We love to eat food that’s in season! And this quinoa salad is a great meal loaded with summer veggies. It’s also a very easy recipe – just load grilled vegetables onto a bed of quinoa, then top the salad with our zesty tahini dressing! So don’t wait – pop down to your local market and collect some beautiful summer veggies right now!
Eat your Veggies!
Your parents told you this for a good reason! Indeed, vegetables come in a huge variety and are bursting with important nutrients! For example, veggies deliver critical nutrients like fiber, vitamins A and C, iron, potassium and many more!
However, it’s important to note that different veggies contain different nutrients. In other words, no single plant has every nutrient you need. Therefore, it’s import to eat a variety of vegetables. Luckily, this is easy to achieve. The trick is to vary the type and color of the veggies you eat throughout the day. Think about mixing:
- Dark leafy greens
- Yellow/orange veggies
- Red veggies
- Legumes (beans) and peas
- And don’t forget to throw in fruit as well!
This makes our Quinoa and Grilled Vegetable Salad a great choice because you can devour all kinds of fresh veggies in one sitting.
Plants Getting up in your Grill!
Grilling is a great way to develop flavor in a vegan salad. When a vegetable hits the grill, it caramelizes and smokes at the same time. Some veggies – such as corn, sweet potato, eggplant, and onion – can also undergo a process called the ‘Maillard reaction‘. This is basically just a chemistry term for when food browns under heat and develops extra savory flavors!
Can you say “flavor bomb”?
Also, some vegetables – like bell peppers and eggplant – can be grilled whole until their skin blackens. As a result, you get a lovely charred flavor that remains even after you peel them!
Note: we used a grill pan to cook our veggies, but you can just as easily grill them in the great outdoors!
Build a Salad Foundation with Quinoa!
We turn this vegan salad into a more hearty recipe by pairing the veggies with quinoa. In fact, quinoa is what makes this salad great as either a side dish or the main meal. Furthermore, quinoa boosts the nutrition in this salad through the roof!
Quinoa is technically a seed, but it’s used in cooking the same way as a grain. It’s very high in protein – in fact, quinoa is one of the few plants classified as a ‘complete protein’. This means it contains all 9 essential amino acids your body needs to thrive. There is also plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Quinoa is fluffy, nutty and delicious all on its own. However, we add an additional level of flavor by cooking it in veggie broth instead of water. Yum!
Zest for Life
The final step in this salad recipe is a creamy vegan dressing made with tahini. Are you familiar with tahini? It’s one of our absolute favorite ingredients. Basically, it’s a delicious paste made from ground sesame seeds – very similar to nut butter.
We convert the tahini from a thick paste into a dressing by adding olive oil and water. In addition, we add lemon juice and garlic for a zesty finish! This lightens and brightens the whole dish, due to the tartness of the lemon and sharp spiciness of the garlic.
Our last tip is to dress the salad just before serving. You don’t want it to soak the quinoa and go soggy.
The Convenience Factor
We talk about ‘meal prep’ a lot – and for good reason, since preparing ahead can make life so much easier! For a BBQ, just prepare the quinoa in advance. This way, you can grill the veggies on the spot and eat them while they’re still warm. Or, if you’re preparing lunches, cook everything at the start of the week. Load up some lunch boxes with the salad, and keep a little dressing on the side until it’s time to eat.
We hope you find this salad as tasty and satisfying as we do! Enjoy it all summer long, and don’t forget to leave a comment and a rating. Every bit of feedback helps make the blog even better!
And if you’re looking for more summer BBQ and picnic fare, check out our Tempeh Chickpea Burgers, Asparagus Quiche, and Potato Salad!Print
Quinoa Salad with Grilled Veggies + Zesty Tahini Dressing
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 14 cups / 8 servings 1x
Enjoy summer with a salad of delicious grilled veggies, quinoa and a zesty tahini dressing. This vegan salad is bright and tasty + filling and nutritious!
- 4 cups clear vegetable broth
- 2 cups quinoa
- Pinch of salt
- 14 asparagus spears, trimmed
- 14 mini sweet peppers, trimmed
- 10 ounces / 285 grams cherry tomatoes
- 3 corn cobs, husk removed
- 2 red bell peppers, leave whole
- 2 zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch / 0.5 cm slices
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into think slices
- 1 medium eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch / 0.5 cm slices
- 1 – 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- Salt and pepper
Zesty Tahini Dressing
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pour vegetable broth and quinoa into a medium size pot, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Brush vegetables with avocado oil, season with a little salt and pepper.
- Using a grill pan (or outdoor grill!), cook vegetables over medium heat until tender and lightly charred on all sides. Each vegetable will take a different amount of time to cook, so keep an eye on the veggies as they are being grilled. Remove veggies as they are cooked and set aside to cool.
- Make the zesty tahini dressing by whisking all ingredients together. If you’d like the dressing to be thinner, add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time until you achieve the desired consistency.
- Into a large bowl, add quinoa, grilled vegetables and half* of the zesty tahini dressing, stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired.
- Serve with a drizzle of remaining zesty tahini dressing. Enjoy!
- Liked here is the grill pan we use to char-grill our veggies for this recipe!
- Only half of the dressing is stirred through the quinoa and grilled vegetables, so that the salad doesn’t get soggy. However, if you’re serving immediately and to a large crowd where you think all the salad will be eaten, feel free to stir through all of the zesty tahini dressing.
- Nutritional information is to be used as a guide only as calories and nutrition vary between products and brands worldwide.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Serving Size: 1 bowl (1 3/4 cups)
- Calories: 376
- Sugar: 6.8 g
- Sodium: 639.2 mg
- Fat: 15.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 51.3 g
- Fiber: 8.2 g
- Protein: 12.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: quinoa salad, grilled vegetable salad, vegan salad recipe, tahini salad dressing
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I love this recipe because it has such simple ingredients and things that can be acquired easily. I always enjoy new ways of trying vegetables and learning the science behind the flavors.
Can you provide some information on the grilling pan you used? It looks like a stove top grill?
Also, as usual, amazing photos. You really are an artist because you take the idea to new heights.
Hi Ellen! Thank you so much for your amazing comment! I use a cast iron grill pan from Lodge. I have linked it in my blog post and here.
So happy to hear you enjoyed learning about the science behind the flavors. I’ll pass that onto Andrew!