Servings: 10 - 12 1/2 cup servings
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time
This Lemon Veggie Quinoa Salad is nutritious, delicious, and full of satisfying protein and flavor! Mix it up before your next cookout or bring it to work for a healthy lunch.
You’ve probably heard by now that quinoa is good for you, and it is! With 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and only 220 calories per cup, quinoa is filling and relatively low in calories. In fact, while many vegetables only have a few protein building amino acids, quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a source of complete protein. This tiny grain also boasts a hefty dose of folate, manganese, magnesium, and iron. Manganese is a lesser known mineral that is necessary for bone health, skin plumping collagen production, and an enzyme that is one of the body’s most potent antioxidants, protecting us from free radical damage.
The veggies in this salad are all super stars, so let’s discuss the real MVPs. Red peppers are super high in vitamin C and contain over 30 different types of antioxidants. Scallions may seem small, but they are mighty! In fact they contain 140 times more antioxidants than common white onions, which is why they have been linked to reducing the risk of various cancers. (They’re also flavorful and super easy to grow!) Parsley is more than just decoration: it’s high in heart healthy vitamin K and parsley’s high antioxidant profile can help neutralize cancer causing carcinogens. Olive oil and the healthy fats in avocado make sure all the amazing antioxidants in this salad don’t go to waste. Many antioxidants are fat soluble, meaning they are more easily absorbed when eaten with fat.
Bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt, quinoa and lentils.
Reduce heat to a low and cook for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature. Quinoa can be prepared previously to mixing the salad or placed in fridge or on a baking sheet to allow it to cool more quickly.
Make vinaigrette by whisking vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil in a small bowl. Add salt, pepper and additional vinegar and lemon juice or olive oil to taste.
Place cooled quinoa in large bowl and toss with olive oil.
Add tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, bell peppers, lentils, chickpeas, kale, avocado, scallions, and parsley. Toss with 1/2 cup vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinaigrette, salt and pepper as needed.
Serve and enjoy or refrigerate. Salad is best eaten within a few days so it does not become too soggy.
1 cups pre-washed quinoa (to add color, you can add a mixture of both white and red)
1/2 cup lentils
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup diced English cucumbers
1 cup red bell peppers
1 cup chopped baby kale
1 cup canned chickpeas
1⁄2 cup thinly sliced scallion
1 cup avocado (optional)
4 tablespoons chopped parsley