This Spring Quinoa Salad is filled with fresh spring produce and topped with a zippy lemon dressing! It’s perfect for a light lunch or side dish.
After a long winter, spring always gets me in the mood for fresh green veggies! This Spring Quinoa Salad contains a few of my favorites: asparagus, watercress and sugar snap peas. I then toss this quinoa salad with a zippy lemon dressing and it becomes the perfect way to welcome spring.
Spring Quinoa Salad Ingredients and Substitutions
- Quinoa – I love making quinoa salads because quinoa is nutritious and cooks up quickly and easily. You could sub really any other grain for quinoa though: rice, farro, barley, wheat berries or even couscous!
- Asparagus – I love eating asparagus when it’s in season! I prefer to use asparagus that is pretty thin, no larger than my pinky finger.
- Watercress – If you’re not familiar, watercress is a peppery green that is really good for you! If you can’t find watercress you could use arugula or baby spinach or kale.
- Sugar Snap Peas – Sugar snap peas are sweet and crunchy and go perfectly in this quinoa salad. You could also use regular sweet peas that you can buy frozen and heat in the skillet.
- Shallot – When you thinly slice and sauté shallots they add a nice sweetness to the salad. You could also use regular onion if you can’t find shallot.
- Lemon Dressing – I love making easy homemade dressings for my salads! This dressing is made using olive oil, lemon juice and zest, dijon mustard and salt.
How To Make This Spring Quinoa Salad Recipe
There are just a few steps in making this fresh and delicious Spring Quinoa Salad:
- I like to make my quinoa first because I like to let it sit covered on the stove for a bit after it’s finished cooking. Cook your quinoa, or other grain, according to package directions and then let sit until you’re ready to use it.
- Blaching the veggies: blanching is a cooking technique where you dump your vegetables into boiling water for a minute or two and then immediately put them into ice water. This allows them to keep their bright green color. After you blanche them you will sauté them with some garlic, shallot and olive oil until tender.
- Make your dressing: this dressing is SO easy to make! All you do is add the ingredients to a small bowl and mix until combined.
- Make your salad: to a large bowl, add the quinoa, cooked veggie mixture, watercress and dressing. Mix until combined and you have yourself a delicious and refreshing quinoa salad!
Optional Additions To Your Quinoa Salad
This salad is great the way it is, but if you want to add some extra yum, here are a few suggestions:
- Chickpeas – These will add some protein and nice flavor!
- Toasted Nuts – Any kind of nut would work, I would probably add sliced almonds, walnuts or pine nuts.
- Feta Cheese – You could add either regular feta cheese or vegan feta cheese. Shaved parmesan would be great too.
- Extra Veggies – Avocado, radishes, green onion, carrots, etc…
- Fresh Herbs – Any fresh herbs would be great! I would probably use basil or mint.
Quinoa Salad Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does this keep in the refrigerator? I would suggest up to 4 days.
- Should I serve this warm or cold? Either is great! You can eat it right away or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.
- Can I use different vegetables? Absolutely!
- How can I add protein to this spring quinoa salad? I would recommend adding chickpeas and feta cheese (if not vegan).
- Can I use a grain other than quinoa? Yes! Use whatever grain you like.
Have a question that I didn’t answer? Ask in the comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP!
Looking For More Delicious Quinoa Recipes?
Quinoa Chickpea Sweet Potato Salad with Curry DressingPrint
Spring Quinoa Salad
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- Diet: Vegan
This Spring Quinoa Salad is loaded with fresh spring produce and topped with a zippy lemon dressing!
- 1 cup quinoa, dried
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1/2 lb sugar snap peas, about 3 handfuls
- 1/2 cup watercress leaves, lightly packed
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, about 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cook the quinoa, cover 1 cup of dried quinoa with 2 cups of water in a medium sized saucepan. Turn heat to medium and simmer quinoa for about 20 minutes until the water is evaporated and quinoa is cooked through. Set aside.
- Make the lemon vinaigrette, in a small bowl, or jar add olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt. Wisk until combined. You may need to re-mix just before pouring over the salad.
- Dice the asparagus into 2 inch pieces on a diagonal.
- Cut the ends off the sugar snap peas and then cup them in half, diagonally.
- Blanch the vegetables, fill a large bowl with ice and then add water and 1 – 2 tablespoons of salt. Fill a large pot with water and 1 – 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil
- Toss the asparagus and sugar snap peas into the boiling water and let sit in the boiling water for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Immediately pour them in a strainer, or use a straining spoon, and place them in the ice water, let cool.
- Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Chop the shallot into a small dice and add it to the pan. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 – 3 minutes, until starting to brown.
- Add in minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the blanched vegetables and mix together, slightly warming the vegetables, about 1 minute.
- In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, vegetable mixture, and watercress leaves.
- Pour lemon vinaigrette over and mix together.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- *Pour dressing over slowly and only add as much as you desire, you may not need to use it all.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Category: Salad, Lunch
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Spring Quinoa Salad
Joel S says
Looks great! I want to try this. I don’t think I’ve really used blanching much if ever so I’ll try that.
She Likes Food says
Thanks, Joel! I had seen blanching done a ton of times on the food network, but this is actually the first time I had ever used it myself. I really liked it because it was super easy and kept the vegetables crisp. They say that it is a good way to preserve produce so then you can just lightly heat it when you need to use it.