Spicy Peanut Quinoa Salad

I love peanut butter. Peanut butter cookies, peanut butter dipping sauce, peanut butter out of the jar… peanut butter anything! So when a late-night Google search returned a recipe for quinoa salad with spicy peanut dressing, I didn’t hesitate to bookmark it and use it as inspiration for my lunch the next day.

Spicy Peanut Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

For the veggies, I used what I had on hand in the fridge, which was cucumber as well as orange and purple carrots (read my post on the awesomeness of purple carrots). If you can’t find purple carrots, then feel-free to substitute with any other colorful veggie – purple cabbage and/or red/yellow capsicum (bell pepper) would be great.

I added cilantro (fresh coriander) and garlic because I think that they both go so well with peanut sauces, but feel free to use basil or mint if you’re not a fan of cilantro. A tablespoon or so of fresh grated ginger and/or a handful of chopped green onions would also be awesome.

Spicy Peanut Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free)I must admit… I LOVE this salad and it’s pretty much been on my weekly lunch rotation ever since I first made it. Not only is it super yummy, it’s also a really healthy and colorful way to indulge in your peanut butter cravings.

Spicy Peanut Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Updates

November 12, 2011 – I made this today with purple cabbage instead of purple carrot, and fresh mint instead of cilantro. The salad is just as pretty and tastes great. The mint and cucumber make this such a refreshing salad, and it’s a great option for people who don’t like the taste of cilantro.

Spicy Peanut Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free)April 1, 2013 – Readers have been asking me how I get perfect Julienne-cut vegetables. It’s not handy knife work on my part! I use this OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler. You could also use a mandoline – but watch out that you don’t slice your fingertips off! A Microplane Cut-Protection Glove is a great way of preventing that from happening!

5.0 from 11 reviews
Spicy Peanut Quinoa Salad
 
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Cook time
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This slightly spicy quinoa salad makes a great side dish, or a perfect lunch. Vegan / Gluten-Free
Author:
Recipe type: Main, Salad
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ medium cucumber, seeds removed and cut into julienne strips
  • 1 medium orange carrot, cut into julienne strips
  • 1 medium purple carrot cut into julienne strips (or ½ cup shredded purple cabbage and/or strips of red/yellow bell pepper (capsicum))
  • ¼ cup cilantro (fresh coriander) (or mint, or basil), chopped
  • 3 tbs smooth peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 3 tbs seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tbs tamari (or light soy sauce)
  • ½ tsp hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, hot red pepper flakes, and garlic. Add enough hot tap water (about 2 tablespoons) to thin the mixture to sauce consistency.
  3. When quinoa is ready, transfer it to the bowl, along with the veggies and cilantro, and toss to combine.
  4. Can be served immediately, but even better after having been refrigerated for 30 minutes. Keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Notes
Adapted from: http://toddholmstedt.com/resources/recipes/quinoa-salad-with-spicy-peanut-dressing

Spicy Peanut Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

67 Comments

  1. Tricia says:

    Yum! Will definitely try this one. Do you have a mandoline? Your julienned veggies are so perfect.
    xo

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Tricia – Thanks for your comment. No, I don’t have a mandoline as I have a limited “expat” kitchen at the moment. But my mom got me this julienne vegetable peeler (like this http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Good-Grips-Julienne-Peeler/dp/B0000CCY1S) which basically does the same thing. It works great if you’re just doing a few veggies, as in this case. I used it for the carrots but I did the cucumber by hand. Hope that helps! :)

      Reply
  2. This salad looks great – right up my alley! I love peanut butter and it’s a great way to sneak some more protein and healthy fats in. Definitely on my to try list :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Karla – thanks for your comment. Let me know what you think when you try it :)

      Reply
  3. YUM! This has so many of favorite ingredients–peanut butter, quinoa and cilantro! This is on my list to try–thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Agreed! All my fave ingredients too! Thanks for your comment and let me know what you think! :)

      Reply
  4. Lisette says:

    Yum! I’m in awe of you as always :) This looks great! xo

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks lady :) Will make it for us next time we’re doing a potluck – I think you’ll really like it!

      Reply
  5. Keely says:

    I finally got around to making this and it’s delicious. I didn’t have any garlic and it still tastes good, though I know it would be even better with it. Really really love this dish!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Keely – Thanks so much for your comment and I’m happy to hear how much you loved the salad. It’s now one of my faves too! :)

      Reply
  6. Caitlin says:

    this salad looks sooooooooooooo good! it reminds me of a sum tum salad that i always get at my favorite thai restaurant. i must try this!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Caitlin – Sorry for the late reply, I just noticed your comment now. You’re right, it does look like a Thai salad :)

      Reply
  7. Jennifer M says:

    Excellent! Made this tonight and it was a bit hit at our house. It reminded me of the Thai salad I used to love when I was living in Thailand. Thanks for a great and easy recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Jennifer – So glad you liked it, it’s one of my top salads/quinoa dishes. Definitely has a Thai thing going on :)

      Reply
  8. Craig says:

    Great Recipe, made it for lunches last week
    as bored of same old sandwiches for lunch
    and hadn’t tried making quinoa before
    It was really really good! Don’t like corriander but basil
    went well with it instead.
    It was so good we just made more for next week too!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Craig – Thanks for the feedback, I’m glad you liked it and that it worked out well with basil. This salad is on standard rotation when I’m at home – I just love how fresh it tastes :)

      Reply
  9. Jen says:

    Hiya

    I just made this for an afternoon snack (served a much reduced serving of course :) ). It was deeelish!

    It was so easy. I had the quinoa already on the boil before I googled to see what I could make with it using vegetables and nuts – and here you were.

    I used basil as I don’t have any coriander in my potplant garden, for some reason I have a black thumb for poor old coriander.

    I’m on an athlete’s nutrition plan and this is perfect proportions of vege, protein and fats. Thank the gods for quinoa. And Vegangela for the yummy recipe.

    J

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for the info, I’m glad to hear that it’s as healthy as I thought it was :)
      I made it myself yesterday. So good and easy. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  10. kate says:

    I just made this recipe tonight and it was wonderful and perfect for hot days. The cilantro with peanut sauce was fabulous. FYI – I also added some chopped peanuts which gave it an extra crunch. I had sliced limes on the side to squeeze on the salad. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      So glad you liked it. I love the addition of chopped peanuts and limes. It gives it a sort of Pad Thai feel :)

      Reply
  11. zubbles says:

    I’m a new follower!! I was so intrigued by this recipe – it is FANTASTIC!! I made it today and added fresh pineapple – it was really good :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I love peanut butter and pineapple – such a great combination!

      Reply
  12. Carrie says:

    Yum! I just found quinoa in Taipei and have been cooking up a storm with it ever since. I’ve never thought of pairing it with peanut butter, though. Can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      OMG I would be too. Quinoa is one of the very first things I made when I got back. It doesn’t pop up anywhere in Asia! Let me know if you try this and what you think :)

      Reply
  13. Carrie says:

    Terrific recipe! I just made it for dinner tonight and loved it. Thanks so much, Angela!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay! So glad you liked it and that it was “quinoa-worthy”, since it’s such a precious commodity where you are! :)

      Reply
  14. Grace says:

    Delicious! My husband and I “housed” the entire dish after a yoga class tonight. I am making it for a party this weekend.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Glad you guys liked it. I can definitely eat half of it in one sitting too :)

      Reply
  15. Leah says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing recipe!! I am absolutely addicted!
    It’s the perfect thing to make on a sunday night and have lunches for the whole week.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re very welcome. I totally agree – it’s one of my all-time favorite salads. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  16. thartley says:

    I made this about a week ago and both my daughter and I liked it very much. We had to use cashew butter instead of peanut butter, and it turned out delicious!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      It would be pretty amazing with cashew butter – so creamy! I’m glad it went over well, thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
  17. Angela,
    I stumbled on this cool quinoa recipe when looking for purple carrot inspiration. I am trying this today for next week lunches. You have a great blog. I hope to come back often. You like to season food well and I like that. My son lived in Toronto most of last year and consider’s him from there even though he is here in VA! haha The thai peanut salad also looks fab and will try that too. I have looked at lots of quinoa recipes and this one stands out as more unique than most that use quinoa. I will report back once my guinea pigs (my family) give it a try.

    I am not vegan but am taking an online plant based cooking course called Rouxbe and have learned so much about going more plant-based in our food choices.

    Cheers!
    Bonnie

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Bonnie, That’s funny about your son – I feel the same way about Sydney now :) Let me know what you think of the quinoa salad. It’s on regular rotation in my house. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  18. Natalie says:

    Hi Angela

    I am day 5 of a 6 week vegan eating journey. This is my first time eating quinoa. The recipe is so delicious thank you! I added some green string beans and made it a warm salad. So glad i came across your blog. Will be a regular visitor :)

    -Nat

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for the kind words! I love the addition of green beans, I’ll have to try that next time!

      Reply
  19. Heather Urry says:

    Terrific salad! I used julienned jicama instead of cucumber and the purple cabbage since there were no purple carrots available at our store. Looking forward to eating this for lunch this week. Thanks, Angela.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re welcome – those are great substitutions!

      Reply
  20. Brittany says:

    Made this for lunch today, eating it now. Topped it off with some chopped up avocado…my guilty pleasure. It is SO delicious! I am amazed by your website, it is my obsession at the moment. I am having so much fun making (and eating) your recipes!

    Also made the peach shake this morning for me and my daughter and it was a total HIT!

    Thank you SO much!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Britanny – Thanks for taking the time to write, I’m so glad you’re digging my site. Let me know what else you make :)

      Reply
  21. Beth says:

    This is one of our very favorite salads! My family requests it often for our potluck gatherings. I can’t find purple carrots, so I just grate a carrot and substitute with a cup cauliflower cut into small pieces for crunch. Yum! Thank you! You have an awsome camera by the way, your photos are wonderful.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for the kind words about my photos. I’m glad your family likes this salad. Great idea with the cauliflower. Have you tried the Raw Pad Thai? I have a feeling they’d like it too – similar ingredients and flavors: http://vegangela.com/2012/07/16/raw-pad-thai

      Reply
  22. Christine says:

    This was fabulous! I added celery, green bell pepper, and green onion to mine; I also put sliced avocado on top of each serving, and that added a lot to the flavor!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yum, those are great additions. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  23. Bronte says:

    This is seriously delish! I didn’t have purple carrots so used capsicum instead but I cooked them first as I don’t like them raw. I just ate and I am full but I can’t stop picking at it! Thank you! Amazing recipes!

    Reply
  24. cheryl l says:

    Love this recipe… your website is my ” go to” for great vegan dishes. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Wow, thank you so much, Cheryl!

      Reply
  25. Annette says:

    Thank you very much for this recipe! Even my husband – who’s a dedicated carnivore – loves it and told me we should have it more often!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That’s always good to hear! Glad you liked it, thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  26. Shal says:

    My partner and I love this recipe! It’s a staple in our house and super convenient when we don’t have anything planned for lunch. The dressing is seriously delicious too… I usually make 3 times the amount listed and use it for all sorts of asian noodle dishes. I also tweaked the recipe a bit… I add some ground ginger and honey to the dressing and use tri-color quinoa instead of white. I top the dish off with some chopped green onions as well.

    Ah, I love this recipe!

    Reply
  27. Jackie says:

    Bookmarked! Can’t wait to try this!!!. (the next time I make quinoa!)

    Hubby and I are totally new to vegan eating (this week, really) and I’m so glad I found your website. Great recipes, ideas and beautiful pictures. Well done.

    Thank you so much Angela! With such flavorful food, you’re making this easy.

    Jackie

    Reply
    • AWW what a kind thing to say. Thank YOU for that and let me know what you think of the salad :)

      Reply
  28. Jackie says:

    LOVED IT! …..and even better, Hubby LOVED IT! He said it was the best thing I’ve made so far. I guess I’ll be making this weekly. The only change I made was to add purple cabbage (no purple carrots to be found) and I threw in a small handful of chopped peanuts. Yum!

    Thanks Angela!

    Reply
  29. Janet says:

    What a wonderful sauce! Could be used on other things too. Definitely a keeper!
    If you don’t want to do all the slicing, pick up some broccolini slaw at the grocer – all the same flavors without all the work.

    Reply
  30. Jackie says:

    I made this for the first time after growing tired of my standard quinoa recipes. I subbed in raw almond butter instead of peanut butter! And used purple cabbage with red pepper as I did not have carrot. I also used garlic powder rather than raw garlic. I love this recipe! It pairs nicely with split peas mixed in for extra crunch and protein!

    Reply
    • Love the addition of split mixed peas! Must try that :) Thanks so much for writing :)

      Reply
  31. Lori says:

    I just made this recipe and I LOVE IT!!! I’ve been Vegan for a whole couple months now. I’ve had 3 close friends die from cancer in less than 4 weeks. I have 2 more close friends who have stage 4 cancer and another who has been hospitalized with Crohn’s for 4 out of the last 5 months!!! (I’m 47 and all these people are around my age or younger!!!) I believe our American Diet play a huge roll in this epidemic. My hubby and I will be moving to Belize, will live Off Gird and an Organic Lifestyle. We are transitioning now and have found that being Creative with Cooking means NOT missing Meat!! Thank You for all your recipes!!! They are easy to follow and have ingredients that are usually already in my frig!!! (or are easy to tweak with what I do have) Glad my Ortho Doc is Vegan and that I chose to give this new lifestyle a try!!!

    Reply
    • I agree 100% that food is medicine. You are what you eat! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe, it’s one of my favourites as well. Thanks for taking the time to write :)

      Reply
  32. Angel says:

    I just made this for the first time and am eating it right now.. it is AMAZING!!! I am so in love with it. I used purple cabbage instead of a purple carrot, and cilantro (my favorite). I will definitely be making this over and over again :) Thank you!

    Reply
    • I often use purple cabbage too. So bright and healthy. Glad you enjoyed it too!

      Reply
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