If you’re looking for a bold, colorful, earthy, nutritious, textured side dish, this spinach quinoa salad with beets might just fit the bill. It’s mixed with apple and avocado, then dressed with a light honey Dijon dressing for great flavors and a beautiful presentation.
The salad is filling and substantial and can easily be served alone with a protein. In fact, it can also be served as a vegetarian main dish topped with some goat cheese and chopped roasted nuts. I like it with warm quinoa.
I can’t recall the magazine where I saw a version of this salad, but I know it was the beautiful colors that attracted me – deep purple-red from the beets and bright green from the spinach. Needless to say, the beets turn the quinoa, apple and avocado pink, adding to the varied red hues. Gorgeous!
The core ingredients are cooked beets, spinach and quinoa. After that, it’s up to you. I use diced apple, avocado, roasted nuts and a simple honey Dijon dressing. My preference is a slightly sweet dressing with this salad. The variations, of course, are endless.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Substitute baby spinach with baby arugula or baby kale.
- Try adding other shredded, spiralized or chopped vegetables like carrots, snap peas, cabbage.
- Any roasted chopped nuts will work – almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts.
- Use a different dressing such as Poppy Seed or Orange Vinaigrette.
- Garnish with nuts, goat cheese and/or chopped green onions or chives.
- Use a store-bought salad dressing. In a pinch, I use creamy Italian with a touch of added sugar.
- Buy pre-cooked shredded/julienne beets.
- Use left over quinoa.
Make Ahead Spinach Quinoa Salad
- This salad is great the next day for lunch, although the greens become less vibrant. To make ahead, add dressing at least half hour before to meld the flavors. Add garnish like goat cheese and nuts before serving.
Spinach Quinoa Salad With Beets
- 1 cup cooked quinoa Note 1
- 2 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded or julienne cooked beets
- 1 small apple (or 1/2 large), cored and diced
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- OPTIONAL GARNISH: roasted pecans or other nuts, chopped; crumbled goat cheese
For Vinaigrette Dressing
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp apple cider (or white wine) vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- pinch each: salt, pepper, garlic powder (or to taste)
- MAKE THE DRESSING: Combine all dressing ingredients in a tightly sealed container/jar and shake well. Or, whisk well until combined.
- ASSEMBLE SALAD: [If you are cutting avocado and apple ahead of assembly time, sprinkle with lemon to avoid browning]. Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. Add part of the dressing. Toss. Add more dressing if needed. Garnish with chopped nuts and/or goat cheese if desired.
- To make quinoa: Rinse 1/2 cup quinoa in a strainer for 2 minutes. Put in pot. Add 3/4 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat to boiling, stir, cover, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and rest 5 minutes. Cool.
- Make Ahead: The salad is great the next day for lunch, although the greens become less vibrant green. To make ahead, add dressing at least half hour before to meld the flavors. Add garnish like goat cheese and nuts before serving.
Here are a few other healthy quinoa recipes you might like: