This vegan quinoa salad recipe is packed full of nutrition and tangy flavor. Quinoa and colorful vegetables provide tons of nourishment, while the sumac dressing takes it to a whole new level of yummy.
I'm always on the look out for a great, hearty salad to eat for lunch that's easy to throw together. That's why this vegan quinoa salad is my ultimate go-to salad recipe. It super easy to assemble and it will keep you full until dinner. Plus, it makes a great pack and go lunch.
Lots of salads leaving you feeling less than satisfied, but this salad satiates your appetite thanks to protein and fiber-rich quinoa. Plus, this salad is naturally gluten-free. And, best of all, you can whip up a batch in about 15 minutes. What's not to love?
Related Post: Quick Vegan Chickpea Salad
💚Reasons You'll Love This Recipe
💚This is great salad to take to picnics and potlucks. It's easy to transport and it can be made ahead without compromising the taste and texture.
💚Quinoa is a nutrient-dense grain that's a complete source of protein, containing all essential amino acids. Additionally, it is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and folate, contributing to its status as a superfood.
💚You can use this recipe as a template, and add in whatever you like. I've given you some suggestions below.
- Quinoa: Quinoa comes in different varieties, each with its own unique taste, texture, and nutritional profile. The most common types are white, red, and black quinoa. White quinoa is the mildest and cooks up fluffy, so that's what we'll be using in this recipe.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Grape tomatoes are a great choice for this salad due to their firm texture and sweet flavor. You could also try using cherry tomatoes like Sun Gold or Sweet 100.
- Cucumber: English cucumbers, also known as seedless or hothouse cucumbers, are often preferred for salads because they have thin skin, fewer seeds, and a milder taste. You can slice them thinly or dice them, depending on your preference.
- Yellow Pepper: I used a yellow pepper in this vegan quinoa salad because I like a good variety of colors in my salads, but you could also use an orange or a red pepper here.
- Mint & Parsley: I love this combination of herbs in my salads, but you could also use basil if you prefer.
👨🍳How To Make Vegan Quinoa Salad
There's lots of confusion surrounding how to cook quinoa. So many recipes leave you with a clumpy, mushy mess. Fortunately, it's not that hard once you know the secret! My How To Cook Quinoa post will give you all the inside tips on how to make a big bowl of light, fluffy quinoa. You can also make quinoa in your rice cooker. For instructions, see this post: how to cook quinoa in a rice cooker.
- Thoroughly rinse the quinoa. This is important as quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that tastes bitter and soapy.
- Now, measure out one cup of quinoa to two cups of water. The quinoa to water ratio never changes - it's always 1:2. Side note: Quinoa expands (like a lot!) when you cook it. One uncooked cup will yield 4 cups of cooked quinoa.
- Put it in a medium size pan over low heat and allow it to simmer uncovered for about ten minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
- Get on with chopping your veg and herbs while the quinoa is cooking.
- Once all the water has been absorbed, take the pan off the heat and cover it with a tea towel. Leave it to rest for about 10 minutes while you prepare your sumac dressing.
Make The Sumac Salad Dressing
- Combine all the ingredients for the sumac dressing in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Now all you need to do is assemble your vegan quinoa salad! Drizzle the dressing over the top and enjoy!
💡Add-Ins & Variations
You can make your own version of vegan quinoa salad. Here's a few creative suggestions:
- Add a Mediterranean twist by tossing in crumbled vegan feta cheese and Kalamata olives. Their salty flavors complement the freshness of the vegetables.
- Go full veggie and replace the quinoa with broccoli rice.
- Stir in my purple cabbage slaw in a peanut dressing, and thank me later!
- Add some diced avocado and fresh corn kernels for a Mexican variation.
- Create a Southwestern vibe by mixing in black beans, corn, diced bell peppers, and a sprinkle of cumin. Top it off with a lime-based dressing for a zesty kick.
- Drizzle the salad with a tahini dressing and toss in diced dates for a sweet and nutty contrast.
- Add crunch with toasted almonds and sweetness with dried cranberries.
Store any leftover quinoa salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I recommend eating quinoa salad within 3-4 days.
While quinoa salads are generally best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze the cooked quinoa separately. Thaw and refresh with additional herbs and veggies when ready to serve.
🙋Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! You can replace quinoa with couscous, farro, or even rice, depending on your preference and dietary needs. Just be aware that these grains will have a different grain to water ratio, as well as different cooking times.
Yes, you can! Here's a link to a You Tube video on How To Cook Quinoa in an Instant Pot.
Soaking the red onion in cold water helps mellow its sharp flavor. If you enjoy a milder onion taste, I recommend this step. However, if you like the boldness of raw red onion, you can skip the soaking.
This salad can be prepared in advance, making it a convenient option for get togethers or packed lunches. Store it in the refrigerator, and add the dressing just before serving to maintain the freshness and texture of the ingredients.
You Might Also Like These Vegan Salad Recipes
Vegan Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup white quinoa rinsed and drained
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup cucumber seeded and diced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley loosely packed
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint chopped
- ½ cup red onion soaked in cold water for 5 minutes and then finely diced or sliced
- 1 cup yellow pepper seeded and diced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika use smoked paprika for a less spicy salad
- Rinse and drain the quinoa. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, cover with a tea towel, and set aside.
- While the quinoa is resting, chop the vegetables and herbs. In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sumac dressing until well combined.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer it to a large serving bowl. Add the chopped vegetables and herbs, then drizzle with the sumac dressing. Toss everything together and enjoy!
- Store vegan quinoa salad in an airtight container in the fridge (without the dressing) for 4-5 days.
- Quinoa can be frozen for up to three months, but if freezing, only freeze the quinoa, not the entire salad.