Rainbow Quinoa Salad (Gluten Free Vegan)
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Rainbow Quinoa Salad (Gluten Free Vegan) – loaded with vitamin rich colorful veggies and high in protein, this Rainbow Quinoa Salad is light, yet hearty, and perfect for meal prep lunches!
If you’re looking for a protein-rich meatless meal or a healthy make ahead lunch, this recipe is for you. Rainbow Quinoa Salad is fresh, colorful, nutrient dense, and totally satisfying. It is simple to prepare, requires minimal cooking, and can be customized to your taste, perfect for adding to your rotation of healthy meals. The rainbow of colorful raw vegetables in this salad makes it a great source of vitamins and anti-oxidants.
How to Cook Quinoa for Salad
First, it’s important to always rinse quinoa before cooking. Why rinse quinoa? It may seem like an unnecessary step, but it makes a big difference in taste! Quinoa is actually a seed with a natural coating called saponin that can taste bitter and cause digestive issues. To rinse, simply place the dry quinoa in a mesh strainer and run cold water over it for 1-2 minutes.
To cook, combine a 1:2 ratio of quinoa and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa. For 1 cup of quinoa, 15 minutes of cook time is usually sufficient. If desired, use broth in place of the water while cooking for a flavor/protein boost.
How to Make Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Salad is extremely versatile and can be made with literally any combination of vegetables, herbs, and flavors. Quinoa is mild in flavor, high in protein, with a little chew to it, making it a wonderful alternative base for a salad. In this version, quinoa is combined with a rainbow of crunchy, fresh vegetables and a light dressing of olive oil and lemon juice.
To build your own Quinoa Salad, follow the instructions in this recipe, but feel free to substitute your favorite cooked/uncooked vegetables, herbs, and dressing (see ideas below.)
What to Put in Quinoa Salad
Raw Vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes, kale, spinach, carrots, zucchini
Cooked Vegetables such as cooked butternut squash or roasted sweet potatoes
Fresh Herbs like parsley and cilantro
Healthy Fats like olives, avocados, nuts, feta cheese and goat cheese
Other protein sources such as cooked chicken breast, black beans, and chickpeas
Why is Quinoa Good for You?
Quinoa is naturally gluten free and one of few plant-based grains that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own. It is high in protein, iron, calcium and contains B vitamins. Like many whole grains, quinoa is a good source of fiber and energy-fueling carbohydrates. If you are looking to eat more plant-based meals and limit your meat intake, quinoa is an excellent choice!
How Long does Quinoa Salad Last in the Fridge?
Stored in an airtight container, cooked quinoa will keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. To meal prep this Rainbow Quinoa Salad, place individual servings in glass containers for easy grab and go lunches.
More Healthy Quinoa Recipes
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup finely diced English cucumber
- 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
- 1/4 cup finely diced carrots
- 1/4 cup chopped black olives
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup packed spinach leaves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Add rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork. Let cool.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, chopped spinach, black olives, and feta.
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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