Easy Quinoa Salad
Published Apr 05, 2021, Updated Sep 07, 2023
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Sharing my go-to quinoa salad recipe with a simple lemon dressing, as well, a variety of quinoa salad recipes to try!
Since discovering how to make quinoa ages ago I have been hooked on making quinoa salads. I’ve made so many over the years that I’ve built up quite the collection, but I still have a favorite that I’ll always make time and time again.
That’s the recipe I’m sharing today.
Quinoa is so easy to prepare, incredibly versatile, high in protein and fiber and can be served for just about any meal! I love using it for a variety of recipes, but where quinoa really shines is in salads!
Cooking Quinoa for Salad
When it comes to cooking quinoa to use for salad, it’s basically the same process as normal, but I like to make my quinoa a day in advance, let it cool and chill it in the fridge overnight and then use it for the salad the next day.
Prepping it in advance is just so the quinoa doesn’t heat up the other salad ingredients. Of course it’s fine to cook it the same day and just let it cool a bit before using. I do this all the time when I’m in a rush!
Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious (and super easy) quinoa salad:
- quinoa – this is the base of the recipe and you can use any type of quinoa you like from white, black, red to tri-color. Any variety will work for this recipe.
- baby spinach – baby spinach has a mild flavor and texture that works perfectly in this quinoa salad. I like thinly slicing it or shredded it so the pieces are bite-size and easy to eat.
- cherry tomatoes – these little guys add such great flavor to the salad.
- red onion – the perfect way to add a bit of flavor and crunch. You can use yellow onion if needed.
- lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper – instead of an elaborate dressing, we’re using these four items to add a light and refreshing flavor to the salad.
- avocados – for some creaminess and healthy fat.
- feta cheese – this adds such a good flavor to the salad so I wouldn’t recommend omitting it. If needed you can use a vegan feta.
Want to add more protein to this salad? Each serving of this salad already has 8 grams of protein, but you could always add more by tossing in about 1/2 cup of chickpeas or white beans or adding in some chopped grilled chicken.
What to Serve with Quinoa Salad
Honestly, this salad pairs well with just about anything! It’s my go-to side for cookouts and potlucks and I always get asked for the recipe. Here are some pairing ideas:
- Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken – my go-to grilled chicken recipe!
- Grilled Curry Chicken – looking for a little extra flavor? Try this curry chicken recipe.
- Blackened Salmon – the creamy and refreshing quinoa salad is the perfect way to balance out the spice from the salmon.
- The Best Tempeh Veggie Burger – make these delicious vegan burgers as your main and serve this salad alongside it!
- Baked Falafel – because this quinoa salad reminds me of tabbouleh and has Mediterranean vibes, I think it would be delicious paired with homemade falafel and creamy hummus.
How to Store Quinoa Salad
This salad stores super well!
To make it in advance: I would recommend leaving the avocado out and adding that in right before serving. The rest of the salad can be fully assembled and stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
To store leftovers: Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
More Quinoa Recipes to Try
- Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Quinoa Fried “Rice” with Shrimp
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Mexican Quinoa Casserole
- Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
- Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
- Grilled Chicken and Quinoa Meal Prep Bowls
- Jennifer Aniston Salad
Most Popular Salad Recipes
- Fattoush Salad
- Couscous Salad
- Easy Spinach Salad
- Classic Broccoli Salad
- Greek Salad
- Chicken Waldorf Salad
- Massaged Kale Salad
- Healthy Potato Salad
Easy Quinoa Salad
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup chopped baby spinach
- ½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- ⅓ cup diced red onion
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 ripe avocados, chopped or sliced
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Cook quinoa: Rinse and drain quinoa. Add quinoa and water to a saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Toss: In a medium bowl, stir together cooked quinoa, chopped spinach, tomatoes, red onion and feta.
- Whisk dressing: In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Add dressing and avocado: Gently stir in dressing and avocado chunks.
- Chill and enjoy: Serve immediately or let the salad chill in the fridge a couple hours before serving. If chilling, you can add the avocado right before serving to prevent browning.
- Store: Store salad in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Want to add more protein to this salad? Toss in about 1/2 cup of cooked chickpeas or white beans or add in some chopped grilled chicken.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.