This quick & easy recipe combines the protein power of quinoa with some tangy Asian flavors for a great vegetarian salad. Add some chicken and you've got an even more protein-packed meal! Add this to your weekly meal prep list for an easy packable lunch or a quick & healthy weeknight dinner!
A friend of mine brought a version of this salad to a party last year and I thought it was great so I asked her for the recipe. When she sent it there were no instructions, only ingredients so I had no choice but to create my own version of this super tasty Asian Quinoa salad!
There is a lot to love about this recipe. First, it's not hard to get obsessed with quinoa-based salads. They are easy to make and quinoa is a great source of protein so it makes a healthy, hearty base for a salad. Quinoa travels well, even with dressing on it, so you can make this ahead of time and take it to work for lunch without worrying about anything getting soggy.
It's also packed with veggies. And because you can prep most of the ingredients ahead of time it makes a great option for a weekday lunch or an easy weeknight meal. This is a great recipe to add to your weekly meal prep plan!
You'll start the salad with a base of quinoa to give you plenty of protein. Then add in red cabbage, carrots, green onion, edamame and cilantro. Toss all of that in an addictive homemade tangy sesame dressing for a crisp, colorful, Asian-inspired salad. For some added crunch, top with some toasted almonds and a handful of ramen noodles. If you want more protein, add in some cooked, shredded chicken breast for the ultimate meal in a bowl!
Tips for Making Perfect, Fluffy Quinoa
Quinoa is a great power food. It's packed with protein and easy to make ahead of time as part of your weekly meal prep routine.
- It's suggested you rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer before cooking. I don't always do this, it's a little bit of a pain and may not be necessary. Some quinoa needs it more than others so it's a bit of a matter of trial and error to know if you really need to rinse a particular brand. If you want to err on the side of caution, use a very fine mesh strainer to rinse the quinoa with cool water.
- Next, you want to start with the correct ratio of water to quinoa, which is 2:1 - water to quinoa, so 1 cup of water for a half of cup of quinoa. This ensures you get the right texture for the quinoa.
- Add the quinoa and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil with the lid off of the pan. Once the water is boiling reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for another 15 - 20 minutes. Once the water is absorbed, remove the pan from the heat, keep covered and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then fluff the quinoa with a fork and serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days until you are ready to use it.
Things You May Want for this Recipe
Staub Petite Rice Cooker – I love this little pot! It's perfect for cooking a few servings of rice, quinoa or farro. It's a little pricey but worth it and I've seen it on sale several times throughout the year. It's become one of my most used pots!
Julienne Peeler – If you have a mandoline you can easily use that to make julienne veggies however sometimes when I just want a small amount for a salad I don't want to get out my mandoline, so I picked up this peeler a few months ago. I think I've mentioned I'm not a fan of excess kitchen gadgets but this peeler is a great addition if you make a lot of salads.
Asian Quinoa Salad
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons avocado or other vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
For the salad:
- ⅓ cup quinoa
- ⅔ cup water
- ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ½ cup shredded red cabbage*
- ½ cup broccoli slaw*
- ½ cup cooked, shelled edamame
- ¼ cup chopped red pepper
- ¼ cup julienned carrot
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
- 2 tablespoons toasted, sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons ramen noodles, uncooked
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 ounces cooked, shredded chicken breast
- ½ cup chopped avocado
- To make the dressing add the oils, honey, vinegar, and tamari to a small bowl. Mix with a fork or small whisk until well combined.
- Add the quinoa, cabbage, slaw, edamame, red pepper, carrot and green onions to a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
- Add the dressing to the salad mixture and stir again until everything is well coated. Serve immediately and top with almonds and crumbled ramen.
- Broccoli slaw is available at many grocery stores, including most Trader Joe's but if you can't find it you can substitute a cabbage-based salad mix for the slaw and red cabbage.
- If you want more substance to the salad you can add chicken and/or avocado before mixing in the dressing.