With simple ingredients and loads of flavor, this quinoa arugula salad is the perfect dish for a healthy meal. This salad is delicious and nutritious with fresh veggies, protein-packed quinoa, and a tangy red wine vinaigrette.
This healthy salad is filling and full of protein, making it great for a main dish or a delightful side salad. It can be prepped almost entirely ahead of time, making it great for meal prep or hosting.
One of my favorite ways to get a lot of veggies in my diet is with a big salad. There’s just something about a good salad that makes you forget you’re eating healthy! I’m a firm believer that anyone can love salad if they find the right recipe.
The best salads have cheese, nuts, and other fun toppings that add different flavors and textures. I had that in mind when I made this tasty salad with salty feta cheese and crunchy, nutty toasted almonds.
Why You’ll Love This Salad
Healthy: Loaded with veggies and packed with protein from the quinoa and almonds, this salad is as nutritious as it is tasty.
Filling: Unlike many green salads, this one adds some protein to the meal and is quite satiating. It makes a great side dish for a dinner or a light but filling lunch.
Great for meal prep: This salad stores very well when it’s done properly, so you can have a quick meal ready to go.
Arugula: Arugula is so good for you and gives this salad a bit of its signature peppery flavor. We are using it as the base of this salad because it compliments the flavors of the other ingredients perfectly.
Quinoa: This popular superfood adds protein and a unique texture to this salad. You can use white quinoa, black quinoa, tri-color quinoa, or red quinoa.
Cucumber: Fresh, crunchy cucumbers make for a delicious, refreshing salad.
Cherry tomatoes: One of the greatest delights of summer, we will be adding loads of delicious tomatoes to this salad for a pop of flavor.
Red onion: Thinly sliced red onion makes most dishes better and this is no exception!
Feta cheese: Feta adds a salty, savory flavor to this well-balanced salad. Feel free to try it with parmesan, blue cheese, or goat cheese instead.
Toasted Almonds: You can toast your own almond slices or buy pre-toasted. You definitely don’t want to substitute for raw almonds; the toasted gives it a rich, nutty flavor and nice crunch
The Best Way to Cook Quinoa
As I learned my first time making it, quinoa can be quite bitter if it is not made properly. Here’s how to make delicious quinoa that is not bitter:
Recipe (makes 2 cups cooked quinoa)
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
- Wash your uncooked quinoa well: Rinse the quinoa under cold water for a couple of minutes, until the water runs clear.
- Put the quinoa in the pan without any water: heat the pan on medium heat and stir your quinoa regularly. First, you’ll hear the water simmering off from when you rinsed it. Once the water burns off, you’ll need to stir the quinoa a lot and watch it closely to prevent it from burning.
- Toast the quinoa: Continue stirring the quinoa in the hot pan for a few minutes after the water has burned off.
- Add your water and cook: Pour in fresh, cold water (or vegetable broth) and cover the pan. Turn the stove up to high heat and bring the water to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and bring the water to a gentle simmer. If the
- Continue simmering the quinoa, covered, for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed. Avoid checking it as much as you can in the first 10 minutes, then check regularly to ensure the water doesn’t boil off and burn the quinoa.
- Remove from the heat: Take the pan off the heat and allow your quinoa to sit with the lid on for an additional 5 minutes.
- Fluff it with a fork: Give the quinoa a good stir with a fork to fluff it up and keep it from getting sticky.
I like to make a big batch of quinoa at the beginning of the week and use it in this salad, grain bowls, homemade veggie burgers, and more.
How to Toast Almonds at Home
If you can’t find toasted almonds at the grocery store or you simply prefer to do it yourself, toasting your own almonds is very easy, as long as you are attentive. Here’s how to do it:
- Put raw, sliced almonds into a skillet in a single layer without any oil..
- Turn the stove on medium-low heat.
- The almonds will take a few minutes to warm up, but once they do they will toast rather quickly. Watch them closely and stir regularly to prevent burning.
- Once the almonds are golden brown, remove them from the heat. Allow them to cool before tossing in salad.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is quinoa salad served warm or cold?
Quinoa salads can be warm or cold, but this recipe is best served cold. With the crisp cucumbers and baby arugula, this dish is a delicious cold quinoa salad. Warm quinoa salads are typically made with roasted vegetables and warm meat or tofu.
What can I serve with quinoa arugula salad?
Serve it with your favorite protein, such as grilled chicken, salmon, hard-boiled eggs, or tofu. Quinoa arugula salad is delicious in any meal with which you would normally serve a side salad.
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
This quinoa arugula salad is an easy meal-prep dish, but we will change a few things to keep it from getting soggy. I’ve found the best way to make this salad ahead of time is to make it as the recipe states, but omit the arugula, avocado, and almonds. When it’s time to serve, add the arugula, almonds, and a bit more dressing and give it a quick toss before serving. Store your salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can I make this salad vegan?
Yes! For a vegan quinoa salad, simply omit the feta cheese or substitute vegan feta.
How do I make this salad in a mason jar?
You can make this quinoa arugula salad in a mason jar for an on-the-go meal prep lunch. Simply assemble your salad in a mason jar following this order from bottom to top: salad dressing, cucumbers, onion, cherry tomatoes, feta, then arugula. I recommend keeping the almonds and avocado on the side until you’re ready to eat the salad.