As a personal chef I made a lot of quinoa salads and this one was a client favorite – a sweet and savory quinoa salad with fresh dill. I sauté onions and garlic and then I make a simple vinaigrette out of olive oil, fresh lemon juice and zest, white wine vinegar, honey, black pepper and of course, lots of fresh dill. I bring it all together with grated carrot, the sautéed onions and garlic, that vinaigrette and trust me on this one, raisins. If raisins sound like a weird addition, please please PLEASE give it a try. They add little bursts of sweetness and texture to the salad, giving it the sweet and savory combo we’re looking for.
Quinoa salads like this one are great for meal prep because they hold up in the fridge and they’re super versatile. Eat as a side dish or a snack, or add to grain bowls. I also love them as a wrap or taco filling with other ingredients, like roasted tofu, chopped baby spinach and a sauce, like tzatziki or hummus.
Quinoa Salad with Raisins + Dill
1 cup dry quinoa
sea salt, fine grain (1/2 tsp for sauteing, 3/4 tsp for vinaigrette, 1/4 more to taste)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 small-medium yellow or sweet onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey or agave
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
.75 oz package of fresh dill, 7-8 stems (or more to taste), reserve some for garnish
1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup plump raisins*
Add quinoa, 2 cups plus an extra splash of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover with lid. Cook for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Turn of heat and allow to steam for 20 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with fork. Let quinoa come to room temp while you prep the other salad components.
In a medium skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat over medium to medium-high, add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and reduce to medium-low. Continue sauteeing for another 3-5 minutes, the onion should be golden brown and soft. Deglaze pan with a splash of water when needed. Turn off heat and allow to cool in pan.
Make the vinaigrette. Blend 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice and the zest, white wine vinegar, honey or agave, black pepper and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Blend. Add roughly chopped dill and pulse until finely chopped.
Mix cooled quinoa with the sauteed onion mixture, grated carrots, raisins and the vinaigrette. Season with salt to taste, I added an extra 1/4 teaspoon. Garnish salad with more fresh dill if desired.
If your raisins aren’t plump, but rather they’re hard and shriveled, soak in near boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain.
5 thoughts on “Sweet + Savory Quinoa Salad with Fresh Dill (plant-based | vegan)”
Looks delectable! I reckon this would go well with grilled button mushrooms on the side.
I feel healthier just looking at this one!
Very delicious and healthy