Zesty Quinoa Salad recipe with Lemon-Herb Dressing


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Quinoa Salad


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange), diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Lemon-Herb Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the quinoa: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa and water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer it to a large mixing bowl to cool.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: While the quinoa is cooking, chop the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, parsley, and mint. Add them to the bowl with the cooked quinoa.
  3. Make the Lemon-Herb Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, honey or maple syrup, and chopped thyme leaves until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Assemble the salad: Pour the dressing over the quinoa and vegetables in the mixing bowl. Toss gently to coat everything evenly with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Serve: If using, sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the top of the salad. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The flavors will meld together even more if allowed to sit for a few hours before serving.

Foods that go well with quinoa salad

Grilled Chicken Breast: The lean protein and savory flavors of grilled chicken complement the light and refreshing Quinoa Salad beautifully. Season the chicken with herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, and garlic for added depth of flavor.

Baked Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, baked salmon offers a delicious contrast to the quinoa salad. Season the salmon with lemon, garlic, and dill for a fresh and flavorful combination.

Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes add depth and heartiness to the meal. Toss the vegetables in olive oil and your favorite herbs before roasting to enhance their natural sweetness.

Grilled Shrimp Skewers: Light and succulent grilled shrimp are a perfect match for the Quinoa Salad. Marinate the shrimp in a mixture of lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil before grilling for a burst of flavor.

Stuffed Bell Peppers: Fill bell peppers with a mixture of quinoa, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and spices for a delicious and nutritious main dish. Serve alongside the Quinoa Salad for a complete and satisfying meal.

Falafel: Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, falafel pairs well with the fresh flavors of Quinoa Salad. Serve the falafel with hummus, tzatziki, or tahini sauce for dipping.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich: Layer grilled eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and onions on whole grain bread with hummus and fresh greens for a hearty and satisfying sandwich. Serve with a side of Quinoa Salad for a well-rounded meal.

These dishes offer a variety of flavors and textures that complement the Quinoa Salad, making for a delicious and satisfying meal. Enjoy experimenting with different combinations to find your favorite pairing!


Rich Source of Complete Protein

Quinoa is renowned for being a complete protein source, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. This makes it an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans looking to meet their protein needs. Incorporating quinoa salad into your diet ensures that you’re getting a high-quality protein source that supports muscle repair, growth, and overall cellular function.

High in Fiber

Fiber is crucial for digestive health, promoting regularity, and preventing constipation. Quinoa is a rich source of dietary fiber, containing both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools and supports healthy bowel movements. Including quinoa salad in your meals can aid in digestion, keep you feeling full longer, and support a healthy gut microbiome.

Packed with Essential Nutrients

Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with essential vitamins and minerals that are vital for overall health and well-being. It is a good source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and folate, among others. Magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle and nerve function, while manganese supports bone health and antioxidant defenses. Folate is essential for cell division and DNA synthesis, making quinoa salad an excellent choice for promoting overall health and vitality.

Low Glycemic Index

Quinoa has a low glycemic index (GI), which means it doesn’t cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels after consumption. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their blood sugar levels. The steady release of glucose into the bloodstream helps to prevent energy crashes and promotes sustained energy levels throughout the day. Incorporating quinoa salad into your meals can help stabilize blood sugar levels and support long-term health.

Gluten-Free and Celiac-Friendly

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. Unlike wheat, barley, and rye, which contain gluten, quinoa is a safe and nutritious alternative that can be enjoyed by people with gluten-related disorders. Quinoa salad provides a delicious and satisfying option for those following a gluten-free diet, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients without compromising taste or texture.

Supports Weight Management

Quinoa salad is a nutrient-dense, low-calorie food that can support weight management goals. Its high fiber and protein content help to increase feelings of fullness and satiety, reducing the likelihood of overeating and snacking between meals. Additionally, quinoa contains complex carbohydrates that are digested slowly, providing a steady source of energy without causing spikes in blood sugar levels. Including quinoa salad as part of a balanced diet can help promote weight loss and weight maintenance over time.