently shake the quinoa to remove any extra water after rinsing.

    3Add the rinsed quinoa and 2 cups of water to a medium saucepan.

    4Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, so it’s at a gentle simmer, and cook uncovered until the quinoa absorbs all the liquid, 10 to 15.

    5Remove the pan from heat, cover, and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then, uncover and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool slightly before using in your salad.

  • Make Quinoa Salad
  • 1In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey (or maple syrup), salt, and pepper until well combined.

    2Mix the cooled quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, bok choy, extra veggies, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and herbs in a large bowl.

    3Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is well coated. Taste the salad and add more salt and pepper if needed. For more fresh flavor, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • The quinoa salad will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
  • As a substitute for the dried fruit, consider adding 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh fruit like blueberries, diced apple or chopped mango.
  • For a vegan friendly quinoa salad, substitute the honey with maple syrup.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 cup / Calories 282 / Total Fat 14g / Saturated Fat 2g / Cholesterol 0mg / Sodium 274.5mg / Carbohydrate 33g / Dietary Fiber 6.5g / Total Sugars 7.3g / Protein 8.8g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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72 comments… Leave a Review
  • barbara papin June 2, 2024, 8:16 am

    absolutely delicious!!

    Reply
  • Kelly April 30, 2024, 1:22 pm

    I’ve been making this wonderful salad for a couple of years now and it’s my families favorite!!!!!

    Reply

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