This Easy Vegan Quinoa Salad is loaded with tons of nutritious vegetables and paired with a zesty lemony vinaigrette. It's a fun and flexible salad--add in whatever garden vegetables you like. Plus it tastes great warm or cold.
Today I'm sharing something that has become a fast favorite in our home--Garden Veggie Quinoa Salad.
It's a mix of a really fun grain-like seed and LOADS of veggies. Like Loads.
Now, before any of you who are grain-free go running, you can easily do this recipe grain-free by simply substituting in cauliflower rice for the quinoa and it still tastes amazing.
Anyhow, back to the salad.
Why We Love this Garden Veggie Quinoa Salad
You are gonna love this vegan quinoa salad....for so many reasons.
First of all, it's a whole food. Nothing processed.
This quinoa salad is easily adaptable to special diets. It's Whole30 compliant, can be made low-carb, paleo, or AIP with the use of cauliflower rice instead of quinoa, it can also work for the THM eating plan and is an S when made with cauliflower rice, or a crossover done with the quinoa.
It's fast. Especially if you have a pressure cooker for cooking the quinoa. If you don't have a pressure cooker yet, it's one of the best things you can have in your kitchen. Here is a list of reasons to buy a pressure cooker--you'll soon see why I love mine!
It's LOADED with veggies.
And I mean loaded. You all know how important it is to eat a lot of veggies, right? It isn't just about getting vitamins and minerals into your body--it's about antioxidants and phytonutrients to reduce oxidative stress in the body. And oxidative stress is something you do NOT want in your body.
So--bring on the veggies!
In the interest of boosting our veggie intake, salad is one thing that we've been working really hard to incorporate into our family meals. I tend to like hearty cooked vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and the like, in fact one of my all time favorite combos is a sweet potato with loads of steamed broccoli, salt and either parmesan cheese or some nutritional yeast on top.
But salads? Not so much.
We've been working on eating more salads, though, and one thing that's key is having great dressings around like these: my 5-Ingredient Salad Dressing, this Vegan Ranch Dressing, Moroccan Vinaigrette, or this Vegan Avocado Dressing.
But salads, even with the bestest of dressings still get a bit boring, so sometimes you want something different. Enter this heavy-on-the-salad Quinoa Salad. Most quinoa salads out there are pretty heavy on the quinoa, but this one? Nope. It's heavy on the veggies and light on the quinoa so you can serve this up to your family knowing that with every serving they are getting a huge helping of super-good-for-you veggies.
Just a little bit about quinoa before we get to the recipe.
First of all, quinoa is funny grain that's really a seed and it's hard to spell and hard to pronounce. Say it with me--"keen-wa". Not "Keen-oh-ah" or "quin-oh-ah." 🙂
And it's also very versatile.
This salad is just what you need for an easy side dish that has lots of flavor-- and lots of nutrition!
About this Vegan Quinoa Salad
This Garden Veggie Quinoa Salad originated in a recipe that I got from a Kim. In fact, it could be called Kim's Quinoa Salad, except that I changed it around again and had a fun discovery that made it into a super versatile quinoa salad that we have regularly in our home now.
See, this past year we bought some aeroponic gardens. We'd been gardening for a long time but we had moved to a new home and sadly there is more shade here than we thought. Sigh - never buy a house in the winter if you want a garden :(.
Anyhow, we decided to try these and at first we weren't sure if we were going to get our money's worth out of them, but now that we're in our second summer, well, the produce is pouring in and we're thrilled. More on that later.
So Kim introduced me to her "famous" vegan quinoa salad and I loved it. And had to make it mine.
I changed up the recipe a bit and tried it with different veggies, but one night we had some college students over for a meal, and I had no food planned. I remembered how this Quinoa Salad came together in a jiffy, but realized I only had frozen broccoli in the house. Well, frozen broccoli and I aren't friends, so I felt stumped.
Then I saw a recipe online using Garden Veggies in another Quinoa Salad, so I picked some of our lettuce from our handy dandy aeroponic gardens, and some lettuce and tomatoes that a friend had so graciously given us the day before and whipped up this now famous "Adrienne's Garden Veggie Vegan Quinoa Salad."
I present the full of veggie quinoa salad goodness to you now.
How Can I Make this Whole30 Compliant?
Substitute cauliflower rice for the quinoa.
Recipe Notes for Vegan Quinoa Salad
- Special Diets: This quinoa salad is easily adaptable to special diets. It can be made low carb, paleo, or AIP with the use of cauliflower rice instead of quinoa, it can also work for the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan and is an S when made with cauliflower rice, or a crossover done with the quinoa.
- Vegan / Dairy-free: Use coconut oil for the butter or omit butter.
- Veggies: You can use any vegetables you like, but the ones pictured are a great flavor combination.
- Dressing: 1 cup of dressing makes for a nicely-flavored salad but we like our dishes with more oomph so we add more dressing to the salad.
- Temperature: If you choose to not let the quinoa cool before adding the veggies, you will end up slightly steaming the veggies. If you use lettuce or similar leafies, the result will be a wilted salad, which we really enjoy.
Garden Veggie Quinoa Salad - gluten free with low-carb, AIP options
Quinoa and Veggies
- 1 1/2 cups raw quinoa (cooked according to directions)
- 12 cups raw veggies (lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, etc.)
- 1 Tbsp butter (omit or use coconut oil for vegan)
For Quinoa and Veggies:
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- Stir in butter.
- Set aside to cool.
- Wash veggies.
- Chop veggies if necessary.
- Add in the veggies and then pour at least 1 cup of the dressing over the top and stir well to combine.
Note: Nutrition count will vary depending on which vegetable you use.
Gorgeous, isn't it?
It's healthy comfort food at its best.
Do you like quinoa?
Have you had quinoa salad before or not, and if so, did you like it?