Are you in search of a refreshing and satisfying dish that will tantalize your taste buds? Look no further than this delicious quinoa salad recipe. Perfect for lunch, dinner or even a snack, this salad combines a range of zesty and flavorful ingredients to create a mouth-watering experience that is both nutritious and easy to prepare.
This salad features a base of quinoa, a superfood that is high in protein and essential nutrients. The quinoa is then mixed with a medley of fresh and flavorful ingredients, including jalapenos, red onion, pistachios, pomegranate seeds, avocado, cilantro, and mint. All of these ingredients come together to create a texture and taste that is truly unique and memorable.
But what makes this recipe truly special is the citrus dressing that ties everything together. Featuring the fresh and zesty flavors of orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon, this dressing is the perfect complement to the bold flavors of the salad. With just the right amount of sweetness, this dressing is sure to please even the most discerning palates.
So if you're looking for a satisfying and healthy meal that will leave you feeling energized and refreshed, try this quinoa salad recipe with citrus dressing. It's the perfect choice for anyone looking to indulge in a delicious and nutritious meal that's easy to make and will leave you wanting more.
The base of the salad is quinoa, which provides a nutty and slightly chewy texture. Quinoa comes in a variety of colors including red, white, black, and tri-color/rainbow. For this recipe, I like to use white quinoa so all the bright colors of the other ingredient pop.
Do you have to rinse the Quinoa?
Yes. It's important to rinse quinoa before cooking to remove its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter and soapy. Skipping this step can result in a less enjoyable taste.
Ture-be-told half the time I feel rushed and skip this step, many times it is fine and I don't notice the difference- and then there are the times I kick myself when the quinoa taste bitter… “ I really couldn’t spare the 30 seconds with would have taken to rinse the quinoa?!?”
More Ingredients Notes:
- Jalapenos: The jalapenos add a bit of heat and a bright, slightly fruity flavor to the salad.
- Red Onion: Red onions contribute a sweet and tangy flavor and a crisp texture
- Pistachios: The pistachios add a satisfying crunch and a nutty flavor
- Pomegranate: Pomegranate seeds add a burst of sweetness and a juicy pop
- Avocado: The avocado provides a creamy and buttery texture and a mild, nutty flavor
- Cilantro and Mint: These fresh herbs add a bright and refreshing flavor and a delicate texture
- Citrus Dressing: The dressing is a tangy and sweet combination of orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon juice and zest, which provides a fresh and citrusy flavor to the salad. The olive oil, honey, and salt add a subtle richness and depth of flavor to the dressing. For more bright salad dressing ideas try Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette and Rosemary Vinaigrette.
Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and combine with the water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.
While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Seed and finely chop the jalapenos, chop the red onion, shell and chop the pistachios, remove the pomegranate seeds, dice the avocado, and chop the cilantro and mint.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, jalapenos, red onion, pistachios, pomegranate seeds, avocado, cilantro, and mint. Toss to combine.
In a separate bowl or jar, whisk together the orange juice and zest, grapefruit juice and zest, lime juice and zest, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, honey, and salt. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir until evenly coated.
Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature.
What to Serve with Zesty Quinoa Salad:
One of the great things about this quinoa salad recipe is its versatility. There are a number of ways to serve this salad that will make it a delicious and satisfying meal for any occasion.
- Lettuce Wraps: If you're looking for a light and refreshing lunch, try serving the salad as a lettuce wrap. Simply take a few large lettuce leaves and fill them with the quinoa salad mixture, then fold them over and enjoy. The crunch of the lettuce leaves adds a nice contrast to the soft and flavorful quinoa salad, making it the perfect option for a low-carb meal.
- Grain Bowl: For those who prefer a heartier meal, consider adding some chicken to the salad for a grain bowl. Cook up some chicken breast, shred it, and mix it in with the quinoa salad for a protein-packed meal that will keep you full and satisfied. This is a great option for a healthy and balanced lunch or dinner that is sure to hit the spot.
- With fish: this quinoa salad is also the perfect side dish for fish. The zesty flavors of the salad complement the light and flaky texture of fish perfectly, making it a great option for a healthy and delicious meal. Try serving the salad alongside some grilled or baked fish for a meal that is both satisfying and refreshing.
No matter how you choose to serve this quinoa salad, it's sure to be a hit. So whether you're looking for a light and refreshing lunch, a hearty grain bowl, or a delicious side dish for fish, give this quinoa salad recipe a try and discover just how versatile and delicious it can be.
Great Meal Prep Recipe
If you're looking for a convenient lunch option, consider meal-prepping quinoa salads. By dividing the salad into individual containers, you can enjoy it throughout the week without any additional effort. Lentil Quinoa Salad with Sundried Tomatoes and Lentil Salad with Feta and Pomegranate (Lettuce Wrap) are great meal prep salads that just seem to get better each day.
How to Store Zesty Quinoa Salad:
This salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. To store, transfer the salad to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to eat. The avocado may brown slightly over time, but it won't affect the flavor. Give the salad a quick toss before serving to redistribute the dressing.
This zesty quinoa salad is not only delicious but also packed with nutrition. Quinoa, jalapenos, red onion, pistachios, pomegranate seeds, avocado, cilantro, and mint all contribute to a healthy and satisfying meal. The citrus dressing provides a tangy and sweet flavor that ties everything together. This salad can be served as a main dish or a side dish and pairs well with grilled chicken, salmon, or roasted vegetables. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, making it a great option for meal prep. Try this zesty quinoa salad for your next meal and enjoy its flavorful and nutritious goodness!
For more make-head salad ideas that are great for meal prep and making ahead of time for bring to a party try Broccoli Rabe salad with White Bean With Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spicy Sesame Cucumber Salad, Spicy Udon Noodle Salad with Edamame and Cashews, and White Bean Salad with Shallots.
If you’ve tried this Zesty Quinoa Sala recipe or any other recipe on BalancingBowls, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more tasty meals and anything else I’m up to.
Zesty Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 2 jalapenos seeded and finely chopped
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup pistachios shelled and chopped
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 avocado diced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- Juice and zest of 1 orange
- Juice and zest of 1 grapefruit
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and combine with the water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, jalapenos, red onion, pistachios, pomegranate seeds, avocado, cilantro, and mint. Toss to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice and zest, grapefruit juice and zest, lime juice and zest, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, honey, and salt. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir until evenly coated.
- Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature.