This 15-minute quinoa salad is a light vegan meal packed with texture and flavour. You’ll want to eat the sesame ginger sauce with a spoon!

Bowl of Asian quinoa salad on striped cloth napkin

While you can enjoy this quinoa salad anytime of year, it’s especially perfect for those steamy summer days when the last thing you want is a piping hot dinner. A cold, crunchy salad is exactly what I crave on a 90 degree day, but I also want it to have enough protein and substance to keep me satisfied. 

Well, this 15-minute quinoa salad has the crunch, the coldness, and the flavour, and it also has fibre and protein for a filling meal. And, as you might have guessed from the name, it’s an absolute cinch to put together.

If you love my Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad, then you’re going to love this salad, too. There’s a lot of overlap between the two recipes, but I wanted to switch some things up: a lighter sauce, more protein, and it’s super meal preppable (so no lettuce or kale that can wilt).

Bowl of Asian quinoa salad set next to bag of tri-color quinoa

Is Quinoa a Protein or Carb?

Quinoa is both! It’s a gluten-free whole-grain carbohydrate, but because it’s a seed, it’s also a protein. In fact, it’s a whole protein, which means it’s one of those rare proteins that contains all nine essential amino acids. 

Ingredients for Asian quinoa salad

Notes on Ingredients

Please note that this is important information on the ingredients and instructions and the FULL recipe with amounts and details can be found DOWN BELOW (scroll to it) in the recipe card.

For the quinoa salad:

  • Shelled and cooked edamame
  • Cucumber
  • Bell peppers – Use any colour you prefer, or a few different colours.
  • Tri-colour quinoa – Here’s how to cook quinoa.
  • Carrot
  • Cabbage – Save yourself some prep time by buying pre-shredded cabbage at the grocery store.

For the sesame ginger dressing:

  • Ground ginger
  • Maple syrup
  • Liquid aminos – You can substitute low-sodium soy sauce if you prefer.
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds – White, black, or a combination of both!
  • Red pepper flakes – These are optional, but they’ll add a spicy kick to your quinoa salad!
  • Fresh lime juice
Bag of tri-color quinoa

What Is the Difference Between White and Tricolour Quinoa?

Aside from the colour difference, white quinoa cooks up softer and fluffier than other varieties of quinoa, which means that with tricolour quinoa, you get varying colours and textures. It adds a little interest to your quinoa salad!

You can use white quinoa in this recipe if you’d like, but I highly recommend using tricolour quinoa if you can find it.

How to Make 15-Minute Quinoa Salad

Once you’ve cooked the quinoa, this recipe is simply a matter of assembly!

Pouring dressing into bowl of quinoa salad ingredients

Make the dressing. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl or place them in a jar and give it a good shake.

Combine the salad ingredients. Place all of the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl and gently toss to mix everything together.

Finish. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Asian quinoa salad in white bowl

Tips for Success

Here are some hints and tips to help you make sure your quinoa salad turns out perfect!

  • Don’t use soggy quinoa! If your quinoa is wet, it will water down the dressing, diluting all that flavour. You don’t want that! Cook the quinoa until the water evaporates or, if needed, pour the cooked quinoa into a fine mesh sieve and let any excess liquid drain off.
  • Seed the cucumbers, if needed. English and Persian cucumbers are a great choice for this recipe, but if you’re using garden cucumbers, scoop out the seeds first. This will keep them from introducing too much liquid to your salad.
  • Serving suggestions. You can serve this salad in butter lettuce leaves to make healthy lettuce wraps or stuff it into bell peppers for a colourful presentation.
Gold spoon digging into bowl of Asian quinoa salad

How to Store

This is one of those glorious salads that tastes even better after a few days in the fridge! It will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

I don’t recommend freezing this recipe, as it will soften all those crispy, crunchy veggies and ruin the texture of your salad. If you’re looking for a quinoa recipe to freeze, try Vegan Fried Rice with Quinoa or Crispy Quinoa Patties.

Enjoy friends! If you make this vegan quinoa salad recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

Bowl of 15-Minute Asian Quinoa Salad

15 Minute Quinoa Salad with Sesame Ginger Sauce

This 15-Minute Quinoa Salad is loaded with flavour, texture, and nutrition! It's perfect for meal prep, too.
4.88 (from 8 ratings)

Ingredients

Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup shelled and cooked edamame, 124g
  • 1 cup diced cucumber, roughly 128g
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers, 100g
  • 4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic Tri-Color Quinoa, cooked*
  • 1 large shredded carrot or roughly 1 cup, 67g/1 cup
  • 1 ½ cups chopped cabbage, 100g

Sesame Ginger Dressing

  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 ½ tablespoons liquid aminos, or low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • Juice of two limes

Instructions 

Sesame Ginger Dressing

  • Whisk all the ingredients together in a deep bowl until combined or shake together in a jar. Set aside until ready to use.

Asian Quinoa Salad

  • Add all the ingredients together in a bowl.

    Drizzle the sauce over the salad and mix everything in to combine.

    Serve and enjoy!

Notes

While this salad is easier to assemble if you make the quinoa a day ahead, you can totally make it on spot. While prepping the ingredients, just cook the quinoa according to the package directions on Bob’s Red Mill’s package! It takes a maximum time of 12 minutes, so it’ll be ready when you’re ready with all the ingredients! I like to season mine with salt and pepper, or you can even swap the water for vegetable or mushroom broth!
To store: This salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Calories: 224kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 424mg, Potassium: 481mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 2534IU, Vitamin C: 41mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.