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Easy Quinoa Salad Bowl With Avocado Cilantro Dressing

posted May 28, 2022
by Cassandra Morris
Make this nutritious, veggie-loaded quinoa bowl recipe topped with a creamy avocado cilantro dressing. It’s simple, meal-prep friendly and so yummy!

Today, I’m sharing with you one of my favorite make-ahead recipes: a veggie-loaded quinoa salad bowl with (the yummiest!) avocado dressing. 

If it’s going to be a busy day, you bet I’m gonna be digging into this – one thing I’m vowing to do this year is to never let myself get hangry. In under 20 minutes, I can put together an insanely delicious and seriously healthy meal in one bowl, ready to go. And the avocado cilantro dressing is the cherry on top. 

Some of my readers have asked if this is a raw vegetable salad, and actually, while that might be nice, I should clarify that the vegetables will be slightly sauteed. 

This quinoa bowl recipe can appeal to almost anyone, because: 

  • It’s a gluten-free salad – Quinoa is a gluten-free grain, hooray!
  • It’s a vegan Buddha Bowl – This entire recipe is 100% plant-based.
  • It’s the perfect make-ahead meal for busy people – You only need 20 minutes of your time to cook this, any vegetables or fruits in the fridge will do!
  • It’s a super nutritious dish – Health-conscious eaters will be happy to know that this salad is packed with nutrients, thanks to the variety of vegetables and the nutrient-rich quinoa. 

And here’s the best part: You have full control over what goes into your salad. Your final product may not look the same as mine, and that’s okay. You don’t need to make an extra trip to the grocery store just to get these exact ingredients in my quinoa bowl recipe. 

This recipe is just a guideline, so trust your guts and choose the ingredients that’ll make you the happiest! Take a peek at my suggestions at the bottom of this post. 

Recipe Ingredients

Find out exactly what goes in my colorful, veggie-loaded quinoa bowl. Remember: this is just a guideline. 

  • Dry quinoa – This is the main carb in this recipe, and I prefer to use white quinoa from Bob’s Red Mill. You can also use red or black quinoa if you’d like!  
  • Vegetable broth – Some recipes only use water to cook quinoa, but vegetable broth will give us more umami. 
  • Olive oil – For sauteing some of the vegetables. Using olive oil to cook the vegetables helps release their natural flavors as well as soften them.  
  • Vegetables – My choice of vegetables for the salad bowl include minced garlic, minced green onion,  corn kernels, diced zucchini, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and fresh baby spinach.
  • Seasoning – Season the sauteed vegetables with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

To make avocado cilantro sauce, simply blend these ingredients in a food processor: 

  • Large avocados – We will need 2 large ripe avocados. These high-fat fruits will contribute to the luscious texture of the sauce. 
  • Cilantro and garlic – Absolute must-haves in this recipe. 
  • Olive oil – Just a light drizzle to grease the dressing. 
  • Lime – Freshly squeezed lime juice or lemon juice for a hint of citrus. 
  • Seasoning – Salt and pepper seasoned to taste.
  • Water – Optional. Water helps to thin out the texture and mellow down the flavor of the sauce. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step One: Cook the quinoa. Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil and add 1 cup of quinoa. Cover, reduce heat to medium and let simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pot from heat, fluff the quinoa with a spatula, and set the pot aside to cool.

Cooked Quinoa in a pot | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step Two: Make the avocado cilantro dressing. (Please see the next section for detailed steps.) 

Avocado Cilantro dressing in a bowl | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step Three: Cook the vegetables. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, saute the green onions and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes (or until their flavors are released). Cook the asparagus, corn, and zucchini with the salt and pepper, sauteing for 8 to 10 minutes (or until soft).

Step Four: Combine the cooked quinoa in ¾ cup of avocado cilantro dressing and stir well. The quinoa should be all green now. Toss the cooked veggies with the quinoa and combine well. 

Step Five: Top off with the remaining dressing. Add in the cherry tomatoes and baby spinach, stirring the quinoa salad bowl until well combined.

Bon Appetit! 

Quinoa Salad Bowl With Avocado Cilantro Dressing | cookingwithcassandra.com

How To Prepare Cilantro Avocado Dressing

Even if you end up making something else that’s not this quinoa salad recipe, promise me you will keep this recipe for the avocado cilantro dressing. 

Like this yogurt sauce Delicious Steak Salad With Yogurt Dressing, it’s a five-minute sauce that you can dollop onto pretty much any dish for that extra oomph

First, slice the avocado into half lengthwise and remove the seed. Scrape the avocado with a spoon and dice it small enough to be blended. Give the cilantro and garlic cloves a rough chop (this helps ensure everything is fully blended).  

Blend the avocado, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Your sauce should have a smooth and creamy texture. 

  • Pro Tip: If you like a thinner dressing, gradually mix water until you reach your desired consistency. 

Don’t forget to bookmark this recipe! 

Avocado Cilantro Dressing | cookingwithcassandra.com

Other Healthy Variations (Or Addins & Toppings)

Add a personal touch to your quinoa salad bowl by using your favorite ingredients! If I’m feeling creative, I’ll vary my recipe in a few ways: 

  • Sweet potato and juicy pomegranate seeds 
  • Fried tofu, salmon flakes, and edamame
  • Grilled shrimp, butternut squash and brussels sprouts
  • Black beans, roasted vegetables, and shredded chicken

What toppings do you think go well on this quinoa bowl? Let me know in the comments! 

Storage Instructions

Kept tightly covered in the fridge, this quinoa salad bowl is perfect to make-ahead or meal-prep for up to 5 days. It’s best to store the remaining dressing in a separate container to prevent your quinoa bowl from becoming soggy. 

When ready to serve, simply enjoy it cold or at room temperature. If it feels a little dry, you can opt to restore the moisture by stirring in a little bit of olive oil or cooked vegetable broth, whichever you like.

Quinoa Salad | cookingwithcassandra.com

Quinoa Salad Bowl Recipe

Make this nutritious, veggie-loaded quinoa bowl recipe topped with a creamy avocado cilantro dressing. It’s simple, meal-prep friendly and so yummy!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

AVOCADO CILANTRO DRESSING

  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime freshly squeezed
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons water optional to thin add to taste

QUINOA SALAD

  • 1 cup dry Quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup green onion finely minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup zucchini diced
  • 1 cup asparagus tough ends trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the quinoa: Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil in a 2 quart pot. Add 1 cup of quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and let simmer until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff, cover and set aside to cool while you are preparing the rest of the recipe.
  • Make the dressing: In a blender or food processor blend all of the Avocado Cilantro Dressing until smooth and creamy. If you like a thinned dressing just add a little water until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Cook the vegetables: Add 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the green onions and garlic sauteing for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus, corn, and zucchini with the salt and pepper and cook, stirring a few times, for 8-10 minutes.
  • Combine: Toss cooked quinoa in ¾ cup of dressing and stir well.
  • Add cooked veggies to quinoa and stir well to combine.
  • Add some or all of the remaining dressing.
  • Stir in cherry tomatoes and spinach until well combined.

Hi, I’m Cassandra!

I’m a proud wife, dog mom, food lovin’ Canadian girl, former TV reality show personality, wine lover and on a mission to make living a healthy + balanced lifestyle easy for everyone.

More about me

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Hi, I'm Cassandra!

I'm a proud wife, dog mom, food lovin' Canadian girl, former TV reality show personality, wine lover and on a mission to make living a healthy + balanced lifestyle easy for everyone.

More about me

Never miss a recipe!

Sign up for free recipes straight to your inbox:

Free E-Cookbook!

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Subscribe & receive my favourite 10 Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes in an easy e-cookbook format!

Jujeh kabab - Eating | cookingwithcassandra.com

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