This colourful quinoa salad is loaded with fresh vegetables, roasted spiced beans and a zesty lemon, garlic and tahini dressing. It is delicious warm or cold and can also be wrapped into flatbreads for a quick wrap. If you have cooked quinoa in hand, it will only take you 20 minutes to put this together!
In this post, I share two variations with the same easy quinoa salad recipe. Why have one when you can have two?! The first vatition has a lot of vegetables, fresh herbs, nuts and dried fruit and in the second variation, I have amped up the protein with roasted beans.
I have tried a bunch of ways to do this including using a pressure cooker, Instant Pot, open pot and even the microwave. Everything works but I find the easiest way to do it for ‘fluffy’ quinoa is doing it in an open pot. It takes about 15 minutes to cook one cup of raw uncooked quinoa. Remember that one cup of uncooked quinoa will make two cups of cooked quinoa!
- Rinse one cup of quinoa in water using a strainer and drain all water.
- Add to a pot and fill with two cups of regular water.
- Add a pinch of salt and place on medium flame.
- Let it come to a rolling boil, then reduce flame to low and let it cook for 10 minutes. If you feel the water draining fast, add about 1/4 cup of water further.
- Quinoa is done when it is fluffy as separate grains and all the water has evaporated.
- Cooked and cooled quinoa can be kept in fridge for up to 4 days.
What is in this delicious quinoa salad?
We mix some quinoa, beans with fresh vegetables and some nuts for crunch and add optional dried fruit for a sweet bite!
- Cooked Quinoa
- Cooked Beans
- Bell Peppers
- Raisins or Cranberries
and in the dressing, we add the most amazing roasted garlic for flavour, tahini for some creaminess and a surprising umami from soy sauce!
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Herbs for garnish
I use a lot of tahini and hummus in my salad dressing. They are a wonderful, easy way to add not just creaminess instead of mayo but also serve so much more nutrition. In this salad, you can omit the tahini if you don’t have it or even add hummus instead.
The most convenient part of this recipe is how you can make all the individual items and assemble just before a meal. If you are looking for a meal prep idea, this one is a win.
Let’s put together a fantastic quinoa salad now!
Easy Quinoa Salad with Roasted Garlic Dressing
- 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
- ¼ cup chopped bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped onion optional
- ¼ cup chopped cucumber skins removed
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- 1 tbsp cranberries or raisins optional
- ½ cup roasted beans recipe below
- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp tahini or hummus
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- salt and pepper to taste
Roasting Garlic and Beans
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- To a bowl, add 2 tsp olive oil, a pinch of red chilli powder, cumin, salt and add cooked beans. Stir well and transfer to a greased baking tray.
- Chop the corner off a whole clove of garlic, add a little oil on the top and place next to the spiced beans and roast both together for 15 minutes.
- If you don't have an oven or don't want to turn one on, you can saute the spiced beans in a pan until it is mildly crispy. Similarly, pan roast garlic cloves in a drop of oil.
Assembling the salad
- To a large bowl, add the quinoa, chopped vegetables, almonds, raisins and stir well.
- To a smaller bowl, squeeze in 3 cloves of roasted garlic and add the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini or hummus, soy sauce, cumin, pepper and stir well with a whisk or a fork until fully combined.
- For the first variation, simply mix the salad with the dressing and top with chopped mint leaves or parsley. For the second variation, mix the salad with dressing, add the roasted beans and mix well. The amount of dressing in this recipe is for the full batch of one cup quinoa. You can split it among the two variations or add to one.
- Onions can be skipped if you are not fond of raw onions.
- I used a can of mixed beans, drained and roasted. It can be substituted with chickpeas
- Instead of roasting, the salad will be delicious with cooked beans/chickpeas as it is.
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and will help other readers.
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