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Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing

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This healthy Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing is vegan, gluten-free, and so delicious, perfect for meal-prep and requires no reheating!

Rainbow Quinoa Salad
Rainbow Quinoa Salad

I’ve been making rainbow salads for my daughter Madison since she was very little. She frequently asks me to make them, so I always have a colorful assortment of vegetables on hand. I switch it up, sometimes with radishes in place of tomatoes or green olives in place of cucumbers. Honestly, I use whatever is in my fridge! Quinoa salads are the perfect lunch or a potluck side dish, and some of my other favorites are this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Avocado Quinoa Salad, and Quinoa Black Bean Salad.

Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing

What are the benefits of eating quinoa?

Though technically a seed, quinoa is a grain high in protein and fiber. It’s also a complete protein, meaning it has “all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own.“ One cup of cooked quinoa provides about eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber. It’s also rich in other nutrients, including magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese.

Do you eat quinoa salad cold or warm?

You eat this rainbow quinoa salad cold, which makes it perfect for making ahead since you don’t have to reheat it.

Quinoa Salad Ingredients

  • Quinoa: You’ll need four cups of cooked quinoa, which is about one and a third cups of uncooked quinoa.
  • Vegetables: Shredded brussels sprouts, red cabbage, and carrots, yellow bell peppers, mini cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes
  • Lemon Dressing: Lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and black pepper

How to Cook Quinoa for Salad

Properly cooking quinoa for salads is essential to avoid mushy quinoa. If you make it on the stove, use less water than the package recommends. For one cup of raw quinoa, use 1 ¾ cups of water or broth (not two cups which is what the instructions say). You can also make it in the Instant Pot if you prefer.

How to Make Quinoa Salad

  • Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Put a cup of quinoa in each of the four bowls, and top it with a quarter of the veggies in rainbow order, starting with purple and ending with red.
  • Pour the dressing over the salads and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.

How many days is quinoa salad good for?

Rainbow quinoa salad is good for up to five days in the refrigerator. Meal prep it in four two-cup containers and have it for lunches throughout the week.

Variations:

  • For extra protein, add some black beans or chickpeas. If you want to add meat, diced chicken breast or eggs would work.
  • Substitute red or tricolor quinoa.
  • Use green olives or jalapenos in place of cucumbers.
  • If you can’t find mini cucumbers, use a large English cucumber.
  • If you don’t mind your salad being short a rainbow color, red or orange bell pepper will work if you don’t have yellow.
  • Substitute grape tomatoes for cherry.
  • Save Time: Use the shredding disc on your food processor to quickly shred the brussels sprouts, cabbage, and carrots. You can also buy them pre-shredded from the supermarket.
  • Cheese: Top the quinoa salad with feta or goat cheese.
  • Herbs: Add fresh herbs, like basil or parsley.
  • Serve it to a crowd and mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. You can also easily double or triple the recipe.

rainbow of vegetables

Rainbow Quinoa Salad pouring Lemon Salad Dressingvegan quinoa salad

More Quinoa Recipes You’ll Love:

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Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing

4.60 from 5 votes
4
Cals:394
Protein:10.5
Carbs:51
Fat:17
Eat the rainbow! This healthy Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing is vegan, gluten-free, and so delicious, perfect for meal-prep and requires no reheating!
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper to taste

Salad

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa from about 1 1/3 cups
  • 1 cup shredded brussels sprouts
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded or thin sliced carrots
  • 1 cup yellow bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced mini cucumbers
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

Instructions

  • Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk well.
  • Add one cup quinoa in each bowl. Top with 1/4 cup of each of the vegetables in rainbow order starting with purple, ending in red.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad, adjust salt and pepper, as needed.

Last Step:

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Nutrition

Serving: 2 1/2 cups, Calories: 394 kcal, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Protein: 10.5 g, Fat: 17 g, Saturated Fat: 2.5 g, Sodium: 184 mg, Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 7 g

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6 comments on “Rainbow Quinoa Salad with Lemon Dressing”

  1. Avatar photo
    Cathie Collins

    This is a perfect easy lunch!! Getting extra veggies and a good source of protein. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Avatar photo
    Katie Chapman

    This quinoa salad is delicious! It was super quick and easy to make and I look forward to having it available for lunch the entire week! I used pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store, and then chopped up both a red and yellow bell pepper, some grape tomatoes and an english cucumber. Easy-peasy!

  3. We really enjoyed this! My spouse is on a low sodium diet so cut back the salt in the dressing to 1/8 tsp. Put a ton of cracked pepper on top of the entire salad and some his low sodium season to help with flavor. Also added chicken as he doesn’t feel like it’s a meal without a meat. We will definitely have this again!

  4. This was great! I added the recommended chickpeas to make this a full meal. This is going to be a meal prep staple.

  5. I love all the veggie options. My husband and I enjoyed that.  We both agreed that the lemon and oil dressing did not give much flavor.