Vegan Zesty Quinoa Salad 🌱Super food. Super good.
I found this recipe a few years ago when I was searching for a light, healthy, vegan salad to take to an afternoon reception. I knew this zesty vegan quinoa salad was a winner when the dish I prepared was devoured within minutes by the guests. Packed with protein and flavor – the nutty goodness of the quinoa, the fresh ‘bite’ of cilantro, combined with the lightly spicy citrus dressing – gosh it’s good! I’ve prepared this refreshingly satisfying salad many times since, and every time it gets rave reviews.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through those links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you, ever.
Make it your own!
I LOVE this zesty vegan quinoa salad. It’s delicious and super nutritious! Loaded with protein and fiber, it’s a recipe you can really feel good about making and serving. It’s absolutely perfect just as is or you can boost the flavors and colors by adding extras. Have fun with it! By using what you have on hand, you can create your own spin on this dish. I’ve ramped up this zesty salad with roasted corn, black olives, and avocado, turning it into a gorgeous Southwestern inspired salad. Think of the possibilities!
What is quinoa? Why is quinoa a superfood?
Quinoa is an ancient grain common to South America and is considered one of the world’s most popular health foods. It’s gluten-free, high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is high in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins and a host of other vital nutrients and antioxidants.
According to Healthline.com, this is the nutrient content in 1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa:
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Fiber: 5 grams.
- Manganese: 58% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
- Folate: 19% of the RDA.
- Copper: 18% of the RDA.
- Iron: 15% of the RDA.
- Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
- Potassium 9% of the RDA.
- Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
- Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E.
How to cook with quinoa
Quinoa is not only full of nutritious goodness, it’s also super easy to prepare. The grain itself is very delicate in taste. It has a wonderful nutty texture that easily absorbs the flavors of the ingredients and seasonings you cook it with. Much like rice or couscous or other similar foods, quinoa first needs to be boiled or steeped in hot water or broth. From there, you can create the most delicious dishes – salads, patties, casseroles, soups, loaves, stuffings – imagine the possibilities!
How to prepare Zesty Vegan Quinoa Salad
Have fun with this recipe and be sure to watch our YouTube video on preparing this easy and delicious dish!
Zesty Quinoa Salad
- Large mixing bowl
- 3 qt saucepan with lid
- Wire whisk or salad dressing shaker
- 1 C quinoa
- 2 C water
- 1/4 C olive oil extra virgin
- 2 limes juiced
- 2 tsp cumin ground
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 C cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed (15 oz can)
- 5 whole scallions or green onions finely chopped
- 1/4 C cilantro finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1/3 C corn kernels optional
- 1/4 C black olives sliced – optional
- 1/2 avocado diced – optional
- Bring quinoa and water to boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk olive oil, lime juice, cumin, 1 tsp salt, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl or salad dressing shaker.
- Combine quinoa, tomatoes, black beans, and scallions and optional ingredients (except avocado) together in a separate bowl.
- Pour dressing over all and toss to coat. Stir in cilantro. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Add avocado (optional) just prior to serving. Enjoy!