It’s the start of Spring, and if you’re anything like me, that means adding more salads into the mix! The fresh ingredients of this Italian Quinoa Salad with Vegetables and Cannellini Beans are perfect for a warm, bright day. Packed with nutrients and real ingredients, you can feel great about enjoying all the flavors of this recipe. Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, basil, balsamic vinegar and garlic are just a handful of the simply delicious ingredients used in this recipe. Pack it for lunch for the week or serve alongside a BBQ spread–you are going to fall in love with this salad!
What is quinoa? How do you cook it?
I will be the first to admit, I don’t cook quinoa often. However, I really enjoy eating it whenever it is offered places. When I created this recipe, I decided I wanted something light in flavor and super clean for a lunch option, and quinoa was the first thing I thought of.
Quinoa is actually not a grain, although it really acts like one! It’s actually a seed. But, when it comes to cooking, the method is similar to that of a starchy grain: 1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered.
Similar to grains such as rice, barley, and farro, quinoa is perfect as a blank slate, or a vessel for other flavors. It takes on any flavor you pair it with, and because of this characteristic, it makes for a great cold salad. Add some oil and some acidity, and quinoa takes on a whole new flavor personality. I also love cooking quinoa in broth, since it is a way to give it flavor before adding the other ingredients. It’s a great way to season the quinoa for a small amount of calories, and also results in less of a need for oil later on.
What I love about this recipe, and what you’ll need to make it
I love so many elements about this recipe, but most of all, I love how simple and clean the ingredients are. I am not a label snob by any means, but I love that there is nothing processed about this recipe. Quinoa, fresh vegetables and herbs made with simple, whole ingredients.
- Quinoa (uncooked, raw)
- Fire Roasted red peppers (packed in water)
- Artichoke hearts (packed in water)
- Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh basil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Dried oregano
- Kosher salt
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Reduced sodium chicken broth (for vegetarian, use vegetable broth)
How to measure out the quinoa
Just like measuring pasta or rice, this part can be tricky when it comes to labels, measuring, and tracking. You will see on the label, in most cases, the stats are based off of the uncooked volume of the item. For instance, the package of quinoa I purchased said one serving was 1/4 cup (dry, uncooked). So for this recipe, I used 1 cup of uncooked quinoa.
I just want to reiterate here that the stats on the box or container is not for the cooked volume!
How to make this Italian Quinoa Salad with Vegetables and Cannellini Beans
This salad is super easy and quick to make. Start out by measuring out the quinoa and running it under cold water over a strainer. Next, add the quinoa to a pot with the broth, and bring the mixture to a boil. Place a lid on the pot, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook the quinoa for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked and fluffy.
In the meantime, drain the roasted red peppers and the artichokes from their water. Chop them into bite size pieces. Drain the beans and rinse them. Chop the herbs.
In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, oregano, paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Add the cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl with the chopped vegetables, herbs, and the dressing. Toss to combine, and taste for seasoning.
This recipe yields 7 cups of quinoa salad, and makes 6 servings of 1 heaping cup each. This salad is great on its own, or paired with a grilled protein like chicken breast, steak or fish.
Fresh, healthy salads on the blog
There’s nothing better than a simple, healthy salad. They’re great as a light meal-prepped lunch. They’re easy to bulk up for a nutrient-dense dinner with a grilled protein like chicken or shrimp. If you don’t know where to start, a salad is always a great starting point for a delicious and healthy meal.
- Orzo Salad with Tomatoes and Feta
- Healthy Lentil Salad with Arugula
- Creamy Corn and Asparagus Farro Salad
- Autumn Quinoa Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Italian Quinoa Salad with Vegetables and Cannellini Beans
- small pot
- baking sheet
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked, raw
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth for vegetarian
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, packed in water, 15 oz jar
- 1 cup artichoke hearts, packed in water, 15 oz jar
- 1 cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup basil, fresh, choppped
- 1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- Measure out the dry quinoa, and rinse it under cold water in a strainer.
- Add the quinoa to a small saucepan with the broth.
- Bring the quinoa and broth to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover with a lid.
- Cook the quinoa until the liquid is absorbed and it is tender, about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, drain the artichokes and roasted red peppers from the water, and chop them into small pieces.
- Drain the beans and rinse them.
- Chop the herbs.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Add the cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl, along with the chopped vegetables and herbs.
- Top with the dressing and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning.
- 4 WW points for 1 heaping cup