The perfect summertime salad: this quinoa and vegetable salad with peanut dressing is packed with fiber, nutrients, and most importantly: flavor. This salad is the perfect side dish for dinner, or meal prep for lunch. Serve it with a grilled protein (marinated chicken, steak or shrimp) for a complete meal. This salad boasts flavors of crisp cabbage, peppers and edamame, wrapped in an delicious sweet and savory peanut dressing and finished with vibrant fresh herbs.
All about this salad
This salad is extremely easy to prepare, with minimal cooking required. The only cooking required is boiling the quinoa, which is technically inactive prep time, and done in just minutes. Otherwise, the only work involved here is chopping some veggies and preparing the delicious peanut dressing (which is definitely the star of the show here!). If you are a fan of peanut flavored things, you will absolutely love this dish.
This salad is crispy, crunchy, and vibrant. It is packed with flavor, including delicious fresh herbs and savory cashews in each bite. It is the perfect accompaniment to any summer meal or meal prep. My favorite suggestion for serving this salad is alongside a grilled protein. The best part: serve this salad room temperature or cold, no reheating required!
If you like the flavor profile of this dish, you might also enjoy these:
What is quinoa? How do you cook it?
I will be the first to admit, I have only cooked quinoa a handful of times. But, 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.
What you’ll need to make this quinoa salad
- reduced sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- To keep this vegetarian, use vegetable broth, otherwise you can use chicken or beef broth (the key here is using broth to flavor the quinoa before the other ingredients get added)
- shredded cabbage (coleslaw mix)
- I like to use the purple cabbage for some added color, but anything works here
- shredded carrots
- This is sold in the frozen section of the store, and they are sold shelled.
- bell peppers
- unsalted cashews
- powdered peanut butter
- This ingredient is a great way to get the flavor of peanut butter but with fewer calories and less fat. By adding the other liquids to the powder, we can create a delicious peanut dressing.
- low sodium soy sauce
- rice wine vinegar
- ginger paste
- maple syrup
- sesame oil
How to make this quinoa and vegetable salad with peanut dressing
To make this delicious salad, start by cooking the quinoa. The easiest way to do this is by using a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid. In this case, we are using broth since it flavors the quinoa more than just water. First, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Next, add the quinoa to a small pot and cover it with the broth. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover the pot. Cook until the quinoa is cooked through. Set aside to cool.
Next, chop the bell peppers onto small pieces, and chop the scallions and cilantro. Add the peppers to a mixing bowl with the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, edamame, scallions, cilantro and cooked quinoa. Add the cashews.
In a small bowl, combine the powdered peanut butter, the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, ginger, garlic, and maple syrup. Pour the dressing into the bowl and toss to coat.
Quinoa and Vegetable Salad with Peanut Dressing
- small saucepan
- mixing bowl
- 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1 cup reduced sodium broth
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 cup edamame, shelled
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2/3 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup powdered peanut butter
- 3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tsp ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add the quinoa to a saucepan and cover with the broth.
- Bring it to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer. Simmer until cooked through.
- Set aside to cool.
- Chop the peppers, scallions and cilantro.
- Add the cabbage and carrots to a large mixing bowl, along with the chopped peppers, scallions, and cilantro.
- Add in the cooked quinoa and cashews.
- Combine the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.
If you are looking for more cold summer salads, check these out: