Quinoa Spinach Salad is a simple, protein-packed, refreshing salad. Made with quinoa, spinach, tender green beans, and a fresh lemon dressing, this simple vegan salad is light, healthy, and easy to prepare.
Quinoa salad comes together in less about 30 minutes and is packed full of nutrients, making this a meatless, yet high-protein option, perfect for a quick lunch or a light dinner. Just like Chickpea Salad and Tabbouli Salad, this is the kind of meal that won't weigh you down, but packs in a ton of flavor!
When it comes to my lunch, I often opt for a hearty meatless salad.
This Spinach Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite go-to's. Not only is flavorful and healthy, but it is also easy to prepare. And the flavors get better as it sits, which makes this a great recipe to prep on the weekend and enjoy for quick lunches during the week.
In fact, this salad proves that eating healthy is delicious and possible even despite a busy schedule.
- Quinoa: Use any variety of quinoa you like. I personally prefer to cook my quinoa in the Instant Pot, as it comes together in minutes, but you can easily prepare on the stove as well. If you don't care for quinoa, feel free to use rice or orzo as the base for this salad.
- Spinach: Spinach is typically my go-to for this salad, as it is easy to find, and affordable. But arugula or other green lettuces also work well.
- Green Beans: I love the texture that crisp fresh green beans add to this salad. They are a great contrast to the tender spinach and soft quinoa. I cook them with the quinoa, which allows them to get just tender, but you can steam them in the microwave, or blanch them if you want to keep the beans super crisp. In fact, you can even leave them raw if desired.
- Lemon Dressing: The dressing is a super simple combination of lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, capers, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It is bright, fresh, and pairs well with the delicate vegetables in this salad. Capers add a salty bite to dressing, but by all means, omit them if you do not care for the flavor or texture. You can also opt to blend the ingredients for the lemon dressing in a blender. This will give you amazing flavor without biting into a whole caper.
I also add in roasted red peppers and diced cucumbers to this salad for additional flavor and crunch. Grape tomatoes, olives, fresh peppers, artichoke hearts, or even feta if you are not dairy-free are all great additions to this quinoa salad.
How to Make Spinach Quinoa Salad
- Prepare quinoa.
- Steam Green Beans.
- Whisk together the lemon dressing.
- Toss everything together and refrigerate.
More Quinoa Recipes
- Greek Quinoa Salad
- Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Mozzarella and Tomato Quinoa Bake
- Veggie Packed Quinoa Burgers
Quinoa Spinach Salad
For Cooking Quinoa
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 cups fresh green beans trimmed into 2 inch pieces
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 English cucumber diced into half moons
- ¼ cup roasted red peppers diced
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preparing on the stove: Bring 2 cups stock, quinoa, ½ teaspoon salt, oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed liquid.
- Preparing in the Instant Pot: Place 1 cup of stock, quinoa, ½ teaspoon salt, oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes in the Instant Pot. Place lid on the pressure cooker, be sure vent is sealed. Set cook time to 1 minute on high pressure. Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release of pressure.
Prepare Green Beans
- Place fresh green beans in a microwave-safe bowl and add in ¼ cup water. Microwave for 4 minutes or until beans are just tender. You can blanch green beans by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add in green beans and boil for 1-2 minutes and then immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Allow beans to cool and then drain off water and pat dry before adding to the salad.
Prepare Quinoa Salad
- In small bowl, combine the juice and zest of a lemon with 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, capers, and olive oil.
- Toss the cooked quinoa, steamed green beans, spinach, cucumbers, roasted peppers, and lemon dressing together.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to eat.
- In place of spinach, arugula or other tender greens can be used.
- Feel free to use cooked rice or orzo in place of the cooked quinoa.
- If you like really spicy foods, increase the red pepper flakes to ½ teaspoon.
- If the texture of capers is off-putting to you, blend your dressing instead of just whisking together. This will break down the capers and give the dressing amazing flavor without the concern of biting into a whole caper.
- The salad can be eaten immediately, but is best after several hours of refrigeration to let the flavors marry together.
- This salad can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
This post was originally published in April 2016 but has been updated with new pictures and tips in March 2020.