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veggie quinoa in serving bowl 2
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5 from 5 votes

Healthy Vegetable Quinoa Salad Recipe

This flavorful vegetable quinoa salad recipe is packed with healthy fresh veggies, pops with bold colors and is super versatile. Great for lunches, potluck or buffet tables.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, pre-washed or rinsed
  • 1 ⅔ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Fresh vegetables and herbs

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut in thin 1/2/ inch (1.3 cm) pieces
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded and diced small
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (optional)

Dressing ingredients

  • ¼ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed (3-4 limes) (or substitute with fresh lemon juice)
  • 3 tablespoons pineapple or orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup, Note 1 (or brown sugar)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like more heat)

Optional garnish

  • pine nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, orange zest, lemon zest

Instructions

  • MAKE QUINOA: Combine quinoa, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Cooked quinoa will sprout little tails from the grains when done. Transfer to a serving bowl and cool in the fridge.
  • MAKE DRESSING: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  • COMBINE: Once quinoa is cooled, combine vegetables, herbs and dressing. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings and herbs. Add some finely grated orange zest if desired. Chill in fridge for up to 2-3 days.

Notes

  1. Substitute maple syrup and red pepper flakes with 2 tablespoon of Thai sweet chili sauce (or more to taste)
  2. Variations
    • Try shredded red cabbage or thinly sliced jicama in addition to fresh veggies listed in recipe.
    • Mediterranean quinoa salad: instead of the dressing in the recipe, use Italian dressing with feta cheese, a red onion and chopped olives.
    • Thai quinoa salad: make a dressing of lime, brown sugar, fish sauce, oil and cilantro.
    • For a Mexican version, toss the quinoa and veggies with black beans and a spicy salsa (instead of dressing in recipe).
    • Try adding a splash of balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar or Thai sweet chili sauce to the dressing if you like.
  3. Make Ahead:  The salad keeps well in the fridge in meal prep containers for a couple of days, making great leftovers or a perfect pot luck contribution.
 
Nutrition information is estimated for 4 side portions and does not include optional garnishes. 
Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 860mg | Potassium: 579mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 4062IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3mg