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Arugula Quinoa Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

An arugula quinoa salad recipe with a mix of textures and flavors like peppery arugula, fluffy quinoa, and a zesty lemon dressing. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian-friendly, and made with a handful of simple ingredients.

This cold quinoa salad is a great healthy side dish that’s more filling than most salads thanks to the protein-packed quinoa and additional seeds.

The best part is how easily you can customize it or make it into a main course salad by adding crispy chickpeas (garbanzo beans)oven baked crispy prosciutto, or chicken.

Salad Ingredients

  • Baby arugula – also called rocket. This leafy green is peppery with a slightly bitter taste.
  • Dry quinoa – you can use white quinoa, red quinoa, black quinoa, or a tricolor blend of the three (which is what I used).
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds – add a nice crunchy texture to the salad.
  • Dried cranberries – for a hint of sweetness and tartness that pairs well with the other flavors.
  • Hemp seeds – add a nutty flavor and a subtle crunch.
  • Pear – adds a fresh element, another texture, and natural sweetness.
  • Lemon vinaigrette – a combination of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, raw honey, dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper.  

See the recipe card for measurements.

How to Make Arugula Quinoa Salad

Step 1. Rinse the dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Bring the water, quinoa, and pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and let cool to room temperature.

Step 2. Add the dressing ingredients to a small bowl or mason jar and whisk or shake to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Step 3. In a large bowl, add the arugula, followed by the cooked and cooled quinoa, toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and hemp seeds. Pour over the salad dressing and toss to combine. Then add the sliced pears. Serve immediately.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this arugula quinoa salad using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No arugula? – use any kind of leafy greens.
  • No pears? – apples or quince would also be great. 
  • No toasted pumpkin seeds? – use roasted sunflower seeds instead, chopped walnuts, or a different nut.
  • No dried cranberries? – you can also use sweet golden raisins or dried apricots.
  • No raw honey? – use maple syrup.
  • Add-ins – cooked sweet potatoes, quick pickled red onion, snap peas or red bell peppers for extra crunch, dairy-free feta cheese for a salty flavor, or crispy chickpeas (garbanzo beans)oven baked crispy prosciutto, or chicken to make it the main course. 
  • Use a different salad dressing – creamy lemon miso or dragon sauce would also be delicious.    

How To Store

Store undressed salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Don’t slice the pears until serving. If the salad is dressed, consume it by the following day.

More Quinoa Recipes

Arugula Quinoa Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

5 from 1 vote
Arugula quinoa salad with thin pear slices and dried cranberries.
An arugula quinoa salad recipe with a mix of textures and flavors like peppery arugula, fluffy quinoa, and a zesty lemon dressing. It's gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian-friendly, and made with a handful of simple ingredients.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients
 

Quinoa

  • ¼ cup dry quinoa or about 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 ¼ cups water

Salad

  • 5 ounces arugula about 8 cups
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2-3 tablespoons dried cranberries or golden raisins
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Instructions

  • Rinse the dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Bring the water, quinoa, and pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and let cool to room temperature.
  • Add the dressing ingredients to a small bowl or mason jar and whisk or shake to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  • In a large bowl, add the arugula, followed by the cooked and cooled quinoa, toasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and hemp seeds. Pour over the salad dressing and toss to combine. Then add the sliced pears. Serve immediately.

Notes

Store undressed salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Don’t slice the pears until serving. If the salad is dressed, consume it by the following day.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No arugula? – use any kind of leafy greens.
No pears? – apples or quince would also be great. 
No toasted pumpkin seeds? – use roasted sunflower seeds instead, chopped walnuts, or a different nut.
No dried cranberries? – you can also use sweet golden raisins or dried apricots.
No raw honey? – use maple syrup.
Add-ins – cooked sweet potatoes, quick pickled red onion, snap peas or red bell peppers for extra crunch, dairy-free feta cheese for a salty flavor, or crispy chickpeas (garbanzo beans)oven baked crispy prosciutto, or chicken to make it the main course.
Use a different salad dressing – creamy lemon miso or dragon sauce would also be delicious.

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