In last month’s reader survey a lot of you asked for more vegetarian entrees and more one-pot meals. Well this Warm Quinoa and Arugula Salad is both vegetarian (vegan in fact) and it is made in one pot. Double win! It also happens to be naturally gluten-free.

Warm Quinoa Arugula Salad in a large bowl

I originally shared this one-pot vegan quinoa and arugula salad recipe on January 12, 2012. I have updated the images and some of the text today. 

Why We Love This Recipe For Quinoa Arugula Salad

A show of hands, who likes to do dishes? Oh that’s funny, me neither. It’s not that I really dislike dishes, it’s just I would rather be playing mancala with my kids than be elbow deep in bubbles and dirty dishes. Call me crazy!

So because of that, the thing I like best about this dish is hands down the fact that it all comes together in one pot. However, the thing about cooking in one pot is that flavors can fall flat if you don’t take care to develop them. Especially if the dish is vegan like this one. Trust me, when I came up with the concept for this warm quinoa salad I was tempted to use more than one pot. But I wanted to see if I could make it taste really good and keep the one pot promise.

And guess what! It tastes great, because I made sure to boost the flavors of the quinoa two times. First I cooked it with sautéed shallot, herbs and sweet bell pepper. The quinoa cooks in the liquid with these caramelized vegetables and takes on their flavor. All that is mounded on top of a pile of peppery greens and drizzled with a zippy whole grain mustard dressing.

The results were beyond yummy and I only had one pot to wash! Plus, if you find yourself loving this quinoa recipe as much as I do, I highly recommend checking out my Mediterranean Quinoa Salad and this recipe for Black Bean Quinoa Salad with Mango. For the holidays try my Gluten-Free Quinoa Stuffing and this Vegetarian Quinoa Pilaf with Pumpkin as well. Don’t miss this Blueberry Quinoa Tabbouleh this summer too! For a simple side our Lemon and Almond Quinoa is a basic that stands out at the same time!

Two bowls with Warm Quinoa Arugula Salad on a table

Ingredients For This Quinoa Arugula Salad

Baby arugula

Arugula is one of my favorite salad greens because of its peppery and spicy kick. It helps brighten up salads, meaning you could even get away with eating it plain with some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Some arugula has more flavor depending on its maturity. Baby arugula is milder, while mature arugula is spicier.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a great grain substitute to add to salads. It is technically a pseudo-cereal and is not as heavy and dense as rice in dishes. It’s a great source of protein and comes in a few different colors. So if you want to get crazy, go ahead and buy a mixed bag of quinoa at the store. Just note that it takes a few minutes longer to cook than plain white quinoa.

Other Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
Warm Quinoa Arugula Salad in a pot with a serving spoon

Step by Step Instructions to Make This Recipe

Step 1: Cook veggies & quinoa

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add red bell pepper, shallot, herbs de provence and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 2 ½ cups water and quinoa, then cover, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, undisturbed, until the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 2: Make dressing

While the quinoa cooks, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, cider vinegar, mustard, agave (or maple) and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper in a small dish. Set aside until ready to serve.

Step 3: Plate & serve

Divide the arugula among 6 plates. Drizzle half of the dressing over the arugula. Mound quinoa on the arugula (about 1 cup per plate) and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Grind more pepper on top if desired.

Quinoa Arugula Salad in a pot with a serving spoon and two plated bowls alongside

FAQs and Expert Tips to Cook Quinoa

Why should you rinse quinoa?

It’s important to make sure your quinoa is pre-rinsed before cooking. If the package doesn’t say pre-rinsed, you’ll want to rinse it yourself. This helps get rid of the bitter-tasting layer that coats the seeds. If you don’t rinse it, it won’t taste nearly as good.

How do you rinse quinoa?

Place the quinoa into a fine mesh sieve and let cool tap water run through it for several minutes to allow the saponin to wash off. Saponin is a naturally occurring chemical the quinoa plant produces to deter pests. It tastes bitter and soapy, so that’s why we wash it off! 

How long to cook quinoa:

Cooking quinoa is a lot like cooking white rice. You use one part quinoa to two parts liquid. Bring it to a simmer, cover and let gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re using darker colored quinoa, it may take a bit longer (just as brown rice does).

How to tell the quinoa is done:

You can tell the quinoa is fully cooked when the liquid is absorbed and the germ has burst open (it looks like a white thread like tail on each grain of quinoa). They should feel tender to the bite.

Additional Vegetarian Recipes with Arugula

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Warm Quinoa Arugula Salad | Healthy Seasonal Recipes #glutenfree #vegan #quinoa #vegetarian

One Pot Vegan Quinoa and Arugula Salad Recipe

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: main course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Quinoa cooked with shallot and red bell pepper, served over arugula with a simple apple cider vinegar dressing for an easy gluten-free and vegan meal.


Scale

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 ¼ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon agave or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 9 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add red bell pepper, shallot, herbs de provence and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 2 ½ cups water and quinoa, cover, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook, undisturbed, until the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, cider vinegar, mustard, agave (or maple) and ¼ teaspoon ground pepper in a small dish.
  3. Divide arugula among 6 plates. Drizzle half of the dressing over the arugula. Mound quinoa on the arugula (about 1 cup per plate) and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Grind more pepper on top if desired.

Notes

Rinsing Quinoa:

It’s important to make sure your quinoa is pre-rinsed before cooking. If the package doesn’t say pre-rinsed, you’ll want to rinse it yourself. This helps get rid of the bitter-tasting layer that coats the seeds. If you don’t rinse it, it won’t taste nearly as good.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups greens plus 1 cup quinoa
  • Calories: 230
  • Sugar: 4.5 g
  • Sodium: 442 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 6 g