This healthy quinoa salad recipe was a delicious last minute creation that I threw together after a haphazard inventory of my pantry. I had fresh spinach and wanted to use it for something other than green smoothies. I had a container of quinoa so I headed to Pinterest to find some quinoa salad recipes. Since I didn’t have any of the other ingredients of the quinoa recipes asked for, I decided a little improvisation was needed. Toss in some fresh spinach, dried apricots and pecans and lo and behold! A new healthy salad recipe has been added to my monthly menu rotation!
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How to Cook Quinoa on the Stove Top
Cooking quinoa on the stove is incredibly easy. Make up a batch on the weekend and then just toss together the ingredients for this quinoa salad right before you serve it. To cook dried quinoa, bring water or stock to a boil over high heat. Add quinoa and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Cover your pot and simmer until the quinoa absorbs all of the liquid and is tender (about 15 to 20 minutes). If the quinoa still looks wet, continue to cook it, checking every 5 minutes until it is mostly dry.
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How do you know when quinoa is done cooking? I find that mine tends to cook quickly if I have the burner on too high. When is quinoa done cooking? You’ll know when the quinoa is cooked because it will look like it has popped open, revealing the germ of the kernel. Then, it is perfect for whichever healthy quinoa salad recipe you choose to use it in!
Ways To Make Quinoa Taste Better
- Cook it in vegetable or chicken broth.
- Add herbs such as thyme, basil, or oregano.
- Toast it in oil for a minute or two before you boil it.
- Add tiny chopped up pieces of garlic or onion.
Is Quinoa Salad Eaten Cold?
The temperature of you quinoa salad recipe is really up to you. My family isn’t a huge fan of chilled savory salads. They would much prefer the temperature to be warm, or at least room temperature. If you want this to be a cold quinoa salad, let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before you serve it.
Want more healthy salad recipes? Try these:
- Shrimp Avocado Salad Recipe with Cajun Lime Dressing
- Chili and Lime Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado and Chicken
- Cold Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe with a Rainbow of Veggies
Best Nuts to Include in Salads
Add any nut you want but slivered almonds, chopped pecans, or walnuts would all work fine for this recipe. Which nuts work best in salads? Both nuts AND seeds go well in fresh salads. You can use pistachios, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, peanuts and chia seeds. They are all highly nutritious salad toppings.
Tips for Making Quinoa Salads
This healthy quinoa salad recipe is completely flexible, based on the contents of your own pantry and fridge. Choose a dark green, leafy veggie. Kale, spinach and Swiss chard are good choices. Then, choose a dried fruit. Or a fresh fruit. Some examples are chopped apples, raisins, dried cranberries, fresh cherries, etc.
It seems like most major grocery stores sell quinoa now but if your selection is limited, then shop on Amazon. They have a great selection of red, white, black and multicolored quinoa available. Buy organic quinoa if possible. If you have left over quinoa, you can make my Asian Quinoa Recipe with Broccoli and Tofu. It can also be used for breakfast recipes or a healthy side dish .
Now you have a dozen variations of this incredibly healthy quinoa salad recipe! Check out my post about cooking with quinoa and pick some up next time you are at the grocery store.
Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipe with Spinach and Apricots
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (divided)
- 3 to 4 TBSP olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- 3 to 4 cups fresh baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse and cook quinoa according to package directions. Use 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups veggie stock. Reserve the remaining 1/2 cup veggie stock for later.
- In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the fresh spinach, juice of 1/2 a lemon, and the remaining 1/2 cup stock. Put lid over the pan and cook until the spinach is wilted.
- Add the nuts and dried apricots and stir 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in the cooked quinoa and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix thoroughly and enjoy!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 498Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 404mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 6gSugar: 18gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information is not always accurate
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.