This Arugula and Quinoa Salad with sliced almonds and dried cranberries is a hearty, satisfying, healthy salad. Enjoy it as a main course or as a side dish. It's elegant enough for special occasions yet simple and rustic enough for any weeknight dinner.
Are you craving a refreshing and nutritious salad that's both satisfying and bursting with flavor? Look no further than our delightful Arugula Quinoa Salad recipe, with sliced almonds and dried cranberries!
This vibrant dish combines the peppery kick of fluffy arugula with the wholesome goodness of protein-packed quinoa, creating a perfect balance of textures and tastes.
Get ready to indulge in a symphony of flavors as the nutty crunch of almonds and the sweet tartness of dried cranberries elevate this salad to a whole new level of culinary bliss.
Whether you're looking for a quick and easy lunch, a vibrant side dish, or a hearty salad for dinner, this is the perfect salad. With minimal preparation and a burst of delicious flavors, this recipe is sure to become a staple in your repertoire of healthy and satisfying meals.
🌟 Why this recipe works
Once you make this healthy salad recipe, you'll want to make it over and over again!
- Easy - The steps to making this quinoa arugula salad recipe are truly easy enough for any home cook to make.
- Fast - With little prep work, you can toss together this delicious and easy salad in about 15 minutes.
- Versatile - You can easily substitute or add ingredients to suite your tastebuds.
- Plant-based protein - It's a hearty salad packed with protein thanks to quinoa.
- Can fit a variety of diets - This easy salad recipe is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, and Whole30.
- Delicious dressing - The tanginess of the vinaigrette complements the peppery arugula, while the sweetness adds a delightful contrast to the nutty quinoa, sliced almonds, and dried cranberries.
🛒 Ingredient notes
You only need a few basic salad ingredients to make this vegan salad. These are simple ingredients you can find in any local grocery store.
- Quinoa - You can use white quinoa, red quinoa, or black quinoa, but because white quinoa is the least bitter of the three, that's what I tend to use. White quinoa is also usually the most common type of quinoa found in most local grocery stores. You could also use tri-colored quinoa.
- Arugula - Peppery arugula adds a more interesting layer of crunchy greens. I like to use baby arugula.
- Almonds - Sliced almonds add a delicious crunch to every bite. You can also use crushed almonds or slivered almonds.
- Dried cranberries - These add a tart flavor as well as a little sweetness to the salad.
For the Dressing:
- Olive oil - use your favorite extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor
- Dijon mustard - love the tangy flavors Dijon mustard adds. You can substitute regular yellow mustard if you prefer.
- Lemon zest & lemon juice - for the perfect balance of acidity
- Apple cider vinegar - for a bit of tang
- Salt & pepper - use kosher salt and freshly cracked or ground black pepper for the best results
Other optional ingredients you can add to this arugula quinoa salad or use as substitutes:
- Instead of almonds, you could substitute pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts.
- Substitute sweet golden raisins or dried apricots for the dried cranberries.
- Kalamata olives or green olives
- Feta cheese
- Red onion
- sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for extra crunch
- Chia seeds, hemp seeds, or flaxseed for added nutritional value
✅ Step-by-step instructions
The full list of ingredients and detailed instructions are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. But here are step-by-step photos to help show you how easy it is to make this favorite salad!
Start by cooking a cup of quinoa (uncooked quinoa) in a large pot of boiling water, according to package directions.
- Add the salad dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- Place arugula leaves in a large salad bowl, then top with the cooked quinoa.
3. Drizzle the salad dressing over the quinoa and arugula.
4. Toss together until the arugula is coated with the dressing.
5. Toss in the almonds and dried cranberries.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
👩🏻🍳 Recipe FAQs
Yes, quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent choice for individuals with gluten sensitivity or those following a gluten-free diet. Quinoa is a seed, not a grain, and is known for its high protein content and nutritional benefits.
Absolutely! Cook the quinoa ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. Assemble the salad without the dressing, and add it just before serving to maintain the crispness of the arugula and the desired texture of the almonds.
Store the salad separately from the dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
🍽 Serving ideas
You can serve this slightly warm, or as a cold quinoa salad.
🍷 🥂 Wine pairings
Most people automatically pair any salad with a white wine. But we're not most people, you and I.
This arugula quinoa salad is a hearty dish that can stand up to a red wine. The peppery quality of the arugula would actually pair deliciously with a red wine that has some peppery notes. Think a Carmenere or a Tempranillo.
🍳 Kitchen tools and equipment
Ready to make this recipe? Here are the kitchen tools and equipment you'll need:
Arugula and Quinoa Salad
For the dressing
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 4 cups baby arugula
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions. When it's done cooking, allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: in a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, apple cider vinegar, and lemon zest.
- Place the arugula in a large serving bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, almonds, dried cranberries, and fresh mint. Toss with the salad dressing just before you're ready to serve.
- You an substitute dried apricots or golden raisins for the dried raisins.
- Substitute chopped walnuts, pecans, or cashews for the almonds
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.