As we journey farther into Spring and get closer to those coveted summer months, I can’t think of anything more crave-worthy on a warm, sunny day than easy to make fresh salads filled with seasonal produce.
After savoring the bounty of the fall and winter months in my Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad, it only made sense to create another mouthwatering quinoa recipe that is perfect for the warmer seasons.
I love coming home after a late morning of picking produce and throwing together a simple, but an impressive meal with little effort. And since I almost always have tomatoes and cucumbers in my fridge, this simple quinoa salad recipe is often on our weekly spring menu.
If you’ve tried any of my other quinoa salad recipes, like my Southwest Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad, Lentil Quinoa Salad and Mediterranean Quinoa Salad you’ll love this light, but satiating Quinoa Avocado Salad recipe.
I love that this simple quinoa salad with avocado can be enhanced with just about any protein source and an array of toppings to suit even the pickiest of palates.
This recipe uses fresh baby spinach leaves and cooked and cooled quinoa as a base. It is topped off with a mix of sliced cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, baby bell peppers, red onion, creamy avocado, and crumbled feta cheese for added flavor and variety.
In the end, it is drizzled with a bright, citrusy lemon salad dressing that brings the whole dish together.
How to Make this Summer Quinoa Salad with Avocado
As long as you have about 10-15 minutes of time to slice and chop the individual elements for your salad, you’ve already done the hard part. All that’s left to do is to bring your masterpiece together.
Here’s how to assemble:
- Make the lemon vinaigrette. In a small mason jar, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds to emulsify.
- Assemble the salad: Start with baby spinach leaves at the bottom of a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients; quinoa, sliced bell peppers, scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado, on top.
- Dress The Salad: Drizzle it with the lemon vinaigrette and give it a gentle toss.
- Finish it with Feta cheese: Add in the optional crumbled feta cheese, taste for seasoning and add, if necessary. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.
Variations and Ways to Serve:
There are plenty of ways to switch up the ingredients to make it perfect for your personal taste.
- Quinoa: You can use any variety of cooked quinoa that you like or have on hand. You can make it a red quinoa salad with avocado, or use white or tricolor quinoa if you prefer.
- Greens: If you don’t have spinach on hand or prefer to use something else, this salad tastes delicious with other greens as well. Try using a lighter option like arugula or make a hearty kale quinoa avocado salad if desired. You can also omit the greens and serve this salad as a main course or side dish equally.
- Cheese: I used feta cheese, but mozzarella, crumbled queso fresco, or even shredded cheddar cheese would work.
- Protein: This salad works well with a variety of protein sources too. If you want to add some bulk to your quinoa creation, you could add tuna, grilled chicken (as I did it in this Southwestern Chicken Salad), or even sliced steak.
- Lime Dressing: If you want to switch things up, try my chili lime dressing to turn this into more of a Southwestern-inspired salad.
Can I Make This Salad Vegan?
Absolutely! It’s simple to make this cold quinoa salad vegan. Simply omit the cheese or use a vegan cheese-style product instead. You could also incorporate other vegan proteins like diced tofu or chickpeas if you desire.
You can indeed make this salad a day in advance and store it in your fridge. In fact, it tastes even better the next day, after the flavors of the vinaigrette have had time to meld together with the rest of the ingredients.
How To Store
Store your prepared salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days for the best results.
If you’re worried about the avocado browning, you can even store the different elements of the salad separately. Simply prepare all of the ingredients (minus the avocado) in advance. Store them in individual containers in your fridge until you’re ready to use them.
When it’s time to assemble it, you’ll have all of the ingredients prepped and ready to go. All you’ll need to do is add the avocado, toss the salad together, and serve.
This salad recipe below serves 4 people and it is 326 calories per serving. You can get more information about the nutritional values of this salad in the recipe card below.
Quinoa Avocado Salad
For The Dressing:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 small clove of garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For The Salad:
- 2 cups baby spinach rinsed and drained
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 2 Persian cucumbers peeled and cut into small cubes
- 3-4 colorful baby bell peppers or 1 bell pepper sliced thinly
- ½ red onion about ½ cups, chopped or 3 stalks of scallions
- 1 ripe avocado cut into small cubes
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled (optional) or fresh mozzarella or crumbled queso fresco
- Make the Lemon Salad Dressing: Place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar. Put the lid on and give it a shake.
- Assemble the salad: Place spinach, cooked quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers, baby bell peppers, onion, avocado, and cheese in a large salad bowl.
- Gently Toss: Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Give it a gentle toss and serve.
- Make ahead instructions: You can indeed make this salad a day in advance and store it in your fridge. In fact, it tastes even better the next day, after the flavors of the vinaigrette have had time to meld together with the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Want to make it a vegan quinoa salad? Simply omit the feta cheese.
- Best Way to Store: Store your prepared salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days for best results. If you’re worried about the avocado browning, you can even store the different elements of the salad separately. Simply prepare all of the ingredients (minus the avocado) in advance and store them in individual containers in your fridge until you’re ready to use them. When it’s time to assemble it, you’ll have all of the ingredients prepped and ready to go. All you’ll need to do is add the avocado, toss the salad together, and serve.