Zesty Quinoa Salad — Fast, easy, and fresh! Bright flavors and loads of texture! This clean-eating salad keeps you full and satisfied! Healthy never tasted so good!! (No mayo and great for outdoor events or lunch boxes!)
Zesty Quinoa Salad Recipe
I can’t believe something so healthy tastes so good. I’m normally indifferent to quinoa. I mean, it’s quinoa and usually not too earth-shattering. But I couldn’t stop eating this.
It’s a fast, easy dish that’s ready in 20 minutes and packed with big flavors and so much texture. It happens to be accidentally vegan, gluten-free, with no added sugar, and very little oil or salt.
There’s sweet yellow onion to boost the flavor, chewy and slightly sweet sun-dried tomatoes, Fisher Natural Sliced Almonds for a satisfying crunch, and parsley to add color and a mild herb flavor.
Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon zest really brighten up the dish up and beautifully complement the sun-dried tomatoes. I use dry rather than oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes to keep things healthier.
What’s in Zesty Quinoa Salad?
To make this accidentally vegan quinoa salad, you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Apple cider vinegar
- Lemon juice and zest
- Salt and pepper
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Fresh parsley
- Fisher Natural Sliced Almonds
How to Make Easy Quinoa Salad
Cook the onion in an oiled skillet until it softens. Add the dry quinoa to the skillet and toast for about 30 seconds before adding in the water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Let the quinoa cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large bowl and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, almonds, and lemon zest. Enjoy!
Can I Prep Zesty Quinoa Salad in Advance?
Yes! This quinoa and sun dried tomato salad can be served warm and immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavors develop over time and tastes better a day or two after making it, and can either be served warm or cold.
Can I Add Other Veggies?
I’m sure you can, but keep in mind that the more veggies you add to this cold quinoa salad, the more dressing you’ll need.
Tips for the Best Quinoa Salad
I use tri-colored quinoa and while I don’t think it tastes much different than white quinoa, I like the added color but use your favorite.
The salad is great right away but it’s a perfect make-ahead recipe because the flavors develop over time and I think it tastes better a day or two after making it.
You can either serve this vegan quinoa salad warm or cold, and since there’s no mayo it’s a great salad for lunch boxes, picnics, potlucks, and parties.
Pin This Recipe
Lemon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Almond Quinoa Salad
Bright flavors and loads of texture! This zesty quinoa salad keeps you full and satisfied! Healthy never tasted so good!!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- extra-large yellow onion, peeled and diced small
- 1 cup quinoa (I use tri-colored)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (zest the lemon before juicing it)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 3 ounces), sliced thinly (I use dry rather than oil-packed but oil-packed may be drained and substituted)
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup Fisher Natural Sliced Almonds
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste
- To a large skillet or saucepan, add the olive oil, onions, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened and just begun to barely brown, about 7 minutes.
- Add the quinoa and stir it into the onions and let it toast for about 30 seconds.
- Add the water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice (zest the lemon before juicing it), salt, pepper, reduce the heat to low, cover pan, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed. While it’s cooking, chop the remaining ingredients.
- Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and add the sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, almonds, lemon zest, and stir to combine.
- Taste, check for seasoning balance, and if necessary add more salt, pepper, or possibly a pinch of sugar if you prefer it sweeter to balance the acids, or a pinch of cayenne adds heat.
- Dish can be served warm and immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavors develop over time and tastes better a day or two after making it, and can either be served warm or cold.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 152Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 554mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g
More Easy Salad Recipes:
Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Quinoa Salad (GF) — Trying to keep meals healthier and lighter? Make this easy, refreshing and satisfying salad!
Tabbouleh — Never had it? Think couscous or quinoa mixed with vegetables, herbs, lemon and olive oil! Easy, no cooking required, healthy, and packed with so much flavor! (Great for outdoor events because there’s no mayo!)
Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) – This healthy coleslaw isn’t coated with gobs of mayo and you won’t miss it!
Edamame Feta Salad – Fast, easy, healthy, and packed with bigtime texture and bold flavors! Easily adaptable based on what’s in your fridge!! Healthy never tasted so good!
Avocado, Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette — Everything tastes better with avocado!! Easy, healthy and tons of flavor!
Sweet and Sour Zucchini Corn Salad – Packed with big, bold flavors and tons of crunch! Healthy, light and not just another salad!
Green Powerhouse Salad with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette (vegan, GF) – Want to feel better, stronger, healthier? This salad does wonders!
BLT Chopped Salad with Homemade Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing – Fast, fresh, healthy and satisfying! Packed with so much flavor!
Loaded Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing – Fast, easy, fresh and healthy! All your favorite taco flavors in one big kickin’ salad that everyone will love!
Post is brought to you by Fisher. The recipe, images, text, and opinions expressed are my own. #ThinkFisher
Great! Each And Every Recipe Is Great! And Well Written Step by Step. I Spend Most Of the time ready your recipes here. Thanks For Sharing :)
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you are appreciating my recipes!
Mine is ended up being too sour for some reason. I usually love all your recipes and this is the only one that hasn’t quite worked out for me. Maybe it’s be cause I used balsamic vinegar instead of apple cider?
Well you didn’t follow my recipe if you used balsamic rather than apple cider and yes, that’s why it was too sour. Stick to the recipe and you will love this!
I added some sugar to it and it actually tastes great today, the flavours have settled. But I’ll definitely use the apple cider vinegar next time.
Thanks! My family really enjoyed it too
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad your whole family enjoyed this salad.
I used cashew nut instead of almond and it tasted equally delicious!
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it was delicious!
This was delicious!! I loved the flavors and the texture from the almonds. My husband really enjoyed it too. It was pretty amazing just after putting it together….can’t wait for tomorrow if you say it’s even better! I’ll definitely be making this one again!
Glad you loved it and will definitely make it again!
Great way to cook quinoa to add extra flavour to it, the downside being that the end result is not as free-flowing as boiling and then draining. I had to cook it for over 20 minutes to get the quinoa to cook and also to soak up the liquid.
This is so delicious and refreshing! I added an orange pepper for extra crunch. I will definitely make this again!
I love this salad too (a personal favorite) and glad you will definitely make it again!
I made this salad for dinner yesterday and had some leftovers for lunch today. It was really good. I love the flavors and textures. My husband even had a second helping of this salad and he usually never has seconds.
I love this salad, it’s a personal fave, and glad you both really enjoyed it as well!
OH. MY. GOD. This was absolutely delicious! I can’t get enough of it! It was super easy and the flavors are awesome. I did add a little extra olive oil (probably 1 T.) at the end when I tossed everything together.
For lunch, I crumbled some plain goat cheese over my helping , and couldn’t have had a yummier meal!!! :) You’ve gotta try this…it will not disappoint!!!!
I absolutely love this salad and have turned a few local friends onto it. I make it often for warm-ish weather gatherings because it keeps really well even if it’s hot out. I bet your goat cheese was great in it.
Along those same lines, try this one if you liked this salad + goat cheese https://www.averiecooks.com/2017/08/quinoa-cherry-goat-cheese-salad.html Use any fruit that sounds good to you since I know cherries are out of season right now. I bet persimmon would be awesome, or even apples.
I stumbled across this recipe while browsing pinterest for sundried tomato recipes and decided to give it a try since I actually had ALL of the ingredients in my pantry. I made it the other day and of course had to taste it right away. It was good but you are so right when you say it tastes even better a day or two after the flavors have had a chance to develop. After two days I ate it cold for dinner and it was delicious! Definitely making it again and I have passed it along to a friend. I highly recommend this one for sure!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad it ‘developed’ and improved a couple days later and glad you’re passing it along to a friend!
Ok, I made this the other day and I’m so upset that I didn’t really like it. All of the ingredients shouldn’t have made it a huge hit! It tasted really salty. Is that strange?? (and no, I didn’t add salt)
If it tasted really salty and you didn’t add salt, then I really don’t know why. Only you know what brands of ingredients you used and maybe the nuts or the sundried tomatoes you used were salted. Thanks for trying the recipe.
No, none of the ingredients were salted. I’m guessing it’s just the combination of ingredients that came across that way to me. Strange.
I found this recipe looking for a dish with lemons in it to share for a women’s night at our church. I eat a plant-based, whole-foods diet, so this recipe is great!!! And my family liked it too! I am wondering if I can print out several copies of your “print recipe” to hand out at the women’s night. Thanks!
Thanks for trying the recipe and glad it came out great for you!
I’d prefer that you tell them about averiecooks.com and send them over to my site and they can poke around and print on their own :) Thanks!
I’m with you on the quinoa but I love the other ingredients in this salad. Pinned and will definitely try, sounds like a great lunch for me (heading back to school soon.)
Thanks for pinning! This was some of the best quinoa ever for me!
Finally got around to making this tonight! I really like it – now I must go hide some so I can take it for lunch tomorrow. ?
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I made this many times earlier in the summer and I had to hide it from myself to have enough for evening bbq’s with friends that were coming over!
The recipes you have are quite interesting especially for vegans and even those people who are not really vegan but are trying to work on having a healthy diet. This is also good as morning pair to a cup of coffee.
I’m like you! Sometimes I think I like the idea of quiona better than the quinoa itself. This recipe looks really great though, maybe you converted both of us!
Mmmmmmm this sounds delicious. I can’t wait to try it and even without knowing what it tastes like I’m looking forward to the leftovers for my packed lunches.
This looks soooo wonderful Averie. I am a big sun-dried tomato fan. I love the sweetness and tang if offers a dish. Plus, quinoa salads are totally my thing right now too. And funny you said that about white versus color. I’m the same way, pretty sure they taste the same but I always feel better about eating the tri-colored ones ;)
I think the almonds make this for sure! I love that crunchy texture they add. Perfect dinner!
They totally make it. That CRUNCH. Okay, and the sundried tomatoes, my total BFF :)
What a lovely, fresh and colourful salad! I have just discovered the wonderful world of quinoa. I will have to try this!
Hey Averie! I hope this comment finds you well. This salad looks and sounds absolutely amazing. Great job :)
Okay, totally adding this to my dinner recipe arsenal. I’ve been feeling so uninspired with quinoa lately!
Girl you are killing it with the salads this month!! Seriously, each one gets better than the last. I adore sun dried tomatoes…more than most people I think! I love putting them in salads, and on sandwiches. Pinned this gorgeous salad :)
After 6 years of sweets, I am loving some savory :) And I will challenge you to a sundried tomato eating contest next time I see you because I love them WAY more than other people, too! :) Thanks for pinning!
Avery, I’m your newest fan!
I accidentally ran into your site while looking for Dinner rolls recipes, and so far, I think I’ve made 5 kinds of cookies from your site, plus chewy rolls, pizzas and salads. Everything came out phenomenal, which is not something I can say for other cooking blog sites.
I pretty much just make a beeline for your site when I run out of ideas for dinner for my two kids, or when I want to try out a new cookie recipe.
Yesterday I made your Chico chip cookies with bananas. Oh my lord these cookies are sublime! Chewy and full of banana flavor, with less butter. I’ve always thought that adding bananas would make them cakey, or flat, but they were perfect.
Thank you for all of your delicious recipes, and I’m looking forward to trying all of them out! (Tonite for dinner I’m making your quinoa salad recipe with lemon and sundries tomatoes).
Thanks for trying so many recipes and I’m glad they have all came out great for you! That is wonderful and I do know what you mean about not all recipe sites and blogs are created equal but I am glad you’ve had success with mine :)
Keep me posted what else you make and thanks for your support!
These looks so incredibly delicious!
This sounds (and looks) really tasty! Love the sun dried tomatoes in this salad!! Pinned!
Thanks for pinning!
I love a good quinoa salad, Averie! Thank you for sharing this one with us. It looks awesome. :D
Oh, Averie! This quinoa salad sounds WONDERFUL! I love that you used sun-dried tomatoes here – I find that nothing can compare to their sweetness, and I’m totally addicted to them in the summer! Pinned!
Thanks for pinning and I love their flavor too!
I can always count on you for great recipes to plan for my late week/weekend cooking! They’re quick, healthful, and the type of foods we like to eat. Gotta try this–love all the texture and flavors.
It’s along the lines of the tabbouleh (I was on a kick a few weeks back when I was making all these…but I could make them every week and not get sick of them!) and I think you’ll love this one, too! You’ll have to LMK your thoughts between this one and the tabbouleh after you make it and if you can pick a favorite :)
I made this for dinner and it did not disappoint–really good stuff!! Jon said he can’t pick a favorite between this and the tabouleh and neither can I because of the differences. He thought the quinoa was more citrus-y (but I always use a little extra zest) and he loves nuts in anything. I love the sun dried tomatoes and sautéed onion. We both liked the fresh veggies in the tabouleh and the chewiness of the bulgur. It’s a draw! Have a great 4th!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I love hearing what you thought of this one vs. the tabbouleh. I agree with your assessment on both. Quinoa is more citrus-ey and I also think that the sundried tomatoes play that up, or that by adding them it somehow accentuates the citrus, and the nutty crunch is great. But the fresh veggies and the chewiness of the bulgur is awesome with the tabbouleh which is why I couldn’t pick a fave either! Happy Fourth!
Would it work with pecans instead of almonds? That’s all I have on hand.
If that’s what you have on hand, I say go for it. I would chop them finely though.