Tangy, creamy and crunchy, Quinoa Crunch Salad is special enough for Easter dinner and the leftovers are perfect to pack for lunch.
One of the cool perks to having my husband travel all over the country is getting to live vicariously through his dining experiences. Now don’t let that statement fool you. He has quite a few dinners on the fly while on the road but, he has gotten to eat at some pretty cool restaurants non the less. In fact, it has almost become a game that he takes pictures of his food and I salivate jealously on the other end of the phone. A few years back, while visiting New Orleans, he had a quinoa salad very similar to this Quinoa Crunch Salad. As soon as he told me about it I made him list all the ingredients that he could and jumped right to making it, with my own spin of course. I was so excited to see how the walnuts would taste in a vinaigrette with all these veggies and feta. Let me tell you right now, all these textures and flavors is like a trip to Disneyland for your taste buds. I also love that it is insanely healthy while being gluten free.
- Mediterranean Twist- Add Kalamata olives and diced cucumber to give the salad a Mediterranean flair.
- Protein Boost- Toss in grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas for added protein.
- Tropical Delight- Include diced mango and avocado for a refreshing tropical version.
- Mexican Quinoa Salad- Use cilantro instead of parsley, add black beans, corn, avocado and cotija cheese
- Main Dish- Serve it as a light and nutritious main dish for lunch or dinner along with garlic bread.
- Side Dish- Pair it with chicken wings, Oven Roasted Tri-tip, or your favorite protein for a wholesome meal.
- Picnic Perfect- Ideal for picnics or potlucks, as it can be served at room temperature.
- Soup and Salad- This salad pairs beautifully with tomato basil soup.
Tips about Quinoa Crunch Salad:
- The veggies in this Quinoa Crunch Salad are generally available all year long. As an alternative though, asparagus can be substituted for broccoli in the Spring.
- I have at various times also added to this Quinoa Crunch Salad chunks of avocado and green olives that have been cured in water & sea salt (Trader Joe’s carries them at a great price).
- Make sure to not add the cut tomatoes and cucumber until the salad has cooled down. Those two veggies are best in this salad if not cooked.
- Substitute veggie broth for chicken broth for a vegetarian meal.
- Consider adding fresh herbs like parsley or mint for an extra burst of flavor.
- Toast the walnuts before adding them to the salad to enhance their nutty flavor.
- If you love garlic, feel free to add more cloves to the vinaigrette for a robust taste.
- Broil or griddle the lemon halves before juicing for deeper citrus flavor
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of quinoa works best?
White, red or tri-color quinoa all work beautifully. Rinse well before cooking.
Can I use a different type of grain instead of quinoa?
You can substitute quinoa with couscous, bulgur, or farro for a different texture and flavor.
How long does the salad last in the refrigerator?
This salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to cover it tightly to preserve freshness.
Can I make this salad in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the salad a day in advance, excluding tomatoes and cucumbers. Add them just before serving to maintain their freshness.
Is there a way to make this recipe vegan?
Replace chicken broth with vegetable broth, and omit the feta cheese or use a vegan alternative.
Can I swap in different veggies?
Absolutely! Some delicious additions or swaps: halved red grapes, shredded kale, snap peas, roasted cauliflower or squash, or shredded Brussels sprouts.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth *vegetable broth for vegetarian
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp lemon juice *about 1 juicy lemon
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lg head broccoli *cut into florets about 5 cups
- 1 small red onion *diced about 1 cup
- 3 med carrots *about 1 cup diced
- 2 celery stalks *diced about 3/4 cup
- 1 med yellow bell pepper *diced into med sized chunks
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes *cut in half
- 1 English cucumber *peeled & cut into lg chunks
- 2 cups feta crumbles
- 2 cups raw walnuts *slightly broken up
- Cook quinoa in broth according to package. While quinoa is cooking prepare broccoli. Once quinoa is done, turn off flame, stir in florets and cover with lid again. Let mixture sit in hot pan for about 10 mins to slightly cook broccoli.
- In the meantime prepare vinaigrette by whisking oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt together. Add quinoa /broccoli mixture, stir well. Prepare veggies and add all but tomatoes and cucumbers to salad. Add feta and walnuts, stir well.
- Once salad has cooled down to room temperature add cut tomatoes and cucumber, stir well. Salad is meant to be eaten at either room temperature or cold.
This recipe is part of Meal Plan Monday.