Quinoa is one of our favorite choices for an easy, vegan meal that can be pulled together quickly without much fuss: it's packed with protein, it's flavorful, and it's filling. These quinoa salad recipes show the versatility of the pseudo-grain, each offering a unique combination of flavors. What we love so much about these salads are the colors they bring to your Meatless Monday table -- after a long Monday, we could all use a bit more vibrancy at dinnertime.
Our first pick combines the rich, unctuousness of avocado and the brightness of fresh citrus. This salad is made with sweet oranges, tart grapefruit, and an herbaceous cilantro and orange dressing you're sure to love. Bright pomegranate arils add a touch more sweetness and a spot more color, making this salad a vibrant highlight on the table (not to mention a vitamin powerhouse, what with all those superfoods).
This Hawaiian-inspired quinoa pilaf boasts a host of tropical ingredients like coconut and macadamia nuts for a true island experience. When combined with the rich sweetness of sweet potato, this recipe becomes a vacation in a bowl. Use whatever leafy greens you like to add even more color and nutrients to this dish.
Mexican quinoa salad image via Shutterstock
This Mexican-inspired salad is one of our absolute top picks, as it contains not one but two sources of vegan protein: quinoa and black beans. Add corn, red onion, tomatoes, and lime juice, and you're well on your way to a southwestern treat. The original recipe calls for cheese, but the recipe is just as tasty if you leave it out and turn this quinoa salad into a deliciously vegan dish.
Healthy Salad Image from Shutterstock
We love the unique combination of flavors in this quinoa salad: peppery arugula, sweet figs, fresh cucumber, and nutty walnuts unite for a salad that cries out to be made in autumn. Capers add a surprising zing to the salad, and fresh herbs and just-blanched asparagus round out the plate quite nicely.
Quinoa with oranges image via Shutterstock