High Protein Quinoa Salad » Joyful Dumplings

This High Protein Quinoa Salad is not just any salad; it’s a powerhouse of nutrients, all while being absolutely delicious. Quinoa is a super grain that’s been fueling people for over 5,000 years. Originating in the Andean region of South America, it was revered by the Incas as the “mother of all grains” and believed to increase the stamina of their warriors.

It’s easy, it’s tasty, and it’s got everything to make your mealtime a little bit more special. Can’t wait for you to try it out and fall in love with it just like I did! 

Fast forward to today, and it’s the star of this salad that’s not just any bowl of greens. It’s a colorful mix of quinoa, crunchy veggies, and a dressing that’ll make you want to lick the bowl clean. Plus, those toasted cashews on top? Chef’s kiss! 

  • With ingredients like edamame and red bell pepper, it’s bursting with nutrients.
  • Just pop it in an airtight container, and you’ve got your meal prep sorted for days.
  • The combination of fresh herbs, olive oil, and a tangy lime vinaigrette makes every bite a delight.
  • Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just looking for a plant-based protein boost, this salad’s got you covered.
  • It’s a social butterfly’s dream. Whip it up in minutes for your next gathering, toss it in a large bowl, and watch it disappear!
  • This salad stands tall as a meal in itself. Whether it’s lunch, dinner, or a quick meal prep solution, it’s ready to fill you up without weighing you down.

 For 2 people

  • 3/4 cup Quinoa cooked. Chilled
  • 1/4 cup Red cabbage, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp Edamame 
  • 1/3 cup Red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Radishes, finely diced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp Carrots , finely diced
  • 2 sprigs Parsley, stem removed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Toasted cashews, roughly chopped

Salad Dressings:

  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Lime juice (or lemon juice) 
  • 1 tbsp Peanut butter (or you can use almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp Minced ginger 
  • 1/2 tsp Minced garlic 
  •  Salt and pepper to taste

1.   In a small bowl, mix the sauce, minced ginger, minced garlic, all of the peanut butter, onion, vegetable oil, and lime juice. Mix well and set aside.

2.   In a second bowl, add cooked quinoa, and finely chopped vegetables. Stir and mix well.

3.   Add salad dressing, stir until everything is coated.

4.   When serving, sprinkle with chopped cashews and parsley, add salt and pepper and adjust to your liking.  

🥗 Chickpeas, lentils, grilled tofu, or tempeh – Aside from quinoa, toss in some chickpeas or lentils for an extra protein kick. Grilled tofu or tempeh can be fantastic plant-based protein additions that make the salad even more filling.

🥗 Cucumber, cherry tomatoes, or red onion  Feel free to play around with the veggies. Not a fan of radishes? How about cucumber slices for that extra crunch? Or throw in some cherry tomatoes and red onion for a burst of fresh, flavorful goodness.

🥗 Kale or arugula – While this salad is packed with veggies, adding kale or arugula can amp up the nutrient content and introduce a nice, peppery taste.

🥗 Walnuts or almonds – Toasted cashews add a lovely crunch and nuttiness, but don’t hesitate to substitute with walnuts or almonds if you prefer. They’re all about adding that nutritious, crunchy texture.

🥗 Red pepper flakes or dijon mustard – A sprinkle of red pepper flakes or dijon mustard in the dressing can introduce a spicy, tangy kick that makes each bite even more exciting.

🥗 Diced mango or apple – For a sweet contrast, consider adding diced mango or apple. The sweetness pairs wonderfully with the veggies and tangy dressing

🥗 Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds – If you’re looking for a nut-free option, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds are fantastic for adding crunch without the nuts. They’re a great way to keep the salad allergen friendly.

  1. Cool Before Storing: If your quinoa was cooked fresh for the salad, ensure it’s cooled to room temperature before mixing with other ingredients and storing. This prevents condensation inside the container, which can make the salad soggy.
  2. Use Airtight Containers: Transfer the salad to airtight containers to keep it fresh. Glass containers are preferred as they don’t retain odors or flavors from previous meals and can go straight from the fridge to the table.
  3. Separate Dressing: If possible, store the dressing separately from the salad to prevent the quinoa and vegetables from becoming mushy. Drizzle and mix the dressing in just before serving.
  4. Refrigerate Promptly: Place the salad in the refrigerator as soon as it’s cooled and prepared. Quinoa salad can last in the fridge for 3-5 days when stored properly.
  5. Avoid Freezing: Freezing is not recommended for quinoa salad, especially if it contains fresh vegetables and a dressing. The freezing and thawing process can significantly alter the texture and flavor.
  6. Label Your Containers: It’s a good practice to label your containers with the date the salad was made. This helps keep track of how long it’s been stored and ensures you enjoy it while it’s best.
  7. Consider Ingredients: If your salad includes ingredients that wilt or spoil quickly (like avocado or certain leafy greens), consider adding those fresh just before serving rather than mixing them in if you don’t plan to eat the salad immediately.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CAN I USE A DIFFERENT GRAIN INSTEAD OF QUINOA?

Absolutely! If you’re out of quinoa or just want to try something new, farro or couscous are fantastic substitutes. They offer a similar nutritious punch and work well with the other ingredients. Just remember to rinse and cook them according to their package instructions to get the best texture.

IS THIS SALAD SUITABLE FOR MEAL PREP?

Yes, this salad is perfect for meal prep! Prepare the quinoa in advance and cool it before mixing with the other ingredients. Store the salad in a mason jar or an airtight container in the fridge. It stays fresh and delicious for up to a week, making your weeknight dinners a breeze. For the best taste, add leafy greens like cilantro or kale fresh before serving if possible.

CAN I OMIT OR SUBSTITUTE ANY OF THE VEGGIES?

Definitely! This recipe is all about flexibility. Feel free to omit any veggies you’re not fond of or replace them with what you have on hand. Love cucumber or cherry tomatoes? Throw them in! A fan of onion? Add green or red onion. This salad is the perfect canvas for your favorite fresh vegetables.

HOW DO I KEEP THE SALAD FROM BECOMING MUSHY?

To prevent your salad from becoming mushy, especially if you’re meal prepping for the week, keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to eat. Also, make sure to cool the quinoa completely before mixing it with the other ingredients. Store the salad in an airtight container and give it a good mix or shake (if in a jar) after adding the dressing right before you dig in.\

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO SERVE THIS SALAD FOR A GATHERING?

For a potluck or gathering, this salad shines as a vibrant, healthy meal option. Serve it in a large bowl with a serving spoon, allowing guests to help themselves. Consider setting aside a small bowl of extra dressing for those who might want to taste and adjust the flavor to their liking. It’s a dish that’s sure to be a hit, packed with flavorful, nutritious ingredients that everyone will love.

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