A healthy vegan salad doesn’t have to be boring! Crunchy Quinoa Salad Recipe with a variety of textures, colors and tastes for a gluten-free and vegan delicious crispy salad.
The single best thing you can do to increase health and well being is to eat more energizing greens and veggies? You’re not alone if you’re wondering HOW to accomplish this, without getting bored. I hear it all the time from clients and cooking workshop participants: I eat salad for lunch EVERY DAY. Isn’t that enough?
Crunchy Quinoa Salad: Diversity rules!
I eat salad multiple times a day, and NO, I’m not sick of it. Why? I never have the same salad twice. There are so many options to include in your salad, which not only keep things interesting in the taste department, but nutritionally, diversity is key to optimum good health. Increasing the diversity of bacteria in our guts keeps the microbiome healthy too.
What can you add to your salad to make it interesting?
- GRAINS: Choose different grains each time. Maybe roast them as above to make them crispy and add to the texture of the salad. See cooking instructions below for how I used less water to begin with to help the quinoa have a crunch to add to this salad. Choose gluten-free grains if you need to.
- NUTS/SEEDS: Not only will they add texture and crunch, but nuts and seeds also offer plant-based protein.
- LEAFY GREENS: They’re all good. Change things up though for a slightly different nutritional profile each time. Leafy greens help keep things moving in your digestive track and variety is great for a diversity in your gut.
- VEGGIES: Raw and roasted veggies are good choices. Try something new every week. This crunchy quinoa salad has brussels sprouts and asparagus. You could also make it with roasted cauliflower or broccoli. Radishes are delicious roasted and raw. Choose vegetables that are IN SEASON now.
- DRESSING: Change things up! The creamy dressing used here is dairy-free, oil-free and DELICIOUS. Super easy to make, too. BUT…you could easily use a different dressing with this salad and it would taste like something totally new and different. I love this vegan caesar on this salad and when I’m in a hurry I use my everyday salad dressing recipe. So easy!
Does it take a lot of time to make crunchy quinoa salad?
This salad is EASY to make and takes very little time. It will take you less than 30 minutes to make this. Not only that, but you can MEAL PREP FOR OTHER DISHES AT THE SAME TIME. Such a HUGE savings of time. Roast more veggies/grains than you need. AND, roast additional veggies/grains while your oven is on. With an arsenal of already roasted veggies/grains you have options.
What else can I do with my roasted veggies/grains?
- Heat up some veggie stock and throw in veggies and grains for a delicious soup. Ready in 5 minutes.
- Gently heat a heavy skillet and add already roasted veggies or grains, drizzle on some toasted sesame oil, low sodium tamari, and rice vinegar for a delicious stir fry. If you don’t have grains , add in some cauli-rice for a “fried rice” side dish.
- Use them as a basis for a tofu scramble or crustless frittata.
- YOU do YOU….build a better salad by using other greens and dressing that YOU like best.
Could I eat this as a main dish?
Absolutely! This crunchy quinoa salad has a balanced nutritional profile. Protein? Check. Fiber? You betcha! Healthy Fats? Uh-huh. Carbohydrates? Yup….the complex, nutrient dense type we are all looking to get more of. Load up your plate….there will be nutritional goodness in every bite, right along with good taste!
A large bowl of prepped greens + roasted grains/veggies is like gold in your fridge. The perfect building block to build a better salad. An awesome dish to bring along to a pot-luck. A get out of your salad rut solution.
More Salad Recipes to get you out of your boring salad rut:
Crunchy Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 lb. brussels sprouts
- 1 lb. asparagus
- ¾ cup raw pistachios
- 1 bunch lacinato kale 2 cups chopped
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup organic firm tofu*
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- COOK THE QUINOA: Generally, I would use a ratio of 2 cups liquid to 1 cup quinoa, but in the this case, because the goal isI to have some CRUNCHY quinoa to add to the salad, I'm recommending to cook the cup of quinoa in 1 ½ cups water. Rinse the quinoa well. Drain. Bring 1 ½ cups water to boil in a small sauce pan. Stir in the quinoa and cover. Reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. It is OK for quinoa to be a bit al dente. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork and leave it until ready to proceed.
- Preheat oven to 425 and set out 2 large rimmed baking sheets.
- PREPARE VEGGIES: Wash and trim Brussels sprouts and then cut iInto halves. If you have any large Brussels sprouts, cut them iInto ⅓s. Wash and trim asparagus, then cut into 1 ½" pieces.
- On one baking tray, place brussels sprouts on one end, quinoa on the other. Drizzle everything with olive oil and then sprinkle with S+P. The second baking tray, place asparagus on one end and pistachios on the other. Drizzle olive oil over asparagus and then sprinkle with S+P.
- Roast the brussels sprouts + quinoa tray for 12 minutes, until sprout leaves are crispy and quinoa iIs crunchy. Roast the second tray for 8 minutes. Pistachios will initially seem a bit chewy, but as they sit out they will turn crunchy.
- While the veggies are roasting, MAKE THE DRESSING*: Place all ingredients in a tall container. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth. Alternately, use a food processor or blender.
- Wash and stack kale leaves, removing woody stems. Slice into thin (approximately ¼") strips. Place in a large bowl or on a platter. Sprinkle parsley on top of kale. Scoop veggies onto greens while still warm. Mix well, so the kale will slightly wilt the kale. Scatter crunchy quinoa on top of salad and then drizzle on ½ cup dressing. Toss and add more dressing if desired.