Quinoa Salad: the light, healthy, gluten-free recipe that everyone will love

Total time: 10 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
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By Cookist

Homemade quinoa salad is an easy, hearty, nutrient-dense dish that's perfect for just about any occasion. Tomatoes, spinach, and cucumbers bring a freshness to the salad, while the tangy-sweet vinaigrette makes each bite sublime.

While it's a fantastic cold summer side dish, quinoa salad is a quick, delicious side you can make any time of year. Serve it as a side with your midweek roast or include it as part of your Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday spread. The best thing about quinoa salad? You can customize it however you like!

Quinoa Salad Ingredients

There are two parts to making the best quinoa salad. The first is making the dressing, the second is assembling the salad.

For the dressing, you'll need olive oil as a base, plus balsamic vinegar and lemon juice for brightness, maple syrup to balance out the tanginess, plus some garlic for a bit of a bite.

The salad can take on any number of variations, but for a basic quinoa salad, you'll need cooked, cooled quinoa (the perfect excuse to use leftover quinoa), fresh spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, and an avocado.

How to Make Quinoa Salad

Making quinoa salad is a breeze. Start by making the dressing. Whisk the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper into a small bowl. Put the cooked quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and scallions in a bowl. Mix well to combine. Mix the dressing into the salad, season with additional salt and pepper if desired, and enjoy!

Tips for Making the Best Quinoa Salad

Only use fresh ingredients to make your quinoa salad. Fresh spinach, for example, will taste loads better compared to thawed frozen spinach.

Leftover quinoa is perfectly fine to use in a quinoa salad.

What to Serve with Quinoa Salad

The tangy vinaigrette is a must for serving your quinoa salad. The salad itself is a fabulous side dish with roast chicken, stews, casseroles, roast vegetables, pot roasts, and more. Serve it with seared salmon, beef stir-fry, baked tofu, or steamed fish. There's no shortage of excellent dishes that will work beautifully with quinoa salad.

Quinoa Salad Variations

Swap honey for maple syrup or use champagne vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar.

Add fresh herbs like basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, or fennel to your quinoa salad.

Extra veggies like bok choy, broccoli, carrots, squash, and bell pepper are great in a quinoa salad.

Add chickpeas or nuts for extra crunch. Pecans, walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts are perfect.

Dried fruit like raisins and cranberries are excellent for adding a pop of sweetness to your quinoa salad. Use pomegranate seeds if you prefer fresh fruit.

For a more Asian style, combine soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and a dash of sesame oil and pour it over the quinoa salad.

How to Store Quinoa Salad

Place your quinoa salad in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 4 days.

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for the salad
cold cooked quinoa
2 cups
fresh spinach leaves, chopped
2 cups
cucumber, chopped
1 cup
cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup
large avocado, diced
scallions, sliced
kosher salt and black pepper
for the dressing
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup
Garlic, minced
1 clove
Lemon juice
2 tbsp
Balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp
pure maple syrup
1 tsp
kosher salt and black pepper to taste


Pour olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper into a bowl.

Whisk well to combine.

Put quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and scallions in a bowl. Mix well to combine.

Pour the dressing over the salad. Stir to coat.

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