Asian Quinoa Salad is both light and satisfying! You get a delicious kick of sweetness from the oranges and cranberries, while the sesame seeds and cashews add a perfect texture. Finish it off with a punchy Asian Salad Dressing, for a delicious meal that you will crave again and again.
I you are like me, you are always on the look out for lunches that will excite you and leaving you feeling your best.
This quinoa salad with mandarin oranges does just that.
The protein from the quinoa will leave you satisfied, and the bold flavors from the dressing will keep your taste buds happy.
This easy vegan salad is perfect for meal prep and makes a great grab and go lunch!
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Ingredients for Making Mandarin Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa: I like to use white quinoa in this recipe, but you can use your favorite kind. To make this salad super-easy, cook your quinoa on the weekend while you are doing meal prep. You can also buy pre-cooked quinoa.
- Kale or spinach: I used kale in my salad, but you could also use spinach. If using kale, make sure to remove the tough stems and chop it into bite-size pieces.
- Mandarin oranges: I used canned mandarin oranges because they are super-easy, but you could also use fresh oranges. If using fresh, you will need 3-4 depending on their size.
- Dried cranberries: These add a beautiful sweetness to the salad that perfectly complements the dressing.
- Green onion: I love the flavor that green onions add to this salad, but you could also use diced red onion.
- Fresh parsley: I used fresh parsley because it was what I had on hand, but you could also use cilantro or mint.
- Asian Salad Dressing: You can use your favorite brand of Asian salad dressing, or make your own. I use my homemade Asian Dressing.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds: These are a must in my opinion. They add the perfect amount of crunch and flavor.
- Cashews: I love the flavor that cashews add to this salad, but you could also use peanuts or almonds.
Tips & Tricks
- If you are cooking your quinoa just before making this salad, spread it out on a cookie sheet to let it cool. This will keep the quinoa fluffy and help it cool quicker.
- If you are using canned mandarin oranges, make sure to drain them well. Otherwise, your salad will be too wet.
- I like to use kale in this salad because I think it holds up better than spinach, but feel free to use your favorite green.The amounts of each ingredient are suggestions. Feel free to add more or less of anything to suit your taste.
Store this vegan quinoa salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you are planning on making this ahead, you can store the sesame seeds and cashews separately if you like.
If you want to meal prep this salad but put it together at the last minute, I recommend cooking the quinoa ahead of time and storing it in the fridge.
Then, when you are ready to eat, chop the greens and mix everything together. This salad is also a great option for taking to work or school because it doesn't require reheating.
- Use cilantro instead of parsley
- Add avocado just before serving
- Add julienned carrots, napa cabbage and/or bean sprouts
- Substitute peanuts or almonds for the cashews
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15-Minute Asian Quinoa Salad
- In a large bowl combine quinoa, kale, oranges, cranberries, green onions and parsley.
- Toss with dressing and top with sesame seeds and cashews.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled. Drizzle with additional dressing if desired.