Quinoa Spinach Salad is a simple, protein-packed, refreshing salad, made with quinoa, spinach, and a light and bright lemon dressing.
This simple recipe for quinoa salad starts off with fluffy, stovetop or Instant Pot Quinoa and then is dressed simply to create a protein-packed, healthy entree.
Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that is packed with fiber, protein, and vitamins. It is truly a powerhouse of nutrition.
But on its own, quinoa can be rather bland and lacking in flavor. However, when dressed appropriately, quinoa can be quite delicious and shines in salads like Greek Quinoa Salad, Mexican Quinoa Salad, and this Spinach Quinoa Salad.
why you'll love this recipe
- Quick-Prep. This Spinach Quinoa salad comes together in less than 30 minutes
- High-Protein. Quinoa is super high in protein, making this meatless salad, filling and satisfying.
- Allergy-Friendly. Dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, and vegan-friendly, Spinach Quinoa salad is suited for a variety of dietary restrictions or preferences.
- Perfect for Meal Prep. The flavor of this quinoa salad gets better as it sits, which makes this a great recipe to prep on the weekend and enjoy for quick lunches during the week.
Notes on Ingredients
- Quinoa: Use any variety (white, red, a mix) of quinoa you like. 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 also is a delicious alternative to spinach.
- Green Beans: I love the texture that crisp fresh green beans add to this salad. They are a great contrast to tender spinach and soft quinoa.
- Lemon Dressing: The dressing is a super simple combination of lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It is bright, and fresh, and pairs well with the delicate vegetables in this salad.
- Additional Options: I love adding 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 as well.
How to Make Spinach Quinoa Salad
- Step One: Prepare Quinoa. I personally prefer to cook quinoa in the Instant Pot, as it comes together in minutes, but you can easily prepare it on the stove as well, using the directions on the package of your quinoa or provided in the recipe card. Once the quinoa has cooked, fluff it with a fork and set it to the side to cool slightly.
- Step Two: Prepare Green Beans. You can steam or blanch fresh green beans or microwave your frozen green beans. You just want to cook them enough to remove the raw taste, yet still keep them crisp-tender.
- Step Four: Assemble Salad. Toss the cooked quinoa, steamed green beans, spinach, cucumbers, roasted peppers, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt until everything is well combined.
- Step Five: Chill. It is best to refrigerate the Spinach Quinoa Salad for at least 30 minutes to allow the quinoa time to absorb the flavors.
- Change Out The Dressing. This recipe is simply dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. You can add more dimension by using Italian Dressing or Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Vary the Vegetables. Use arugula in place of spinach. Add grape tomatoes in place or in addition to the roasted red peppers. I also love adding leftover roasted vegetables to this simple quinoa salad.
- Serve as a Wrap. Instead of serving this spinach quinoa as a salad, wrap it up in a spinach or flour tortilla with sliced tomatoes and avocado for a hearty, vegan-friendly hand-held lunch.
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If you tried this quinoa salad, I would love for you to leave a review and comment below.
Quinoa Spinach Salad
For Cooking Quinoa
- 1-2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth see directions for the amount needed
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed well
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 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 large lemon juice and zest
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
How to Cook Quinoa
- Preparing on the stove: Bring 2 cups of broth, quinoa, and ½ teaspoon salt, to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed liquid. Once cooked, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool to room temperature.
- Preparing Quinoa in the Instant Pot: Place 1 cup of broth, quinoa, and ½ teaspoon salt in the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the pressure cooker, and be sure the lid is sealed. Set cook time to 1 minute on high pressure. Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes. Once pressure has been released, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool to room temperature.
How to 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. Alternatively, blanch green beans by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the 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.
- Toss the cooked quinoa with the zest of a lemon, the juice of the lemon, olive oil, and salt. Add in the green beans, spinach, cucumbers, and roasted peppers, and toss to coat.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.