This quinoa salad is perfect as a side dish or as lunch with some added protein like beans or tofu. This salad with arugula and veggies is naturally vegan. Quinoa is also gluten-free.
What is quinoa salad made of?
These ingredients have been chosen, so the salad doesn't get mushy. It stores well in the fridge.
- Quinoa. You can find quinoa in red, black, or white.
- Onion. This recipe has red onion, but you can also use leek or spring onion. One great alternative is marinated red onion, which is a bit sweeter in taste.
- Bell pepper. Any color bell pepper is fine to use. The red one is often the sweetest.
- Olives. Use green or black. Remember that calamata olive has a stone in them.
- Arugula. Also, spinach or kale are good options for this salad; they keep fresh a bit longer than regular lettuce.
- Sundried tomatoes. If you use sundried tomatoes in oil, you can rinse away the oil with water.
- Lime. Lime brings some freshness to the quinoa; you can also use lemon juice or skip it altogether.
Other things you can add to the salad
Here are some of my favorite things to add to this quinoa salad. Use ingredients that are in the season.
- Steamed broccoli buds
- Cherry tomatoes cut in halves
- Cucumber cubes
- Lightly roasted nuts or seeds
- Grated carrot or carrot slices made with a peeler
- Pomegranate seeds
Quinoa itself already has quite a nice amount of protein, but if you want to add some, especially if you eat this as lunch or dinner, here are some plant-based protein sources you can add:
- Tempeh, perfect as fried pieces in spice sauce
- Quorn, check the product information. Some brands might contain egg
- Cooked lentils
- Cooked chickpeas
- Cooked beans
How to season your salad?
There are no added spices to the quinoa in the base recipe, just some lime juice to bring freshness.
Fresh herbs are a great addition to this salad. A nice combination of herbs is made from mint, cilantro, and parsley. You can also use dried herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme.
Different sauces also give added taste to this salad. This cashew garlic sauce is tasty and creamy. You can also use a lighter sauce that is made from apple cider vinegar and sweet mustard.
Boiling the quinoa
I recommend boiling quinoa in a bigger batch at one time. You can use the extra for other recipes. You can for example eat quinoa instead of rice or make some quinoa burgers. The extra quinoa is also good to freeze.
I cooked one bag of quinoa that had a dry weight of 340 grams. This made 6 cups of boiled quinoa and around 1200grams.
Why do you wash the quinoa before boiling it?
Quinoa has saponins on its surface. You must rinse quinoa thoroughly so it doesn't taste bitter. Rinse with hot water. Rinsing also makes it cook looser and not to porridge.
Quinoa is tummy-friendly to most people but if you don't rinse it you can get stomach aches because of the saponins. If you have IBS- is good to remember to rinse it thoroughly.
Quinoa seeds are very small, so they might slip through a normal strainer. A double netted strainer is handy when rinsing quinoa. If you don't own a strainer you can use a pair of pantyhose that you cut and rinse the seeds this way.
What type of quinoa is good to choose?
There are different types of quinoa. To use in the salad you can choose white, red or black. Some white quinoas are more porridgy. For example, I don't choose Finnish quinoa for salad because of this. Usually, I have used Peruvian.
- White quinoa is the softest and has the shortest cooking time between 10-15 minutes.
- Red quinoa is a bit firmer
- Black quinoa is also firm and needs the longest cooking time, around 25 minutes.
Is quinoa salad good for weight loss?
Quinoa is a great protein and carb source for people who want to lose weight. Quinoa has all the amino acids your body needs. 150 grams of cooked quinoa contains:
Quinoa also has a nice amount of iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, vitamin E, and B-vitamins. From one portion you get 18% of the daily Iron you need.
To get the Iron to absorb it is good to combine the quinoa with something containing vitamin C. This recipe has bell pepper and lime that have vitamin C. Also lemon juice, broccoli, and kale are good sources.
Avoid drinking black tea or coffee with the salad, this prevents good absorption of the Iron. This is because coffee and black tea have tannins.
If you are worried about oxalates and phytates in quinoa and you eat them a lot. Then you can soak your quinoa before cooking. 30-60 minutes soak time is enough. Soaking also promotes the absorption of vitamins.
This arugula quinoa salad stores for 3 days. If you add soaky ingredients like cucumber or tomatoes to your salad, eat it within 2 days.
You can not freeze the salad, but you can freeze plain cooked quinoa.
One portion of quinoa salad has 30 grams of carbs. Quinoa is not low carb unless you add only a small amount of it.