Quinoa is such a great base for a healthy, hearty salad. This roasted vegetable quinoa salad features quinoa boiled in flavorful chicken broth, then tossed with roasted eggplant, zucchini, and shallots, and a vinaigrette of honey, olive oil and red wine vinegar. With sweet sun dried tomatoes and fresh herbs tossed in, this salad packs a punch of flavor. Serve it alone, or pair it with a lean protein for a healthy and light meal.
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 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, and a vinaigrette made with simple, whole ingredients.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- quinoa (uncooked, raw)
- reduced sodium chicken broth
- sun dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
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 roasted vegetable quinoa salad
The longest part of this recipe is roasting the vegetables. So, to get a head start on that, preheat your oven to 400F, and chop up those vegetables. They should be bite-sized. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, and spray it with olive oil spray. Then, add your chopped vegetables, and season them with the kosher salt. Add another spray of olive oil, and then toss everything together (using your hands is the easiest).
Next, measure out your quinoa and rinse it thoroughly under water, using a strainer. Add the quinoa to a small pot, and then add the chicken stock. Stir them together, and then bring the liquid to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot with a lid, and then reduce to simmer. Cook the quinoa for 15-20 minutes, or until it is tender and cooked, and the liquid has been absorbed.
Add the cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl, along with the roasted vegetables. Combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar and honey together to form the vinaigrette. Add the vinaigrette to the bowl, and toss to coat.
Chop up the sun dried tomatoes and herbs, and add them to the bowl. Taste for seasoning.
This recipe yields 6 cups of quinoa salad. You can portion this into 6 servings at 1 cup each, or 4 servings at 1 1/2 cups each. If this is your main meal, I recommend using the larger serving. You can also have the smaller sized serving, and add a grilled lean protein like chicken or shrimp for a full meal.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad
- small pot
- baking sheet
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked, raw
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth for vegetarian
- 3 cups eggplant, chopped; approximately 1 medium eggplant or 1/2 large eggplant
- 3 cups zucchini, chopped; approximately 1 medium zucchini
- 2 cups shallots, chopped; 3-4 large shallots
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- olive oil spray
- 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup basil, fresh, choppped
- 1/4 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking dish to prevent sticking.
- Spray olive oil spray on the parchment paper.
- Chop the eggplant, zucchini and shallot.
- Add to the baking sheet and sprinkle with the kosher salt.
- Toss using your hands.
- Roast for 35-45 minutes or until golden and tender. Ovens will vary.
- Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa in a strainer.
- Add the quinoa and broth to a pot.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover with a lid.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and cooked, and the liquid is absorbed.
- Combine the oil, honey and vinegar to form the vinaigrette.
- Add the quinoa and roasted vegetables to a large mixing bowl.
- Chop the sun dried tomatoes and stir them in.
- Pour the vinaigrette in and mix well.
- Chop the fresh herbs and stir them in.
- 4 WW points per cup (blue and green plans)
- 1 WW point per cup (purple plan)
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