This simple quinoa arugula salad is packed with flavors, textures and superfoods! It’s topped with a sweet and tangy citrus vinaigrette. A perfect light lunch or dinner!
It’s always great to have some easy, healthy dinner ideas ready to go! This salad with arugula, quinoa, beets and a bunch of other goodness is the perfect option!
The thing about “healthy food” (for me, anyway) is it has to:
- #1: Be flavorful
- #2: Have lot of textures
- #3: Have lots of different KINDS of flavors
This quinoa arugula salad definitely checks all of these boxes for me! The “spicy” arugula, sweet nuts and tangy dressing all marry so well in this dish making it packed with flavor.
The creamy cheese, crunchy nuts and chicken are the perfect balance of textures to make this the ultimate healthy, but un-BORING salad!
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- It’s PACKED with flavors and textures–NOT a boring salad!
- Super healthy and light!
- A cinch to make! A great weeknight dinner salad!
- The citrus dressing is delish! It’s great on ANY salad!
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Quinoa Arugula Salad:
Quinoa: I am all about making this salad as quick and easy as possible, so I use quick cooking quinoa packets that you cook in the microwave. You can also cook up a big batch of quinoa and use it for other recipes during the week as well. But think QUICK!!!
Chicken: This is a great salad to use up leftover grilled chicken or diced rotisserie chicken! You can also cook up 1-2 chicken breasts using my easy, foolproof method for cooking chicken breasts!
Beets: COOKED beets. Remember, think quick and easy! Some produce departments will sell fully cooked beets. You can opt for canned beets too–works just fine!
HOW TO MAKE THIS QUINOA ARUGULA SALAD: STEP BY STEP
Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Cook your chicken (see how to make my Perfect Chicken Breasts here). Using leftover grilled/cooked chicken is great, too! Chop into bite sized pieces when chicken has cooled.
Step 2: Whisk together dressing ingredients; set aside.
Step 3: Assemble salad ingredients together in a large bowl: arugula, chicken, walnuts, beets, quinoa, and gorgonzola.
Step 4: Drizzle with dressing, toss and serve!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Regular white quinoa is my favorite–and the one most commonly found in the grocery store. It’s light and fluffy and takes on the flavor of whatever you put on it–like the delicious dressings in this salad. However, you can use whatever kind of quinoa you can find — black quinoa and tri color quinoa are also good options.
Quinoa cooks really quickly and you can whip up a batch in the microwave in about 2-3 minutes! OR look for microwave packets for super easy cooking!
This salad holds up really well in the fridge which makes it perfect to make ahead and use for meal preps! Store salad and dressing in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Substitute for arugula: Any salad greens or spinach!
Substitute for Candied Walnuts: Any nuts work well in this salad! Try almonds or different nut “flavors” such as glazed nuts, spicy nuts, etc.
Substitute for Gorgonzola: Blue cheese is great, as well as smoked gouda or mozzarella.
Substitute for Beets: If you don’t like beets, feel free to leave them out! Carrots or even sweet potatoes would work well with the other flavors in the salad as well!
RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS
- This recipe is great with leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken. I always have my hubby grill up a few extra chicken breasts on the weekend to throw in salads like this during the week. This makes it a quick and easy meal during the week.
- Pretty much ANY nuts can be used in this salad, but I am especially partial to candied walnuts both for the sweetness and crunch-factor! I’ve also made it with pistachios and almonds.
- Don’t like beets? Leave them out or sub in another veggie!
- I like using quick cooking or microwave quinoa. The tri-colored variety looks really pretty 🙂
- This salad is a PERFECT spring or summer side dish–just omit the chicken.
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OTHER SALADS YOU’LL LOVE
- SIMPLE SOUTHWEST SALAD WITH CREAMY CHIPOTLE DRESSING
- CHOPPED THAI SALAD WITH SPICY PEANUT VINAIGRETTE
- PERFECT ORZO SALAD
Quinoa Arugula Salad with Chicken
For the salad
- 4 cups baby arugula, packed
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed See Note 1
- 1-2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 1/4 cup candied walnuts See Note 2
- 1 cup beets, diced cooked beets, See Note 3
- 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
For the dressing
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Add all other ingredients to a large salad bowl OR divide between 4 large salad plates.
- Drizzle salad with dressing and toss. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.