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This cold Quinoa Vegetable Salad is a healthy, refreshing salad packed with fresh vegetables and quinoa topped with a simple lemon dressing. It’s perfect for the summertime and you can easily use up all those extra vegetables in the refrigerator.
Easy Cold Quinoa Salad with Fresh Vegetables
Right now, I am loving this cold Quinoa Vegetable Salad. It’s loaded with fresh summer vegetables. You can use your favorite veggies, but I used bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado and red onions. It’s tossed with an easy lemon and olive oil dressing.
I’ll admit I am not a fan of quinoa by itself as I find it doesn’t really have much flavor. However, it’s packed with nutritious protein and fiber and can easily be combined with so many different foods and flavors. It makes a perfect addition to this salad.
This salad is naturally vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free but there are plenty of ways you can add additional protein.
Why You’ll Love It
- It’s really easy to throw together
- You can totally customize it for picky eaters
- It’s healthy and refreshing
- Do all the prep upfront and save time later on
What Vegetable Can I use for Quinoa Salad?
You can use any vegetables you have in the refrigerator that needs to be used and certainly eliminate any vegetables that picky eaters may not care for.
- Cherry tomatoes: I prefer these to be roasted because I otherwise don’t like raw tomatoes. Roasting them is optional. I don’t always add tomatoes to mine but it’s a nice addition.
- Bell peppers: You can use add any type of bell pepper, red and yellow are my favorites.
- Red onion: I prefer these to white onions when I have to eat them raw as they tend to be sweeter.
- English cucumbers: I prefer these because they’re crunchier than regular cucumbers.
- Avocado: I’m obsessed with avocado. For the best freshness, it’s best to add the avocado right before serving. If you will not be eating it all at once, I recommend storing the avocado separately and adding it when ready to serve
- Fresh parsley: This isn’t something I normally have on hand, but I do love the flavor it adds.
I love my vegetable chopper which makes chopping all these veggies super fast! It’s also great for things like pineapple salsa.
How to Cook Quinoa for a Salad
My favorite way to cook it is in an instant pot or rice cooker, but this can also be done on the stovetop. Regardless of how you cook it, let the quinoa steam off, covered in the pot for 15 to 30 minutes.
For this salad, in particular, it’s best if the quinoa is cold, so I recommend making it ahead of time, cool completely, and then transferring it to the refrigerator, storing it in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it.
Easy Lemon Salad Dressing
This is my go-to, quick and easy salad dressing. It’s the same one I use for my Chicken Strawberry Salad.
- Olive Oil: I use equal parts olive oil to lemon juice, but if I am looking to cut calories, I cut back on the olive oil.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh squeezed if possible.
- White vinegar Just a touch of vinegar for me, I don’t like it to be too strong
- Salt & Pepper for taste
Simply mix the ingredients together as best as you can and pour over the tossed salad. If you are preparing the salad a day in advance, then I recommend adding the dressing just prior to serving, or the day of serving.
How to Add Protein
There are a few ways you can amp up this salad with added protein for a complete meal. Rotisserie chicken is my go-to.
- Add Feta or crumble goat cheese
- Add shredded rotisserie or grilled chicken
- Add Hard-boiled eggs– this is best added when the salad is ready to eat
What to Serve with Quinoa Salad
Quinoa salad goes great will grilled salmon, cheeseburgers or even with a sandwich at lunchtime. I also love serving this over a big bowl of fresh spinach or arugula.
It’s great for meal prep since it makes a big batch. If you are using this for meal prep, then I suggest keeping the salad dressing on the side to maintain the crispness of the vegetable. Add the dressing right before you eat it.
Make-Ahead and Storage Suggestions
You can prepare this a day in advance, but if so, I recommend adding both the avocado and the dressing the day you will be serving.
Keep stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and enjoy for 3 days.
This cold Quinoa Vegetable Salad is a healthy, refreshing salad packed with fresh vegetables and quinoa. It’s perfect for the summertime and you can easily use up all those extra vegetable in the refrigerator.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (appx 3 cup prepared)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, roasted
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- ¼ cup diced red onions
- ¾ cup diced English cucumbers
- Handful of fresh parsley
- 1 large avocado (see notes).
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Cook the quinoa: Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Fluff and set aside to cool.
- Roast the tomatoes: (optional) Heat oven to 400°F. Roast whole or sliced. Combine tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.
- Chop the veggies: Diced the vegetables: bell peppers, red onion, cucumbers, parsley.
- Prepare the dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small dish and stir to combine.
- Toss the salad: Combine the cooled quinoa and combine together with the vegetables and then pour the dressing and toss to combine. Keep stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
All vegetables are optional as written. You can add any of your favorite vegetables.
Avocado: it’s best to add the avocado right before serving. If you will not be eating it all at once, I recommend storing the avocado separately and adding it when ready to serve.
Make ahead and storage: You can prepare this a day in advance, but if so, I recommend adding both the avocado and the dressing the day you will be serving. Keep stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and enjoy for 3 days.
Add protein: This goes great with feta or crumbled goat cheese, shredded chicken or hard-boiled eggs.
- Category: Salad
- Method: Chopped
- Cuisine: American