Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing does not sound like the sort of recipe that would elicit an emotional reaction. Dancing around the kitchen, closing one’s eyes in culinary ecstasy, and wildly proclaiming “mmmmmm” are just not the sort of behaviors one associates with ingredients like broccoli and quinoa. Throw in the word “salad,” and you have a recipe that sounds ho-hum, not HOLD ME BACK, I WANT MORE.
Yet, that is exactly what happened the moment I took a bite of this quinoa and broccoli salad with almonds. That is just not normal.
Then again, this Broccoli Quinoa Salad, complete with crunchy almonds and a creamy lemon yogurt dressing, isn’t normal either. It’s exceptional. Audible yumming, kitchen happy dance, hallelujah exceptional.
Why I Love This Broccoli Quinoa Salad
Every element of this Broccoli Quinoa Salad works together to create a dish with elevated and bewitching layers of flavor and texture. The quinoa is light and nutty, the broccoli is crisp, the almonds are toasty, and a heaping handful of fresh tarragon and parsley makes the salad taste animated and fresh. Toss the entire shebang in a creamy lemon yogurt dressing, and you have a healthy green meal that will have you dancing in your kitchen too.
Broccoli Quinoa Salad tastes as good the day it is made as it does leftover. You can serve it at room temperature at a party or potluck or prep a big bowl over the weekend for healthy lunches and dinners all week long. If you’d like to add some extra protein beyond what is already in the quinoa, feel free to toss in some chickpeas or top it with grilled or shredded chicken.
My inspiration for this Broccoli Quinoa Salad came from Bon Appetit, a magazine to which I swore I was going to stop subscribing, partly to control the population of glossy magazines that are proliferating on our coffee table and partly because every Bon Appetit recipe I’ve tried dirties a minimum of six mixing bowls, and mama hates dishes.
In what I swore would be my final issue, I spied a recipe for a broccoli quinoa salad with buttermilk dressing, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
Plus, I just purchased a few of these pretty gold magazine racks to organize all of my subscriptions, so I think I need to keep it, don’t you?
This Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Almonds is my adaptation of Bon Appetit’s recipe. I eliminated a few steps (and their accompanying bowls), changed the ingredient ratios to be more to my liking (more green, less grain), and updated the ingredients to ones that I more frequently have on hand. For example, I replaced the buttermilk in the original dressing recipe with Greek yogurt, which offers the same tang, but is creamier, healthier, and far more likely to be in my refrigerator.
I DID keep Bon Appetit’s combination of tarragon and parsley, and I insist you do the same. The unique freshness and flavor of the two together is absolutely worth the chopping. Also if, like me, you cringe every time you place one of those expensive herb packets in your grocery cart, know that it will be absolutely worth it.
If you’re a fan of broccoli side dish recipes, you’ll love this Roasted Frozen Broccoli.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Dressing can be prepared up to 5 days in advance. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- To Store. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Recommended Tools to Make This Salad
- Stock pot with insert (I added the insert recently, and I highly recommend it. It’s perfect for blanching veggies, and, when you do cook pasta, ensuring you don’t toss out the pasta water by mistake).
- Metal measuring cups
Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Lemon Greek Yogurt Dressing
for the lemon yogurt dressing:
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons nonfat milk - or any milk you like
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest - from about 1 medium lemon
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the broccoli quinoa salad:
- 2 small heads broccoli - cut into bite-sized florets (about 6 cups)
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt - plus additional for seasoning
- 1 small shallot - finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds - or slivered almonds, toasted
- Prepare the Lemon Yogurt Dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, milk, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Taste and season with more salt as desired.
- Prepare the salad: While you are prepping the vegetables, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While it heats, fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the ice water, leaving the boiling water in the pot. Drain the broccoli and transfer it to a kitchen towel–lined baking sheet. Lightly pat dry.
- Return the water in the pot to a boil. Add the quinoa and cook until slightly al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve so that the quinoa does not slip through. Transfer the drained quinoa to a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons yogurt dressing and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Add 1/4 cup of the dressing, broccoli, shallot, parsley, tarragon, and almonds. Toss to combine. Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper to taste. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Make it ahead: Dressing can be prepared up to 5 days in advance. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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