Quinoa Avocado Salad

5 from 369 votes

This vegan Quinoa Avocado Salad is made with simple ingredients and a tossed in a tangy dressing. It's a protein-packed salad that works for lunch or dinner

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With protein-packed quinoa, creamy avocado, grape tomatoes, and crisp cucumbers, this Quinoa Avocado Salad will quickly become a lunchtime staple! A zippy red wine vinaigrette brings it all together, adding lots of flavor while still keeping things light.

Small bowl of quinoa avocado salad

Table of Contents

  1. Recipe At a Glance
  2. Ingredients you’ll need to make quinoa avocado salad
  3. Popular Substitutions & Additions
  4. How to Make Avocado Quinoa Salad
  5. Tips for making the best quinoa avocado salad
  6. What to Serve With Quinoa Salad With Avocado
  7. How to Store Quinoa Avocado Salad
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. More Quinoa Recipes
  10. Quinoa Avocado Salad Recipe

Not a fan of leafy greens? That doesn’t mean salad is off the menu! This avocado quinoa salad brings lots of flavor and plenty of veggies to the table, but it’s made with a base of protein-rich quinoa instead of lettuce. (For a similar idea, try this quinoa salad stuffed in avocado bowls!)

While a leafy green salad can leave you feeling hungry shortly after your meal, this quinoa salad with avocado has staying power! Both the protein and the healthy fats from the avocado and olive oil will keep you full and satisfied.

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Mediterranean meets California cuisine
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free
Key Flavor: Bright, tangy
Skill Level: Easy

Summary

  • A meal-worthy salad: This is a salad that works as a side, or you can serve it as a bigger portion (or top it with Instant Pot Shredded Chicken) to make it a meal. The combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fat creates a balanced dish.
  • Easy to make: As with most salad recipes, this one comes together with minimal effort!
  • Bright and bold flavors: The vinaigrette combines fresh lime juice with red wine vinaigrette, which gives it lots of zip and zing—just what quinoa needs to pep it up! Cilantro and lots of veggies add freshness, and Dijon gives the recipe some depth.
  • The perfect reset: Quinoa avocado salad is fantastic for those days when you need to recover after indulging a little too much. (In other words, it’s the perfect post-holiday lunch!) It delivers lots of vitamins and minerals, and it’s also satisfying while still being light.

Ingredients you’ll need to make quinoa avocado salad

Ingredients to make quinoa avocado salad
  • Uncooked Quinoa: Unless the package of quinoa says it’s pre-rinsed, give it a good rinse in a fine mesh colander before cooking with it. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating, but it easily rinses away.
  • Salt: Cooking the quinoa with salt flavors it from the inside out.
  • Water: For cooking the quinoa.
  • Grape Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are also fine, but you’ll likely need to quarter them to make them easy to eat from a fork.
  • Persian Cucumbers: Persian cucumbers have fewer seeds than garden cucumbers, which means they won’t make your quinoa avocado salad watery. English cucumbers can be substituted.
  • Red Onion: You can soak the red onions in ice water to take away some of their bite if you want a milder onion flavor.
  • Ripe Avocados: Here’s how to pick avocados.
  • Cilantro: If you’re not a fan of cilantro, I recommend substituting another fresh, soft-stemmed herb like parsley, dill, or mint.

Dressing

  • Olive Oil: You can use a good, fruity extra-virgin olive oil here, but any EVOO you have on hand will do.
  • Red Wine Vinegar and Lime Juice: These acids make for a vibrant vinaigrette.
  • Dijon Mustard: An easy way to infuse a dressing with punchy flavor.
  • Seasonings: Oregano, salt, and pepper finish the vinaigrette for this quinoa salad with avocado.
  • Make Quinoa Avocado Bowls: Use inspiration from my Mediterranean Hummus Bowl or Chicken & Quinoa Bowl and use the quinoa avocado salad as a base for a meal bowl. A scoop of hummus, pita chips, and falafel can turn this simple salad into a restaurant-style meal!
  • Give It a Mediterranean-Style Spin. Omit the avocado, swap the lime juice for extra red wine vinegar, and add kalamata olives, roasted red pepper, and chickpeas.
  • Make It Tex-Mex. Add rinsed and drained black beans, then swap the cucumber for thawed frozen corn. Omit the Dijon from the dressing and instead add taco seasoning for flavor.
  • Add More Protein. A can of rinsed and drained white beans or chickpeas will add some extra protein to this quinoa salad with avocado.

How to Make Avocado Quinoa Salad

You’re just a few minutes away from a satisfying lunch! Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Make the dressing

  1. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Whisk well until the dressing is emulsified.
Collage of two images showing assembly of quinoa avocado salad

Cook the quinoa and assemble

  1. Toast the quinoa, then add the salt and water and cook it until it’s tender.
  2. Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  3. Add the quinoa to a large bowl with the other salad ingredients.
  4. Toss to coat with the dressing.
Collage of two images showing dressing poured and tossed for quinoa avocado salad

Tips for making the best quinoa avocado salad

  1. Chop the vegetables finely. Because the quinoa looks like a fine grain, I love chopping the vegetables pretty small so that every bite has a little bit of all the vegetables and enough quinoa. It’s no fun grabbing a bite from this quinoa avocado salad and just getting a large tomato. To make it easier for chopping, I use cherry tomatoes and just halve them. I also use the small Persian cucumbers, so it’s less chopping.
  2. Don’t skimp on the ingredients. Because there are so few ingredients in the salad, be sure to use the best quality produce you can find (especially those avocados!). And it’s important that you use extra virgin olive oil because that’s the base for the dressing that really pulls it all together.
  3. Add the avocado and mix before serving. Like all salads, it’s best to toss the dressing right before you serve the salad. In this case, the salad will hold up well if tossed in advance, but it’s best to add the avocado fresh right before serving to prevent it from browning.
  4. Chill before serving. Because the quinoa has been cooked, it’s best to let it get to room temperature before mixing with the vegetables. Then, I recommend chilling it in the fridge for at least half an hour before tossing and serving.
Final plated large bowl of quinoa avocado salad

What to Serve With Quinoa Salad With Avocado

How to Store Quinoa Avocado Salad

Store any leftovers in an airtight container. If you’re not planning to finish the salad all in one day, it’s best to add the dressing only to the portion you’ll be eating right away. 

How Long Will Avocado Quinoa Salad Last in the Fridge?

Leftovers will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my quinoa always mushy?

If you have bad luck with quinoa, the culprit is likely too much water. It’s better to err on the side of less and keep an eye on the pot as it boils—you can always add more if you notice it’s looking dry! This quinoa avocado salad has the perfect amount of water, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the quinoa being waterlogged.

Can I substitute another grain for the quinoa?

Yes, cooked brown rice or another grain can be used in place of the quinoa.

Do you need to soak quinoa before cooking?

Some people do like to soak quinoa in a mixture of water and vinegar several hours before cooking, but it’s not necessary. This is done to break down the phytic acid, which causes digestive upset in some people.

Toasted quinoa in a pan for making quinoa avocado salad

This easy avocado quinoa salad is a feel good recipe filled with protein from the quinoa, healthy fats from the avocados and olive oil, and a ton of vitamins from the tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions. Serve it on its own as a side salad or lunch salad, or pair it with shrimp, salmon, or chicken for a more filling dinner portion. However you eat it, I think you’re really going to enjoy this superfood salad!

More Quinoa Recipes

If you try this feel good Quinoa Avocado Salad recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

This Quinoa Avocado Salad was originally posted on January 22, 2019. It has recently been updated with new photos and step by step images. The recipe has not changed.

Quinoa Avocado Salad

This vegan Quinoa Avocado Salad is made with simple ingredients and a tossed in a tangy dressing. It’s a protein-packed salad that works for lunch or dinner
5 from 369 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Salads
Calories 305
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
  • 2 Persian cucumbers chopped
  • ¼ red onion chopped
  • 2 large ripe avocados chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Dressing

Instructions

  • Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast for 5 minutes, or until the seeds start to make popping sounds. Add the salt and water, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large salad bowl to cool.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, Dijon mustard, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • When the quinoa is cool, add the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, avocados and cilantro. Pour the dressing on top and stir gently to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge. If you’re not planning to finish the salad all in one day, it’s best to add the dressing only to the portion you’ll be eating. 
Make Ahead Tips: You can make the dressing up to 1 week in advance and use it when ready for the salad.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However you can omit or replace any vegetables that you’d like
Equipment: I love using my Cuisinart Smart Stick hand blender for making dressings. It’s quick and easy and gets me the perfect consistency.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Sodium: 418mg, Potassium: 596mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 381IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 37mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Salads

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. My hubby was introduced to Quinoa for the first time through this salad and he’s hooked to it.
    It tasted SO GOOD. Delicious!

  2. I’m not a big fan of quinoa so is there a substitute for it?? I have an issue with certain textures on my taste buds. It looks delicious!!

  3. I loved this salad, my husband and I decided to eat meatless this past month, and this recipe was in constant rotation. We added beans for extra protein, we both had it for lunches and dinners. Highly recommend.

  4. Quinoa Avocado Salad, will make the week, all healthy ingredients… 2 proteins a plus for me . Thank you for posting.. Cher

  5. Wow! It looks so delicious. Reminds me of Tabouleh that I made a few weeks ago. Can’t wait to try this version. Thank you for this recipe. 🥰

  6. This salad was great! I love the simple ingredients. We had it for dinner and there was some left over for the next day. It tasted even better the next day. I also added chic peas to the salad. I will make this again and again.

  7. This is my first time doing the monthly challenge and we have a winner! This salad was SOOO GOOD! We had it as a side with our Sunday dinner and the remaining leftovers today for lunch. It was so versatile! Sunday dinner was with grilled chicken and lunch today was on a bed of romaine lettuce with garbanzo beans & Mediterranean spiced tuna packets added in. We LOVE the dressing (I will be making a double batch from now on to add to side salads). And toasting the quinoa is the greatest hint. So much better! My adult daughters said it tastes just like the Costco quinoa salad but better (since that one has bulghur and my celiac/GF daughter can’t eat it). Win, win, win! Thanks for supporting MECA with this month’s challenge.

  8. I made this tonight. We loved it. I think my husband would have eaten all of it if I did not suggest saving some for a side dish another day.
    I doubled the dressing recipe (to use with the leftovers) and I added a can of drained chickpeas to the salad.
    I am definitely going to make this again.

  9. I made this today for lunch and it is so delicious! I added chick peas to mine and will definitely be making it more often.

  10. I loved toasting the quinoa! The taste is so much better! I added olives and red beans and corn to mine as well 🤍

  11. Totally surprised with the flavor of this salad!
    To be honest I wasn’t into quinoa before, but toasting it makes a huge difference in flavor!
    I actually loved the salad! I topped it with some grilled chicken and it was a great meal. Thanks!

  12. I love this Quinoa Avocado salad. The dressing was so good and I am thinking of making it for other salads too. This Quinoa Avocado salad is perfect to make and eat all year round, yum!

  13. I made this salad today for lunch and it is delicious 😋 great dressing and so flavorful with all the yummy veggies. I also added chopped mint. So good 😊 ❤️ 😋

  14. This salad has become a staple lunch in my home. It is so easy and healthy and the dressing is tangy and refreshing. I often add some chickpeas or grilled chicken to it as well and it makes for a perfect lunch. Great healthy start to the New Year!

  15. I did this recipe today for lunch to go with Chicken Tawook. I added some parsley from my AeroGarden.
    So Good!!!!
    You can never go wrong with Feel Good Foodie’s recipes! Can’t wait to receive the book.
    Thank you!

  16. Simply love it! Simple ingredients that come together to make a heavenly warm soothing side dish / salad. Thank you for sharing!💋 Definitely a keeper!

  17. Crisp, fresh and delicious! Not difficult to make and pairs well with a protein. Mine was chicken and apple sausage. Whole family was pleased with “dad’s dinner!” Left the remaining undressed until lunch the next day. Thanks for the recipe, Yumna!

  18. I just prepared this salad and added some jalapeños that I had in the fridge. When we are ready to eat it I will add the avocados so they do not turn brown and the dressing. Looks really good.

  19. I made this recipe this evening. It was so simple to make and my first time making quinoa. I loved it! Two things I may try when I make this again is to add feta and sauté the red onions to bring out the flavor a bit more. This is a recipe repeat!

  20. I love it! colorful, powerful and healthy. sometimes I add sometimes some salad or protein and lunch is ready.

  21. Yummy! This salad is definitely something to feel good about! I never toasted quinoa before, so this recipe is unique for me. I absolutely love salads for meals and love learning new and tasty varieties of salads. Second time I made this, I added a “Greek touch” by replacing the cilantro with some black kalamata olives and a sprinkle of crumble feta. Tastes great too! Thank you Yumna! 💕

  22. This salad and dressing is delish. I added feta to it and it complimented it well. Definitely a must try and good with any protein.

  23. You’re so right about not wanting to eat cold salad! It doesn’t get as cold here as it does other places but this is such a tasty way to still get your veggies in plus protein. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  24. This was delicious, especially the dressing! Could pair any protein with this salad. My husband loved this salad as well!

  25. Made it for lunches this week for work so I added some shredded chicken to make it a one dish meal. So so yummy.

    1. Hi there! The recipe is pretty much the same as the previous version, the only changes are the old dressing had one clove of minced garlic, and only 1 teaspoon of Dijon. Hope this helps!

  26. Quinoa Avocado Salad…..It was a tasty treat to the very last mouthful!
    I will definitely make this salad recipe again and again.

  27. I really enjoyed this one! It was a good, healthy meal to eat after a carb-heavy holiday season. We did the “Tex Mex” substitutions and I added baked Tofu for more protein (cornstarch, avocado oil, dark chili powder, nutritional yeast, salt/pepper, ground cumin; bake at 400, flipping halfway through).
    Planning to make this a staple in the house now for lunches and quick dinners.

  28. This is a great recipe, refreshing and filling. I used bulgur instead of quinoa because that’s what we had, and it was perfect for lunch.

  29. This is a beautiful recipe that will be on regular rotation. I want to play with it more, to create additional variations, including adding feta and swapping with parsley (although I’m a huge cilantro fan – there’s no such thing as too much cilantro). Thank you so much for this delicious and healthy creation.

  30. The flavor was excellent but my quinoa was still a bit crunchy. I would definitely make it again but I would add a bit more water. I used diced tomatoes because I didn’t have grape or cherry tomatoes.

    1. Sounds like a nice addition. Sorry to hear about the quinoa, next time test the texture before combining with the salad, sometimes it might need to cook for a few more minutes based on the cooktop you use.

  31. I made this last night and it was great! I didn’t have quinoa so I subbed farro, which worked really well, and tossed in about a cup of chickpeas I had in the fridge to up the protein. The only other change I made was adding a little water to the dressing since farro absorbs a lot of liquid. I love the flexibility of this healthy salad and will be making it again.

  32. This popped up on my Facebook feed so I made it tonight! I didn’t have cucumbers or tomatoes, so I used what I had – celery plus red and green peppers. I liked how the crunch offset the quinoa, which was a little mushy since I used the boil-in-a-bag kind. I even forgot the avocado but it was still tasty. Tomorrow I may try adding in the avocado and some feta cheese for bite. Thanks!

  33. I just made this and I’m so excited for it 🙌 it was so easy to make even with kids and it will make a great lunch for the next few days!

  34. This was delicious! Thinking of adding some pomegranate molasses to the dressing next time and throwing in some chickpeas to have enough protein for dinner. Great recipe as always, Yumna!

  35. The day after my wife says she needs to eat healthier, I make her this. She loved it and I did too! It’s a keeper. Added a touch of honey to the dressing to sweeten it up a little. Delish!!

  36. I made this just now! So easy and delish. I’ll serve tonight and bet it’ll teste even better. Thank you

  37. This recipe was delicious!! Perfect balanced lunch that I made for my whole family today! Super easy to make. All of the veggies bring a nice refreshing crispness to the salad and the dressing adds lots of flavor!! I’m definitely going to make this again to bring for lunch at school.

  38. I still have a holiday party to attend and was running out of ideas for food to bring but this will be prefect!

  39. Yum! I added in sliced boiled egg for extra protein and it was so good!! This dressing is phenomenal, I will be adding it to all the salads I make, I think it would work great for couscous too! Thank you Yumna!

  40. Love this salad so much and actually love everything you made and every time I need to make a new recipe for my family always go to your channel to find a perfect recipe ❤️

  41. This is one of the best salads I’ve ever made! I add to multi-colored quinoa all the possible vegetables in all the colors to make this salad look great- cherry tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers in 4 colors, cilantro, dill, parsley, corn, avocado , red onion and mango. It is delicious!!!

  42. This was delicious! I could live on it! I sub’d orange bell pepper for tomatoes because that’s what I had on hand (and my kids love bell peppers) and it was great! Thanks for posting!! Yum!!!

  43. This salad is amazing!! Perfect for me being vegetarian and my husband loved it too. I’m making it again tonight to bring to a potluck.

          1. Instead of red wine vinegar, you could try try lemon juice! The dressing is also super customizable, so you can add balsamic vinegar as well.

  44. This dish is my go to so often that my kids know what I am making just seeing me make the dressing. It’s a perfect healthy meal that isn’t time consuming. I love the flavors!

  45. Oh.My.Goodness! I made this for the first time today and it is now one of my favorites. Not only is it packed with nutritious clean ingredients, it is also packed with flavor! It was simply delicious!

    1. It usually says how many it serves, but I’ll figure out how to share that serving size. Thanks for telling me!

  46. Loved it. Lots of flavors and textures. Delicious as a side, snack or meal. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow.

  47. Soooo easy and delicious!!! My new go to salad / side dish for everything. Wish I saw this sooner to make for summer picnics.

  48. Being vegan, it’s quite hard finding a recipe that really lives up to it’s promise. It was so good I had to help myself to a second serving(not sorry AT ALL).

  49. I can honestly say I rarely rate recipes…but this one was just SO good!! The avocado takes it to the next level! Will be making it again and again!

    1. Wow that means so much to me! Thank you so much for taking the time to rate the recipe and provide your feedback!