This quinoa salad recipe has almonds, cacao nibs and a blueberry vinaigrette. It’s an easy, gluten free and vegan meal that’s packed with superfoods for only 360 calories!
After Mr. FFF laughed at me for pronouncing “cacao” like so, I definitely googled it.
Seriously, what would we do without the internet to save us from the bad lands of wrong-word-pronunciation?
We’d all be wandering around the earth saying Kwin-oh-ahhhhh instead of Keen-wahhh and kah-nif, instead of “knife.”
Mr. Google told me that I, IN FACT, am right about the pronoun cation and the Huborama was 110% wrong to laugh at me, and tell me that you pronounce it the same way as “cocoa powder.” Just because he does awesome things like saves lives and gets A’s in organic chemistry, and I make paleo cookies for a living, does NOT mean that I do not know THINGS.
Sorry. Had to vent.
So cacao nibs. This quinoa salad recipe is their PRIMERO appearance in a recipe on FFF and I am basically sort of in <3 <3 <3 with the way their crunchy little selves burst with deep, daaaark, chocolate-y richness in every single bite of this salad. Or, really anything that would taste good with a little pop of chocolatey goodness.
Which, is basically everything in life ever. Yew know.
My taste buds were first opened to these crispy little gems when I told ya about those superfood salads that I had been eating for lunch and dinner all week long. One of the salads was the very flavor combination that you see happen’ here: blueberries, quinoa, almonds and CACAO NIBS. It was the first salad that I tried. And the last salad that I want to eat before I DIE.
Like RLLY RLLY.
Crunchy superfood, slightly bitter cacoa nibs + juicy, sweet blueberries + chewy quinoa = taste sensation in my mouth that I would like to keep happening over and over and over again, until I no longer have the strength to move my fork to my face.
Truthfully, at that point in my life, I will probably just switch over to salad face-planting. NO GIVING UP.
It was the kinda tasty-bowl-of-health that needed to be recreated and scooted into your faces’ vicinity so that you could also become one with the magic of zippy arugula tossed with creamy, fruity blueberry vinaigrette and that chocolate crunch that makes your taste buds say “OH HELLO NUTRITIOUS SUPERFOOD QUINOA SALAD RECIPE, I THINK I WOULD LIKE TO KEEP THIS RELATIONSHIP GOING ALL WEEK LONG.”
Or something to that effect.
The vinaigrette is mix-er-oo of zesty lemon juice, pulverized fresh blueberries, and sweet agave that blends together to create a perfectly-tangy-sweet vinaigrette that hugs each individual, wholesome grain of quinoa. BUT, be warned peeps, the dressing does thicken up a lot as it sits as it’s made with fresh fruit (think fruity jams.) SO, to avoid award salad situations, make it JUST before you plan to serve the salad, you dig?
Aside from vinaigrette-making-instructions, there isn’t a whole lot of other aspects of this quinoa salad recipe that could really go wrong for you.
It’s sort of a foolproof bowl of antioxidants that can really only make you pat yourself on the back for being a super-awesome person who just made super-awesome healthy AND tasty life choices.
Superfood Quinoa Salad Recipe with Blueberries and Cacao Nibs
- 2/3 Cup Water
- 1/3 Cup Quinoa
For the vinaigrette:
- 1/2 Cup Fresh blueberries
- 1 Tbsp Raw Apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp Agave
- 1/2 tsp Lemon zest packed
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 Tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive oil
For the salad:
- 6 Cups Spring mix salad blend
- 2/3 Cup Fresh blueberries
- 1/4 Cup Toasted almonds roughly chopped *
- 2 Tbsp Cacao nibs
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Stir in the quinoa, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook until the quinoa is fluffy and has absorbed the water, about 20-25 minutes.
- While the quinoa cooks, combine the blueberries, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, agave, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a SMALL food processor (mine is 3 cups) and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
- With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil and blend until combined and the dressing thickens. You should have about 1/2 cup of dressing. Pour into a small bowl to stand while you make the salad.
- In a large bowl, combine the spring mix, remaining blueberries, almonds, cocoa nibs, tossing to combine. Pour in the blueberry vinaigrette** and toss until the spinach is evenly coated. Finally, add in the cooked quinoa and toss until the quinoa is evenly dispersed and coated in the dressing.
- DEVOUR immediately! ***
Recipe Notes*I buy my nuts pre-toasted, but you can toast them in a 400 degree oven until lightly golden brown. This only takes a few minutes, so watch them closely. **While the dressing stands, it sometimes thickens a lot. If this happens, whisk it really well before adding to the salad. Once whisked, it should stay quite smooth ***Salad is best served immediately as it does dry out if your refrigerate it, due to the fruit in the dressing.
FOR THIS RECIPE, I RECOMMEND:
WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS PER SERVING: SMARTPOINTS: 10 POINTS+: 10. OLD POINTS: 8
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, PLEASE REMEMBER TO TAG @FOODFAITHFIT AND #FOODFAITHFITNESS ON INSTAGRAM! I LOVE SEEING YOUR RECIPE RECREATIONS!
Want more quinoa salads?
Vegan quinoa salads from around the web:
Quinoa Chickpea Caesar Salad – The Full Helping
Roast Spring Vegetables with Lemon & Herb Quinoa – Wallflower Kitchen
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