Powerhouse Quinoa Salad – This meal prep quinoa salad is PACKED with superfood nutrients and flavor. It’s the perfect healthy meal prep lunch! (Gluten-free + vegan)
Originally posted May 2012. Post and photos updated + video added Sept. 2017. Post contains affiliate links which never ever change any price you pay for a product.
I talked about this a bit in my meal planning post, but one of the easiest ways I know to eat well is to have a few things pre-made (or the components prepped) ahead of time. I don’t hit every breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack throughout the week with meal prep, but I’ve found that picking just a few things to focus on frees up time and energy for other work during the week.
I often work on prepping my breakfasts and lunches. This might mean cutting up veggies for salad fixings or making a yummy dip that I can use with veggies or to make wraps or sandwiches.
One of my FAVORITE things to have on hand is an awesome quinoa salad. They store like a dream and are substantial enough to keep me full and satisfied. This powerhouse quinoa salad is no exception. It truly is a nutrient powerhouse–packed with nutrient-dense superfoods and plenty of goodies to keep me going! Plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan, to boot!
I cook a simple batch of quinoa (this is my favorite way to cook quinoa), then just start adding goodies. This one has kind of a fall slant, with a few kinds of apples and that cozy dressing to tie things together. For extra color, you can use red quinoa or tri-color quinoa. I used white this time. They’re all whole grain and absolutely delicious. In this powerhouse quinoa salad, you’ll be looking at goodies like:
- and a DYNAMITE dressing
The texture contrast here is amazing. The quinoa is tender and light, the nuts nice and toasty, the apples and celery fresh and crisp, and all that goodness is brought together by a little balsamic dressing. It makes for a hearty, satisfying lunch or light dinner or a terrific side dish for potlucks and parties. Plus, you can see from the notes section, there are SO many ways to change it up!
TIPS & TRICKS FOR THIS POWERHOUSE QUINOA SALAD:
DON’T KNOW HOW TO COOK QUINOA? This is my go-to method. It’s SUPER easy and gives you perfectly cooked, fluffy quinoa every single time.
ADD A LITTLE PROTEIN (VEGGIE OR NOT). This is a really flexible salad, so you can absolutely stir in some cooked chicken or crumbled bacon (obviously not vegan/vegetarian), a drained and rinsed can of white beans, or even a little cheese if you like. (Before we went dairy-free, I loved using a little cotija or feta cheese.)
HOW TO STORE IT. If you’re making this powerhouse quinoa salad ahead of time, it’ll keep fully assembled for about 3-4 days. The apples and spinach will start to lose a little texture after that. To prevent this, you can make them mason jar style, where you pour dressing into the bottom of the jar, then the apples/celery, quinoa, greens, cranberries, and nuts.
LOVE THAT DRESSING? I love the dressing in this powerhouse quinoa salad. It’s got so much flavor and really complements the other flavors of the salad. This is just enough dressing to coat the salad without being soggy. If you like more dressing, feel free to double the dressing!
MORE QUINOA SALADS TO LOVE…
- Confetti Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
- My Big Fat Greek Quinoa Salad
- Spring Roll Quinoa Salad
- Sun-Dried Tomato Quinoa
- Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad