You’ll love the crisp green Brussels sprouts shredded into this exciting vegan quinoa salad with dried apricots, sunflower seeds, and pepitas. The homemade vinaigrette is fabulous!

Overhead view of a white bowl filled with quinoa and colorful vegetables.

A vegan quinoa salad that has so much going for it, you’ll want to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I know I do! This salad has just the right elements to make it appealing all day long.

Shredded emerald green Brussels sprouts provide a crisp counterpart to filling quinoa, with chewy sweet bits of dried apricot, vivid orange carrot ribbons, and nutty seeds. Dressed with a mildly sweet but tangy maple vinaigrette and subtly flavored with cardamom, the salad is so flavorful, not spicy-in-your-face, but gentle and interesting.

Whether you are vegan or not, whether you’re a quinoa fan or not, whether you love Brussels sprouts or not, I know you’ll love this salad because the sum total of all the parts is so delicious!

Vegan quinoa salad in a bowl.

About this vegan quinoa salad:

You could call this vegan quinoa salad a “Buddha bowl” or grain salad. This type of salad is so popular and with good reason.

  • nutritious (packed with healthy grains, vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts)
  • filling (lots of protein and complex carbs that stick with you)
  • easy to make
  • versatile (use what you like or happen to have in the house)
  • portable (great for lunchboxes or picnics)
  • keeps well in the fridge 
  • never boring (lots of different elements in every bite)

I almost always have cooked quinoa in my fridge or freezer. I like to use this gluten-free grain to make quinoa salads, quinoa soup, quinoa stews, quinoa tacos, and even quinoa pancakes! It’s easy to prepare, mild-tasting, and freezes well.

Quinoa is the base of this vegan quinoa salad. I bet you didn’t guess that, right?! So, now that I’ve stated the obvious, let’s move on. For this salad, I recommend cooking the quinoa with vegetable broth to add even more flavor. Add chopped dried apricots right to the pan so they soften a bit as the quinoa cooks.

Shredded Brussels sprouts are the next big component of this salad. You can use a food processor to shred the sprouts, or just slice them very thinly with a sharp knife. Use a vegetable peeler to make beautiful orange carrot ribbons. Weirdly, I think it’s kind of fun to make carrot ribbons. 

I add thinly sliced red onion to provide crunch and just a bit of sharp flavor.  Soak the sliced onions for ten minutes in ice water so your salad isn’t overpowered by onion flavor.

Speaking of crunch, sunflower seeds and pepitas add a nice flavorful nutty bite to the salad. Toast the seeds first in a small skillet for optimum flavor. If you don’t have both kinds, no problem. Just use one or the other, or another nut of your choice.

Throw in a handful of chopped parsley, stir up the vinaigrette, and mix it all together. It’s ready to eat right away or it will keep in the fridge for up to a couple of days. Quite honestly, this salad doesn’t last long at my house!

Overhead view of a shaved brussels sprouts salad with quinoa and red onions.

How to make this quinoa salad recipe your own:

Like I mention above, grain bowl salads are endlessly versatile. If there’s something in this salad you don’t like, leave it out. Go ahead and substitute (or add) all your favorite things. My mom loves to add gorgonzola cheese, and I often add feta cheese. 

  • Add more protein. Cheese, chickpeas, even chicken could be added to the salad.
  • Substitute finely chopped cabbage, spinach, or kale for the Brussels sprouts.
  • Instead of seeds, use toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts.
  • Replace the dried apricots with another dried fruit, such as golden raisins, dried cranberries, or cherries
  • Try a different grain: farro, brown rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), or couscous (which is really a pasta, not a grain).

Hearty quinoa salad in a white bowl with a black spoon.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

The entire salad can be made at least a day in advance. Store it in a tightly covered container in the fridge.

Or, prepare the elements of the salad and store them separately. Cook up the quinoa, shred the Brussels sprouts, make the carrot ribbons, toast the seeds, make the dressing. Stir them together just before serving.

Quinoa salad in a white bowl on a light grey background.

Grain salads/Buddha bowls

Excited about vegetarian grain salads that make your taste buds sing and your body happy? So am I! Here’s a few more recipes for you:

 

A white bowl filled with colorful salad with quinoa, brussels sprouts, carrots, and red onions.

Vegan quinoa salad in a bowl.

Vegan Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts & Pepitas

Yield: 12 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

You'll love the crisp Brussels sprouts shredded into this exciting vegan quinoa salad with dried apricots, sunflower seeds, and pepitas, The homemade vinaigrette is fabulous!

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  • ⅔ cup untoasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ⅓ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 16 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded
  • 1 or 2 carrots, cut into ribbons with vegetable peeler
  • ½ large red onion, sliced or chopped (see note)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Dressing

  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine broth, quinoa, and apricots in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Spread the quinoa on a rimmed baking sheet to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toast pepitas and sunflower seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, until golden brown. Immediately transfer to a plate to cool.
  3. Whisk vinegar, oil, maple syrup, mustard, cardamom, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add the cooled quinoa, Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, and parsley; stir to combine. Salad can be served immediately or refrigerated for up to one day.
  4. Just before serving, mix in pepitas and sunflower seeds. If desired, reserve some for garnishing the salad.

Notes

  • If desired, add cheese. Feta, gorgonzola, blue cheese, or goat cheese would be good choices.
  • Substitute finely chopped cabbage, spinach, or kale for the Brussels sprouts.
  • Instead of seeds, use toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts.
  • Try a different grain: farro, brown rice, bulgur (cracked wheat), or couscous (which is really a pasta, not a grain).

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 248Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 621mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 12g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

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