Eight-Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Red Pepper Vinaigrette

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There’s at least eight different vegetables in this thing–maybe more. Delicious.

Have I mentioned lately that I’m obsessed with our new local farmer’s market? Yes? Well, too bad–you’re going to hear it again. I am obsessed with that place! This quinoa salad is literally just the result of me throwing every kind of vegetable we picked up during our first official trip to fresh produce heaven into the oven and mixing it with quinoa. Seriously. The first time I made it, every flavor element came right from the veggies themselves. In the half-dozen times I’ve whipped up this recipe since then, I’ve made some minor adjustments (and added a dressing to round it out!) but the core of this dish remains the same. Also, yes–our local farmer’s market has shiitake mushrooms. Incredible.

The red pepper dressing was hugely inspired by a Wegman’s red pepper vinaigrette that I adored… before realizing it wasn’t actually vegan. It still holds a special place in my heart, but once I tried my hand at putting together my own version there is definitely no going back! Everything I loved about the original store-bought version has been completely enhanced in my homemade vegan version, and it’s so simple to throw together in this dish that it takes barely any extra effort at all! I simply roast what needs to be roasted on the same pan as all of my other vegetables, and separate them out to be blended when the timer goes off. Tahini proved to be a great substitute for the cream used to thicken the original dressing, too, and I made a few additional swaps for taste like using red wine vinegar instead of white vinegar. Overall, I’m extremely happy with how it turned out, and I’ll definitely be keeping a jar of it on hand in the fridge for any mid-week lunchtime quinoa salad cravings!

Roasted red pepper dressing pictured in the tiny mason jar to the left. Check out that orange liquid goodness!

One of the most interesting parts about moving toward a fully plant-based diet (which I spoke a bit about in my shrimp crostini post) has been learning more about nutrition as a whole. Rather than just keeping a rough tally of how many calories I’ve eaten on a given day, I’ve found myself focusing more on things like vitamins, minerals, and basic food categories instead. Doing so has helped to improve my relationship with food as a whole, in addition to making me feel healthier and happier with my overall choices. This dish specifically hits every major checkbox for what I’d consider a satisfying, filling, and nutritious meal. Fiber and carbs from the quinoa, vitamin D from the spinach and mushrooms, vitamin C from the tomatoes and peppers, iron from the onions, protein from the sweet potato and chickpeas, and healthy fats from the olive oil and tahini. Not only does this quinoa salad taste great, but it’s great for your body, too!

This recipe makes four servings.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, dried
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 15 oz chickpeas (about 1 can)
  • 2 cups spinach, fresh
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3-4 roasted red peppers (from jar)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 1/2 tsp divided
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp honey/maple syrup
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp divided

Directions:

  1. Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a rice cooker and begin cycle, or use the stovetop method.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F.
  3. Chop sweet potato, bell peppers, and jalapeno into bite-sized (about 1-inch) chunks. Chop onions (all three) into quarters. Slice grape tomatoes in half.
  4. Toss vegetables from step 2 and rinsed/drained chickpeas in garlic powder, chipotle powder, salt, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Spread evenly on baking sheet.
  5. Wrap garlic cloves, black pepper, 1/2 tsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small piece of parchment paper to make a garlic roasting packet. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet with the vegetables.
  6. Roast vegetables and garlic for 20 mins at 425F.
  7. Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Tear shiitake mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and add to the skillet with soy sauce. Saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms have absorbed most of the soy sauce and become lightly toasted.
  8. Remove mushrooms to the side and add spinach to the still-hot skillet. Saute until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  9. When the vegetables have finished roasting, add all dressing ingredients (including the now-roasted onion and garlic) to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste if necessary.
  10. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, roasted vegetables and chickpeas, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, and about 1/2 dressing. Toss to coat. Enjoy.

This recipe can be eaten warm, room temperature, or cold, and keeps great in the refrigerator for several days. I’ve used it as a meal prep for myself more than once, and eaten lunch leftovers for dinner on days I don’t feel like cooking. Whether reheated or not, it still taste great. The dressing keeps wonderfully in a sealed mason jar in the fridge, as well, and can be used on more than just this quinoa salad! Alex has been eating it on mixed green salads with rotisserie chicken over the past couple of days, and has really enjoyed having something different on-hand for lunch!

Enhance… enhance… enhance!

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Salad
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 572kcal

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa dried
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 onions medium
  • 1 sweet potato medium
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 bell peppers large
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 15 oz chickpeas (about 1 can), rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups spinach fresh
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Dressing Ingredients

  • 3-4 roasted red peppers from jar
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 1/2 tsp divided
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp honey/maple syrup
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp divided
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Add quinoa and vegetable broth to a rice cooker and begin cycle, or use the stovetop method.
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Chop sweet potato, bell peppers, and jalapeno into bite-sized (about 1-inch) chunks. Chop onions (all three) into quarters. Slice grape tomatoes in half.
  • Toss vegetables from step 2 and rinsed/drained chickpeas in garlic powder, chipotle powder, salt, and 2 tbsp olive oil. Spread evenly on baking sheet.
  • Wrap garlic cloves, black pepper, 1/2 tsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small piece of parchment paper to make a garlic roasting packet. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet with the vegetables.
  • Roast vegetables and garlic for 20 mins at 425F.
  • Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Tear shiitake mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and add to the skillet with soy sauce. Saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the mushrooms have absorbed most of the soy sauce and become lightly toasted.
  • Remove mushrooms to the side and add spinach to the still-hot skillet. Saute until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • When the vegetables have finished roasting, add all dressing ingredients (including the now-roasted onion and garlic) to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste if necessary.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, roasted vegetables and chickpeas, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, and about 1/2 dressing. Toss to coat. Enjoy.
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