Mango quinoa salad is the perfect spring and summer dish! It's made with quinoa, spinach, juicy mandarin oranges, sweet blueberries, red onions, toasted pecans, and tangy oil-free mango lime dressing!
This dish looks like sunshine in a bowl and it tastes like it too! The combination of the sweet oranges, fluffy quinoa, spicy red onion, roasted nuts, bright green spinach, and tangy mango dressing is incredibly tasty!
This plant-based salad is easy to make and it can be enjoyed as a light meal or as a colorful side dish to any main course. It's also a great option to bring to a party or potluck to share with friends and family.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Quinoa - Quinoa is a good source of plant-based protein and fiber! You could also use rice, farro, einkorn wheat berries, or barley.
- Spinach - Spinach adds a pop of color to the salad. Thinly sliced kale, swiss chard, or arugula can also be used.
- Oranges - You can use any type of orange that you like, but I like to use the small mandarin slices. You can use fresh or canned. If you use a bigger orange like a honeybell or a sumo, make sure to cut it into bite-sized chunks so it's easy to eat.
- Blueberries - Blueberries add color and flavor! You could also use blackberries or raspberries.
- Red Onion - I used a red onion because of it's mild flavor. Sliced green onion or chives are also good options to use.
- Pecans - Every salad needs a little crunch! You can use also roasted walnuts, sliced almonds, or cashews in place of the pecans.
- Mango - Mango is sweet and tart and the bright yellow color is perfect for this colorful salad. You could also use fresh or frozen strawberries, kiwi, or pineapple.
- Lime - The acidity of fresh lime juice perfectly balances the sweet mango.
- Tahini - This makes the mango and lime dressing so creamy! Sun butter or almond butter can be substituted for the tahini.
How To Make It
First, cook the quinoa and then transfer it to a large bowl and put it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
While the quinoa is chilling, you're going to make the mango salad dressing. Add the mango, lime juice, tahini, water, and salt to a blender cup and blend until smooth and creamy.
Remove the chilled quinoa from the fridge and add in the fresh spinach, blueberries, mandarin orange slices, red onions, and roasted pecans. Pour the mango sauce over the salad and toss to combine.
What Goes With It
This mango quinoa salad can be enjoyed as a light lunch or dinner or it can be a delicious side dish to any of the following recipes.
This recipe is very customizable based on what you have available. Any of the following recipe variations would be delicious to try.
- Strawberries - Instead of oranges, add 1 cup of strawberries! Strawberries and spinach go so well together.
- Beans - Add (1) 14 oz can of white beans or chickpeas to the salad to add extra protein and make it more filling and substantial.
- Fresh Herbs - A little bit of fresh mint or basil would add so much flavor!
- Vegan Cheese - Crumbled dairy-free feta cheese (I like Violife) would be a great addition to this salad.
How To Store It
Store the mango quinoa salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Don't freeze it, this salad is definitely best enjoyed fresh. The quinoa by itself can be frozen, but the fresh ingredients won't defrost well in the salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can assemble all of the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl 1-2 days before, but don't add the dressing until you're ready to enjoy it. If you add the sauce too early, the salad could get soggy.
The salad is best served chilled, but it can also be eaten warm if you don't want to wait for the quinoa to chill. However, if you mix warm quinoa with fresh spinach, the spinach will wilt.
Sure! I often use frozen mango to make the sauce. Fresh blueberries have a better texture for the salad.
- While the quinoa is chilling, prep the rest of the salad ingredients and make the creamy mango salad sauce so everything is ready at the same time.
- Buy roasted pecans to save yourself some time. If you need to roast raw pecans, arrange the pecans on a parchment-lined tray and bake them for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees or until they're lightly browned.
Want More Salad Recipes?
- Christmas Salad
- Zesty Quinoa Salad
- Lemon Tahini Courgette Salad
- Creamy Broccoli Salad
- Beetroot Feta Salad
Mango Quinoa Salad
- Small Pot
- Large Bowl
- 1 cup mango (1 large mango)
- ¼ cup lime juice (2 medium limes)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp tahini
- pinch of salt
- Cook the quinoa in a small pot according to package directions. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl and put it in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
- Add mango, lime juice, water, tahini, and a pinch of salt to a small blender cup. Blend on high until the texture is smooth and creamy.
- In the large mixing bowl with the chilled cooked quinoa, add the mandarin oranges, spinach, blueberries, diced red onion, roasted pecans, salt, and tsp pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad. Use a large spoon to gently mix the salad.
- Store the leftover mango quinoa salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.