Warm Quinoa Salad with Fresh Figs, Walnuts, and Capers

Quinoa salad with fresh figs, asparagus, and mint

This quinoa salad makes for the most deliciously fashionable entrance into autumn. It hosts a variety of unique textures and flavors that come together as the perfect medley for a light and wholesome lunch or a light dinner (or a damn delicious breakfast, let’s be real).

The high-fiber, high-protein, comforting quinoa balances peppery arugula and gives the resulting salad a crave-worthy texture, definitive chew, and nutty overtone. Then come the fresh figs. Their delicate, sweet, and lightly earthy qualities complement the mix just right and add a note of seasonal character. Asparagus bring the snap while walnuts offer a dense bite. Mint rises to the occasion and lifts your senses, making each bite feel light, airy, and cool. Meanwhile, the occasional caper punches your senses (in a good way) with a slight briny sourness.

While this quinoa salad is perfect as is, feel free to remove or add any ingredients you’d like. You can even replace the quinoa with another grain such as rice, farro, or millet. Some people aren’t huge fans of arugula, so to tone down the flavor a bit, why not use spinach or kale? Don’t have walnuts? Try chopped almonds or hazelnuts. The sky’s the limit, but for now, I’m digging into this quinoa recipe exactly as it is. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad with Fresh Figs, Walnuts, and Capers

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup chopped blanched asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 3 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 large handful arugula, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • Handful fresh mint, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 8-10 fresh black mission figs, quartered

Directions

Blanch the asparagus and cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Gently toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve while quinoa is still warm or cover the bowl and set it in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors marry together. Enjoy!

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Healthy Salad Image from Shutterstock

Aylin Erman

Aylin is founder of GlowKitchen, a food blog with an emphasis on vegan and gluten-free fare. Aylin has been living in Istanbul, where she is founder and CEO of a cold-pressed juice and healthy foods company JÜS (www.jusistanbul.com).