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Best Quinoa Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

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You’ll find yourself making this cold quinoa arugula salad over and over again! Not only is this quinoa and arugula salad incredibly flavorful with its bright lemon vinaigrette, but it’s also ready in just 15 minutes prep. Each serving of this vegan quinoa salad has a whopping 19 grams of plant based protein making it a great make-ahead lunch or dinner side to grilled drumsticks, grilled thighs, or veggie burgers with toppings. One bite and I think you’ll agree, it’s the best quinoa salad!

If you’re anything like me, the idea of quinoa is good…but plain quinoa is not. But when we add some flavor, color, and crunch? It’s a whole different story. And this quinoa and arugula salad will show exactly what I mean. My napa cabbage slaw, kale salad, salmon Caesar salad, Big Mac salad, and kale apple slaw are other great salads to try next.

Bowl of quinoa arugula salad with chopped nuts.
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Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

What You’ll Love About Quinoa Arugula Salad

  • Fresh and bright flavors
  • An interesting mix of textures
  • Works for main salad or side salad
  • Satisfying, it has 20 grams of plant-based protein
  • Easy, takes just 20 minutes to make
  • Made with just 7 simple ingredients
  • Can be meal prepped ahead to take on the go

Quinoa and Arugula Salad VIDEO

Ingredients to Make Quinoa Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

This amazing quinoa salad is made with just 7 ingredients, plus salt and pepper:

  • Quinoa: Ahhhh, the star of this quinoa arugula salad! Make a big batch and freeze it for later. I love to make it in my rice maker for easy and perfect quinoa every time. You can easily prep this ahead 2-3 days.
  • Arugula: This peppery green is perfect in salads. It adds great flavor bite and a gorgeous deep green shade. If arugula is a little too much for you, you could also use torn butter/bibb lettuce or red leaf lettuce. These greens don’t hold up quite as well once dressed, so dress them right before you eat the salad.
  • Lemon Vinaigrette: I added lemon juice and zest to the vinaigrette to give it that light lemon flavor that I love in salads this time of year. You’ll also want to use shallot, dijon mustard, maple syrup, and olive oil.
  • Chopped Almonds: I added chopped almonds for some extra staying power and a necessary crunch. I prefer to toast them yourself, but you can use any type of nut. Hemp seeds would also be delicious and add great crunch.
Ingredients to make quinoa arugula salad.

How to Make Quinoa and Arugula Salad

This is an overview on how to make this amazing quinoa salad, the detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.

Cook quinoa. Cook quinoa according to package instructions or use a rice maker like I have done here.
Cooked quinoa in a rice cooker
Make lemon vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, honey, minced shallots, sea salt, and black pepper.
Lemon dressing for quinoa salad in a bowl
Assemble quinoa and arugula salad. Toss together quinoa, arugula, and dressing until combined. Top with chopped almonds.
Quinoa and arugula salad in a bowl with dressing before mixing

FAQs

What is quinoa salad made of?

It depends on the salad, but many quinoa salads are made with a base of quinoa, some vegetables, some protein (beans, cheese, protein), and a dressing to bring it all together.

This cold quinoa salad is made with quinoa, arugula, a lemon vinaigrette, and almonds.

Is quinoa salad served hot or cold?

It depends on the salad! Many can be served either way but the beauty of a salad like this is that it tastes great cold or at room temperature.

Is quinoa arugula salad vegan?

It will vary based on the recipe and ingredients. This vegan quinoa salad is both vegetarian and vegan.

What to add to quinoa salad?

A general rule of thumb is to include the grain, some veggies for texture, some cheese or protein to make it filling, a dressing to bring it together, and some cheese or nuts for extra crunch and flavor.

Can I add a protein to this salad?

If you want a really filling salad, I recommend topping it with some garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chopped hard boiled eggs, grilled lemon chicken, or air fryer salmon.

Bowl of quinoa and arugula salad with chopped almonds on the top.

Storage Instructions

Store this leftover healthy quinoa salad in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. For best results, store all of the components separately so that the arugula doesn’t get soggy.

When you’re ready to serve, take the dressing out of the fridge to come to room temperature (if you forget, run the jar under warm water) and assemble salad, dress, and toss together. Sprinkle with roasted almonds.

How to meal prep

It works well as a prep-ahead salad. If you want to make it more than a day or two in advance, I recommend prepping and portioning all of the components.

You can prep the components, divide into portions and then store in meal prep salad bowl so all you have to do is remove from fridge, toss with dressing and sprinkle with almonds.

What to Serve with Quinoa and Arugula Salad

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Bowl of arugula salad with quinoa and dressing

More Quinoa Recipes

If you like this arugula quinoa salad recipe, you might also like some of these other quinoa-based recipes:

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Bowl of quinoa and arugula salad with chopped almonds on the top.

The BEST Quinoa Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian
  • Diet: Gluten Free
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Description

The BEST quinoa and arugula salad recipe is bright, fresh, + flavorful. The perfect side to a grilled dinner or easy lunch. Ready in just 20 minutes. 


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Salad:

  • 1 cup raw quinoa
  • 8 cups arugula, washed
  • 1/2 cup almonds, roasted and chopped

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 3 Tbsp. minced shallots (about one)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare quinoa as directed and let cool.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss quinoa, arugula, and dressing together. Sprinkle with chopped almonds. 

Notes

  • This salad is best made ahead of time to let the flavors deepen, and it’s great the next day.
  • Use maple syrup for a vegan salad. 

Keywords: quinoa arugula salad, quinoa and arugula salad, cold quinoa salad, vegan quinoa salad, best quinoa salad

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Comments

  1. Eileen

    Simple, light, healthy and packed with protein. Love it! I love adding quinoa to my salad as well. In fact, I’ve done quinoa, kale and blueberries.

  2. Brigitte Bilodeau

    I Made this last week with lemon marinated grilled chicken ….I didn’t add the almonds because I had meat,
    I could have added toasted walnuts …anyway I never make a recipe twice unless I really love it and this one is easy and so tasty ..the dressing is super good I added more lemon juice because I like it tangy…but it is super good and simple …I grow arugula so it’s from my garden so fresh and good I added spinach to…
    Thanks

  3. Gia

    LOVEd this recipe! Added a fried egg on top and sliced avocado as a protein-pick-me-up and fell in love. So simple yet so delicious!

  4. Phil

    This sounds delicious, I’m definitely gonna try this one!
    One thing though: You say that this salad is vegan, even though it contains honey, which is an animal product. The description should be updated to classify it as vegetarian. A good alternative could be maple syrup.

    • Emily

      You are so right! I thought there was a note in there explaining that, but it may have been missed when I updated the post. Thanks for letting me know, I’ll update. 🙂

  5. Bonnie Sullivan

    We love this recipe! It’s a staple for us especially in the summer. It’s so fresh and flavorful. We like to add sliced snap peas and some Parmesan cheese, sometimes some cubed chicken.






  6. Debbie

    I made this for lunch. It was so easy and delicious! I thought about cutting the recipe in half since there are only two of us. I’m so glad I didn’t because we ate almost all of it. So tasty! I had to use red onion since I didn’t have shallots. And I sprinkled a few craisins like other reviewers. It was perfect!






  7. Linda

    LOVE the big lemon flavor in this salad. This will definitely be a repeat and recipe I share with others.
    Thank you…….

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