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My Fave Quinoa Salad

March 31, 2024
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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Indulge in my go-to Quinoa Salad – a quick, simple, and versatile dish that's sure to please everyone at the table. Vibrant + refreshing, it's the perfect addition to any meal, no matter the occasion!

My Fave Quinoa Salad

Delight your taste buds with My Fave Quinoa Salad recipe, packed with a colorful medley of protein-packed chickpeas, juicy grape tomatoes, sweet corn kernels for a pop of sweetness, crisp bell peppers adding a refreshing crunch! Tossed in a simple lemon olive oil dressing, it's such a flavorful side or main dish that is perfect for any time of the year! Completely Vegan. Make Ahead + Meat Add-In Option.

Up close shot of quinoa salad in a bowl with a spoon.

Lately, I've been jazzing up my salads to make them extra exciting. If you've got a BBQ or gathering on the horizon, My Fave Quinoa Salad is a must-try addition to your menu. It's versatile enough to be a side dish but hearty and flavorful enough to steal the show as the main event. Plus, it's perfect for leftovers—this salad keeps well when made ahead of time. With its refreshing, crisp, and delicious flavors, it's a winner all around!

This salad honestly screams spring + summer vibes, and has a bit of a Mediterranean feel with the lemon olive oil dressing and fresh parsley! It's super simple to whip up, perfect for meal prep + packs a serious punch of flavor. Plus, it's got that perfect balance of plant-based protein, healthy fats + veggies to keep you feeling satisfied. If you love the salad life with chickpeas thrown into the mix, try out Roasted Cauliflower Green Goddess Salad, The Best Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad and Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad next up!

Jump to:

Why You Will LOVE My Fave Quinoa Salad

  • Quick and simple to make, no-fuss preparation.
  • Bursting with Mediterranean flavors
  • Perfect blend of textures + colors
  • Keeps well for meal prepping
  • Sure to impress at potlucks and gatherings
  • Works as a main meal OR side
Ingredients on an orange table.

How To Make My Fave Quinoa Salad

Cooking quinoa to the right texture is key, ensuring it's nice and fluffy. Remember to let it cool down before adding it to the salad. Then, simply toss together all your other ingredients and whip up your simple lemon olive oil dressing! Check below for more dressing ideas.

Ingredients

SALAD:

  • Cooked quinoa. Make sure that it's fully cool.
  • Chickpeas. Drained + rinsed. Adds a nice extra hit of protein + flavor.
  • Spices + seasonings. Sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder + smoked paprika.
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes. Halved. You can also use my Herb Roasted Tomatoes for extra flavor.
  • Red onion. Adds a nice hint of sweetness.
  • Cooked sweet corn. You can also use organic canned corn.
  • Fresh parsley. Finely-chopped.
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

SIMPLE LEMON OLIVE OIL DRESSING:

  • ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemonds, freshly-squeezed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • sea salt + black pepper, for taste

SHOP MY FAVORITE TOOLS FOR BAKING, ESPECIALLY FOR THIS SALAD!

Here, I’ve curated a list of baking + cooking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite dishes, especially with My Fave Quinoa Salad. Everything from my fave loaf pan, wooden spoons, parchment paper, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Chopped veggies on a cutting board with a knife.

What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a highly nutritious grain that's become a staple in my kitchen. It's versatile and packed with protein, making it a great addition to salads, soups + more. Its mild, nutty flavor enhances the overall taste of most dishes!

The Secret To Tasty Quinoa

OK, so I’ve heard so many people talk about not really being a huge fan of quinoa recipes because they have no taste or the taste is so bland. Honestly, the KEY is to build flavor for every component of your dish so that together, the flavor is EXPLODING, including with your quinoa. MY SECRET? Veggie stock or chicken stock (for non-vegan/vegetarian options). Yup. Instead of using water, I just substitute with some sort of stock, adding salt or whatever based on necessity. Trust me, your quinoa will NEVER BE THE SAME after this delicious trick.

Ingredients in a bowl on an orange table.

What Kind of Quinoa is Best?

You can use whatever type of quinoa you have on hand or prefer for this recipe. Feel free to experiment and use whichever variety suits your taste buds best!

Different types of Quinoa

White Quinoa --- This is the most common type, known for its light and fluffy texture.

Red Quinoa --- Red quinoa has a slightly nuttier flavor and a firmer texture compared to white quinoa.

Black Quinoa --- Black quinoa has a sweeter and earthier flavor profile. It's firmer than white quinoa and holds its shape well.

Mixed Quinoa ---- Mixed quinoa blends white, red, and black varieties, offering a combination of textures and flavors in one package!

How To Cook Quinoa

Cooking quinoa is a breeze ---- so don't worry about it being complicated. It's one of my favorite ingredients because it's nutritious, filling, and packed with protein. I usually cook the quinoa ahead of time to simplify making the salad. Plus, cooked quinoa stays fresh in the fridge for up to a week.

Tips for cooking perfect quinoa every single time!

  • Start by rinsing the quinoa under cold water using a fine-mesh strainer. This removes quinoa's natural coating, called saponin, which can impart a soapy or bitter taste. Then, drain it well.
  • For every cup of quinoa, use 2 cups of liquid, whether it's water or broth. Cooking quinoa in broth adds extra flavor, but water works perfectly fine too!

Why Add Roasted Chickpeas?

In case you're thinking of making My Fave Quinoa Salad and would love to add a bit of a crunch or extra texture, then I recommend adding roasted chickpeas. It's super easy to do and only requires one (15 oz.) can of chickpeas, a bit of olive oil, and herbs + seasonings and you let the oven work it's magic. Check out my recipe here for easy steps!

All ingredients in a bowl being mixed together.

Can I Add More More Ingredients to this Salad?

Definitely! This quinoa salad recipe is great to mix and match the ingredients/toppings. For added nutrients, fiber, and color, add your favorite veggies + protein.

Here are some additions that would go well in this salad:

  • Beans + legumes (i.e. chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, etc.)
  • Greens (i.e. spinach, lettuce, mixed greens, arugula, mustard greens, etc.)
  • Add more protein (If you're not vegan/vegetarian)--- Shredded chickenhot honey baked chicken, shrimp, steak and salmon work well!
  • Tofu, mushrooms, tempeh, etc. (Great meat alternatives)
  • Homemade croutons, baked tortillas, or pita chips
  • Cheese, either dairy or plant-based (feta cheese would be especially nice in this salad)
  • Herb roasted tomatoes
  • Nuts + seeds (i.e. pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes or roasted butternut squash
  • Grains like farro, quinoa, couscous, etc.
  • Boiled or poached eggs
  • Candied bacon
Quinoa salad in a bowl with a spoon and herbs.

Can I Use Another Dressing?

For sure! If you're whipping up this salad more than once and feel like jazzing it up, trying out different dressings is a great move. Plus, keeping extra dressings handy allows you to switch up the flavors, especially when prepping meals ahead of time.

HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES:

My Fave Quinoa Salad Recipe Q + A's

How to store leftovers?

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days. You can serve it warm or cold, depending on preference.

Can i make this quinoa salad recipe ahead of time?

Yes! The salad can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. 

Can I add nuts or seeds for extra crunch?

Absolutely! Adding nuts or seeds like toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds can add a delightful crunch and extra nutrition to this salad. Just toss them in before serving for a delightful texture contrast.

Does this salad travel well?

Yes, this salad travels exceptionally well, making it perfect for picnics, potlucks, or bringing to work for lunch. Just store it in a well-sealed container or airtight jar to prevent leaks, and keep it chilled until you're ready to enjoy.

Ingredients in a bowl with ingredients and a spoon.

Love Quinoa? Try These Delicious Recipes Next

If you are a fan of My Fave Quinoa Salad recipe, you will also love these other quinoa recipes!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this My Fave Quinoa Salad recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram  and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea! I love hearing from you!

Ingredients in a bowl with ingredients and a spoon.

My Fave Quinoa Salad

March 31, 2024
5 from 1 vote
Delight your taste buds with My Fave Quinoa Salad recipe, packed with a colorful medley of protein-packed chickpeas, juicy grape tomatoes, sweet corn kernels for a pop of sweetness, crisp bell peppers adding a refreshing crunch! Tossed in a simple lemon olive oil dressing, it's such a flavorful side or main dish that is perfect for any time of the year! Make Ahead + Meat Add-In Option.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

SALAD:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (Make sure that it's fully cool)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can organic chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (You can also use my Herb Roasted Tomatoes for extra flavor)
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked sweet corn (You can also use organic canned corn)
  • 1 cup finely-chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

SIMPLE LEMON OLIVE OIL DRESSING:

  • ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemonds, freshly-squeezed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • sea salt + black pepper, for taste

Instructions

TO MAKE THE SALAD:

  • In a large bowl, add the cooled cooked quinoa, chickpeas, bell peppers, chopped parsley, halved tomatoes, chopped onions, sweet corn, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, mixing everything together until combined.

TO MAKE THE SIMPLE LEMON OLIVE OIL DRESSING:

  • In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and salt, and black pepper until combined.

ASSEMBLE:

  • Drizzle the lemon olive oil dressing atop the salad and stir to incorporate.
  • To serve, add the quinoa salad as a side to your favorite main meat or dish.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days. You can serve it warm or cold, depending on preference.
  • MAKE AHEAD: The salad can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 394mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS recipe?

Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Xx, Shanika in script writing

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