This quinoa arugulua salad recipe is a delicious mix of peppery leaves, sweet pomegranate and a honey garlic dressing. Super simple to make, it's a light and fresh side salad perfect for summer picnics, with BBQ food or to take to a potluck!
As the weather becomes brighter I think many of us are happy to move away from heavier comfort food dishes to light and bright salads. Quinoa is a really good ingredient to include as it provides lots of plant-based protein to make your salad a little heartier.
Some other tasty ideas include my stone fruit caprese salad and roasted vegetable pasta salad. Both are real crowd-pleasers and would work so well with this salad for a spread of plates for entertaining.
This arugula quinoa salad combines fresh produce with a fragrant honey ginger dressing. The arugula is delightfully peppery, the herbs are, well, herby(!) and the pomegranate gives tasty little pops of sweetness. This easy salad works so well as a side for meat, fish or plant-based mains.
This post was updated on 10 May 2022 with a slightly amended recipe, new photos and recipe tips.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Fresh and light. The combination of herbs and pops of sweetness from the pomegranate are so flavourful and refreshing.
- Easy to make. Just a few steps with cooking the quinoa and making the dressing. Super simple!
- Gluten free. This quinoa salad is naturally gluten free as well as being vegetarian.
All the ingredients are set out in the recipe card below, but some pointers on a few of them:
- Quinoa - I tend to use white quinoa, but you could also use a quinoa mix.
- Pomegranate seeds - these give the salad delicious pops of sweetness that work so well with the honey dressing. See this tutorial on how to prepare a pomegranate for tips on how to remove the seeds!
- Pumpkin seeds - for a bit of crunch. You want raw seeds, not those that have been roasted or salted. The Terrasoul organic pumpkin seeds are good.
Make sure to see the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and their quantities!
Variations to the recipe
Swap honey out for maple syrup. To make the salad vegan you can use maple syrup as a sweetener instead.
Increase the fresh herbs. While the arugula provides lots of flavour, you can increase the amount of fresh mint for extra 'herbiness'. Basil or coriander are also tasty options.
Swap the apple cider vinegar. If it doesn't work for you, or you just aren't too keen, then swap for white distilled vinegar (which is a lower histamine option per the SIGHI list), or lemon juice if it is suitable for you (likely not if low histamine).
Step by step instructions
A very easy side-salad, you have just three simple steps.
Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, including the dried herbs in the pan. Set aside to cool, then fluff up with a fork.
Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl or jar and stir thoroughly. Do a taste test, and add more oil or vinegar (or garlic!) to your personal preference.
Once cooled, add the quinoa to a plate or bowl along with the other ingredients. Stir to combine, and then drizzle over the dressing. Toss to coat the quinoa and leaves.
Recipe tips and notes
- You can use either white quinoa or a quinoa mix for the salad.
- Leave to cool and then 'fluff up' the quinoa with a fork before combining with the other ingredients.
- Adjust the dressing to preference. Add more oil, vinegar, honey or garlic to taste. This recipe makes a fair amount of dressing as quinoa can be on the dry side, but use the amount you prefer.
- See below for some additions to make it a main if you like!
How to make the salad more hearty
This salad is delightful as it is, but is more of a side than a lunch or dinner by itself. If you want to make it more hearty, and so a main dish, then you could add one or more of the following:
- Fresh mozzarella or goat cheese, as is suitable for you.
- More seeds or nuts.
- Add cucumber, bell pepper and/or white onion for a rainbow quinoa salad!
- Pulses or chickpeas (likely not suitable for my low histamine readers).
Saucepan - to cook the quinoa.
Small bowl and spoon - to make the dressing. You can also use a jar.
More salads to enjoy
Whether you like a more hearty dish such as my turkey pasta salad or my butternut and beetroot salad, or a fresh and light idea such as my apple radish salad, there are many to choose from on my salads page. Some recent recipes to try out:
Quinoa arugula salad
For the salad
For the dressing
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar add more to taste
- 1 teaspoon honey add more to taste
- ½ garlic clove minced or finely diced
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper optional
- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions, adding the dried herbs to the pan. Set aside to cool.
- Make the salad dressing by combining the ingredients in a bowl or jar and stirring thoroughly. Do a taste test, and add more oil or vinegar to your personal preference.
- Once cooled, fluff up the quinoa with a fork. Add to a bowl along with the other ingredients. Drizzle over the dressing. Spoon onto your serving plate.
- Fluff up the quinoa once cooled, before combining with the other ingredients.
- If you don't have pomegranate seeds to hand, then a handful of halved blueberries will give a lovely little burst of sweetness.
- Adjust the dressing to taste preference.
- For a different dressing that would work really nicely, there is my tahini dressing. And for even more pomegranate goodness, the pomegranate vinaigrette is a great option.
Swiss Interest Group Histamine Intolerance, food compatibility list for histamineAll ingredients in this herbed quinoa and pomegranate salad score a '0' on the SIGHI list, with the exception of:
- arugula isn't rated on the SIGHI list.
- apple cider vinegar, which scores '1'. If you prefer, white distilled vinegar scores 0 on SIGHI.
- garlic, which scores 1.
- black pepper, which scores 2, although it states that small amounts are tolerated. This can be omitted if you prefer.
- check the ingredients for the dried herbs.