20-minute Vegetable Quinoa Salad made with fresh vegetables, chickpeas, quinoa, and balsamic dressing. Vegan quinoa salad is the perfect weekday lunch, picnic side, or potluck salad all year long.
Why we love this quinoa salad
When you need simple, budget-friendly ingredients to go the distance in one effort, this salad does exactly that. This healthy, 20-minute quinoa salad beats any packaged salad by way of flavor, texture, nutrition, and cost – and doesn't require special tools or knowledge.
Whether you're making quinoa salad for a week of lunches, a potluck, or summer picnic, it fits every occasion and is approved for most restricted diets. It can be made days in advance too, so it's perfect for meal prep!
This quinoa salad recipe uses simple pantry ingredients and always-available grocery store produce. During summer, you can use vegetables right from your garden or farmers market.
For the salad
- quinoa - Cook quinoa from scratch using stove method or make Instant Pot quinoa.
- chickpeas - Use canned chickpeas for ultra convenience or make Instant Pot chickpeas for a budget-friendly option.
- carrots - Use baby carrots or whole carrots.
- bell pepper - Use red, green, orange, or yellow bell peppers – or a combination.
- cucumber - Any cucumber variety works for this recipe.
- sweet corn - Use fresh or frozen corn (if thawed).
- red cabbage - Green cabbage is just as tasty!
- cherry tomatoes - Or preferred tomato variety can be used.
- red onion - White, yellow, or green onions can be used too.
- parsley - Any fresh herbs like dill, basil, or oregano are delicious in this recipe.
For the dressing
- white balsamic vinegar - Any vinegar can be used for the salad dressing.
- Dijon - Or other mustard variety.
- maple syrup - Or honey, agave syrup, or date syrup.
- extra virgin olive oil - Or avocado oil.
- salt and pepper - Add to taste.
How to make quinoa veggie salad
At any point during this recipe, you can cover and refrigerate any components (quinoa, beans, vegetables, or dressing) until ready to serve.
First, cook quinoa using the stove method (instructions below) or make Instant Pot quinoa the hands-free way. Cool quinoa to room temperature.
Prepare salad ingredients (chop, shred, etc) and place in a bowl. At this point, you can add this recipe to your Buddha bowl collection because it certainly resembles one.
Make the dressing by combining vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon. Whisk in olive oil until the dressing becomes creamy. Season with SALT and PEPPER.
Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
Serve and devour!
Quinoa salad tips and variations
Cooled quinoa is key for this salad. If cooking the same day, make sure it cools completely if before adding it to the other ingredients.
Use any combination of vegetables. There are no rules, so add your favorites! You can even use roasted vegetables in place of fresh veggies.
Try serving vegan quinoa salad over leafy greens such as arugula, spring mix, red leaf lettuce, romaine, or kale for added nutrition.
Quinoa salad stays optimal for 5 days, even once it's dressed – as long as it stays refrigerated in an airtight container. Note: adding salad greens will shorten the storage span, so I recommend only doing so when serving.
To meal prep this recipe, prepare the salad components but don't add dressing yet. Instead, portion the salad and dressing separately into containers and refrigerate. To serve, add dressing, toss to combine, and devour!
I recommend serving quinoa salad cold or at least slightly chilled to enjoy the benefit of the fresh, raw vegetables. If using roasted vegetables, you can enjoy it warm.
Quinoa is often considered a smarter choice than rice because it has more protein, fewer carbohydrates, and fewer calories.
Cooked quinoa will easily last five days when refrigerated in an airtight container, which is what makes this salad so convenient for meal prep.
Quinoa by itself can be frozen, but I do not recommend freezing quinoa salad because the fresh ingredients, once thawed, will become watery and mushy.
Try these other quinoa recipes
- Asian Slaw with Quinoa
- Zucchini Quinoa Fritters
- Veggie Quinoa Banh Mi Bowl
- Zucchini Noodle Quinoa Bowl
- Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili
Vegetable Quinoa Salad
- ½ cup Dried Quinoa, or 2 cups cooked quinoa
- ⅛ teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 ½ cups Cooked Chickpeas, or 1 (15 ounce can) drained
- 1 medium Carrot, shredded (1 cup)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced (1 cup)
- ½ large Cucumber, diced (1 cup)
- 1 cup Sweet Corn, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup Red Cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, chopped
- ½ small Red Onion, diced (½ cup)
- ½ cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
- Cook QUINOA according to package instructions along with SALT.
- Allow to cool completely, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, combine COOKED QUINOA, CHICKPEAS, CARROTS, BELL PEPPER, CUCUMBER, CORN, CABBAGE, TOMATOES, ONION, and PARSLEY. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Make the dressing In a separate mixing bowl by whisking together VINEGAR, DIJON, and MAPLE SYRUP.
- Slowly drizzle in OLIVE OIL and whisk until creamy. Add SALT and PEPPER to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve, add dressing to salad and toss to combine.
- Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.