Make-Ahead Broccoli Quinoa Salad
Updated: Mar 26, 2022
Written by: Natalie Faella, MS, RDN, LDN | March 4, 2022
I love batch cooking or making things in bulk to help save time during the week. Sometimes on the weekends I'll make a big batch of soup, or roast a bunch of veggies that I can later add to a pasta, stir fry, or grain bowl, or a big batch of quinoa or rice to be added to salads or different dinners during the week.
This is one of my favorite make-ahead meals. I usually make a big batch for Pete and I to have for lunches or dinners over the course of the week. It keeps well in mason jars or Tupperware and should keep for up to a week in the fridge. It is also gluten free and vegan.
One great thing about it is you can enjoy it a little differently each day so you won't get sick of it. Here are a few ways I've enjoyed it:
As is with avocado & dressing. I really like this salad with Tessamae's Avocado Ranch dressing or a homemade honey dijon dressing.
Topped with feta, tempeh, falafel, or hard boiled eggs (I tend to opt for the tempeh option most. It adds a nice texture and is super quick — you just have to chop it up!).
On a bed of lettuce with any of these extra toppings.
Another bonus, it is jam packed with nutrients! This salad is rich in fiber, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C (broccoli), vitamin A (carrots), vitamin E (avocado), folate (beets), and iron (quinoa & chickpeas). And those are just the main ones! This salad also provides: vitamin K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and more. Plus, quinoa is a complete protein, so it provides all 9 essential amino acids.
I sometimes call this my "Antioxidant Salad." As you can see, when we eat a variety of colorful foods, we receive a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are beneficial for our health in a number of ways, with many having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Some vitamins, like A, C, and E (the main ones in this salad), act as antioxidants, too. And when we eat certain nutrients together, it can even enhance their health-boosting benefits.
I'll never stop being in awe of the power of food!
OK, now that I've nerd-ed out on nutrition, let's get to the recipe.
*Note* Unless sharing with someone, you may want to cut this recipe in half!
2 Broccoli Heads
2 Large Carrot
3 Celery Stalks
1 Bunch Parsley
1 Can Beets (Canned is quicker, but you could cook whole beets if you prefer. 1 can = about 3 medium size beets)
1 Can Chickpea
1.5 Cup Quinoa
Salt & Pepper Taste
To be added later/at time of meal: Avocado, & Dressing of Choice
Strain and rinse beets and chickpeas (separately) and let dry. I usually cover 2 large plates in paper towel and put chickpeas on one and beets on the other.
Cook quinoa. Rinse the 1.5 cups in a strainer then place in a pot with 3 cups water. Bring water to a boil then let simmer (keeping lid on) on lowest setting until quinoa is cooked. Season with a few drizzles of olive oil, salt, & pepper, and let cool.
Finely chop broccoli. I find it helpful to separate heads and stalks then chop each (see video below). Set aside or add to large mixing bowl once chopped.
Use a cheese grater on largest side to grate carrots into small shreds. (Watch your fingers as you get towards the end of the carrot!). Set aside or add to large mixing bowl once chopped.
Cut celery in half longways then dice. Set aside or add to large mixing bowl once chopped.
Dice beets. (I recommend using a glass cutting board or cutting on a plate - beets might stain a white or wooden cutting board. You'll also notice they turn the quinoa pink after the salad has been in your fridge a few days!). Set aside or add to large mixing bowl once chopped.
Separate parsley leaves from stems and finely chop parsley leaves (discard stems).
In a large bowl, mix chopped broccoli, carrots, celery, beets, chickpeas and parsley. (Can save some parsley for garnishing, too). Add and mix in quinoa (it helps to do half at a time), salt, and pepper to taste.
When it's time to eat, add avocado and your dressing of choice. (And of course, any additional toppings you may want.)
Watch the whole process and check out some of the ways I enjoy the salad below:
My favorite version: with some added greens & tempeh!
With chopped hardboiled eggs:
With falafel + arugula:
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