If you’re a quinoa lover, there’s no doubt you’ll love this healthy quinoa salad recipe. It has crispy, savory bacon, sweet carrots, creamy avocado, crunchy walnuts, and tangy lemon dressing. It’s a bomb of flavor and texture.
What Is Quinoa Salad Made Of?
You can put any ingredients you like in your quinoa salad. For today’s recipe, we’re keeping it simple with just a few ingredients:
- Quinoa: we use tri-color quinoa but you can pick any color you like. Take a ½ cup of uncooked quinoa, rinse it under running water, and drain it well before putting it in a pot, along with 1 cup of water (no need to add salt). Then bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. When the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, cover the pot and turn off the heat, leaving it to steam for 5 minutes. Then let it cool completely before proceeding to mix together the salad.
- Vegetables: we wanted to add more flavors and textures into our salad. We chose carrots, broccoli, and green peas because of their sweet tastes and crunchy textures. You can add other veggies like celery or red onions if you want something pungent, or bell peppers to add more color to your salad.
- Nuts: we use walnuts but feel free to use your favorite— almonds, cashews, and pecans also work wonderfully in this recipe.
- Bacon: this one is optional. If you’re vegan, you can switch it out with vegan bacon or crispy fried tofu.
- Avocado: these tropical fruits have a soft and creamy texture that goes surprisingly well with the crunchy veggies and crispy bacon. And they’re also packed with good nutrition.
- The dressing: since the salad already has so many complex textures, you only need a simple dressing to finish it off. Our dressing contains lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Is Quinoa Salad Healthy?
Although the ingredients in this quinoa salad recipe are simple, they can be super nutritious, thus making this a healthy salad. While quinoa is the crucial ingredient and very nutritious in its own right, you may be surprised at how amazing the others are as well.
It is an undeniable fact that walnuts not only taste great, but are also an abundant source of healthy nutrients. These tree nuts, for instance, contain a high amount of important phytochemicals and polyunsaturated fats which are beneficial in balancing mood and maintaining brain health.
Like all other nuts, walnuts also supply a wide range of vitamins and minerals, such as copper, iron, calcium, zinc, folic acid, vitamin E, B6, etc. Together with several unique antioxidants, these powerful properties will help strengthen your innate immune system and prevent certain cancers.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, popularly known for its beneficial health effects. The soluble fiber found in both broccoli and quinoa may help reduce bad cholesterol levels within the body. Interestingly, antioxidants in broccoli may support treatments for type 2 diabetic patients by improving insulin resistance.
Carrots and many other deep orange-colored produce items have also been proven to have a great ability to improve eyesight problems, such as night blindness. This is because those foods are mostly rich in Vitamin A converted by beta-carotene. This nutrient is also believed to be helpful in promoting skin health.
So much flavor, so much nutrition— let’s get on with making it!
Quinoa Salad Recipe
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 3/4 cups cooked quinoa from 1/2 cup uncooked
- 3/4 cup carrots diced
- 3.2 oz broccoli chopped, steamed for 5 minutes (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
- 1/4 cup frozen peas thawed
- 1 oz baked bacon finely chopped
- 2.5 oz avocado peeled, seed removed, sliced (about 1/4 medium-sized avocado)
- Make the dressing: in a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk vigorously with a fork to emulsify the oil and lemon juice.
- In a large bowl, add cooked quinoa, carrots, broccoli, walnuts, peas, and baked bacon.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Mix thoroughly so that the dressing coats every ingredient.
- Transfer to a plate. Arrange sliced avocado on top and serve.