Summery quinoa spinach salad with sweet mandarin oranges, blueberries, red onions, toasted pecans, and tangy mango kiwi dressing will be your go-to healthy lunch. Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free.
Happy first day of August!
AKA my birthday month and the last month of summer! Woohoo!
The summer has flown by and I’m 100% okay with that. I made a goal for myself to get outside more and enjoy the summer so we’ve been biking every weekend, we went on a Disney cruise, we’ve gone to the beach a few times, and we even took a day trip to Rainbow Springs to go swimming.
It’s been deathly hot here, every day it reaches 95-100 degrees! Ugh, it’s definitely not ideal weather to be cranking the oven on for. So, I’ve been trying to cook recipes that don’t require the oven or need to be heated up. We intentionally don’t have a microwave so our only options are to turn on the stove or the toaster oven.
For this quinoa spinach salad recipe, I cooked the quinoa the night before so I wouldn’t heat the kitchen up during the day. You can eat this salad warm or cold, it’s really delicious both ways.
Quinoa Spinach Salad Ingredients
This quinoa spinach salad is a light summery dish so I loaded it with fresh blueberries, mandarin oranges, lots of spinach, toasted pecans for crunch, and red onions for a little zip. The tangy kiwi mango dressing perfectly compliments the sweet fruit, quinoa, and bite from the onions.
You can customize the quinoa spinach salad with whatever fruit and veggie combo you like, the mango kiwi dressing will also go really well with:
- beet leaves
- mixed greens
What Type of Orange Should You Use?
You can use any type of orange for this quinoa spinach salad but I used canned mandarin oranges because they’re small, sweet, juicy, and seedless. I usually prefer to use all fresh produce but the canned mandarins already have all the pith and strings removed so it’s an easy shortcut that I’m 100% okay with!
If you prefer to use fresh oranges, I would recommend using satsuma mandarin oranges.
Quinoa Spinach Salad Nutrition
Quinoa is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with because it’s so versatile and it’s loaded with nutrients. Quinoa is low in fat, cholesterol, and calories but it’s full of good things that your body needs every day.
According to the USDA nutrient database, 1 cup of cooked quinoa (185 g) contains:
- 8.14 grams of protein
- 15% of the recommended daily intake of iron
- 5 grams of fiber
- 118 mg of magnesium
- 31 mg calcium
- 318 mg potassium
Have this spinach salad for lunch and you’ll be on track for the rest of the day!
What Should You Serve It With?
I just love all the sweet fruit in this quinoa spinach salad, it’s the perfect meal or side dish for summer. I usually use quinoa in savory dishes like pesto quinoa stuffed tomatoes, cilantro lime quinoa, or southwestern quinoa bowls, and this sweeter summery version is just as delicious!
This quinoa spinach salad would be tasty served with sweet potato burgers or you could use this recipe to meal prep lunches for the week! This is a great option to pack for lunch and bring to work with you because it’s healthy and you can eat it warm or cold.
If you’ve tried this quinoa spinach salad or any other recipe on the blog, pleae remember to rate the recipe and let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (cooled)
- 10 oz can mandarin oranges, drain and reserve the juice
- 8 oz bag spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup red onions diced (or more to taste)
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup roasted pecans roughly chopped
Cook quinoa according to package instructions and set aside.
Add apple cider vinegar, mango, kiwi, olive oil, orange juice, orange zest, salt and pepper to a high powered blender. Blend on high until completely smooth.
In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked and cooled quinoa, mandarin oranges, spinach, diced red onion, blueberries, and toasted pecans. Toss to combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until everything is coated in the sauce.
- You can substitute brown rice, freekeh, einkorn wheat berries, or pasta for the quinoa.
- You can use fresh satsuma mandarin oranges instead of canned.
- Kale or arugula would be great in this salad if you don’t want to use spinach.
- If you don’t want to make the dressing, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar would be a quick, delicious, low calories option to use instead.
- If you can’t find pre-toasted pecans, lay them flat on a baking sheet and toast at 400 degrees for 5-8 minutes.
- If you want to use this recipe to meal prep enough lunches for the whole week, I would double the recipe so you definitely have enough.
What’s your favorite quinoa recipe? Let me know in the comments!