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Crunchy Asian Quinoa Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing (dairy-free, gluten-free)

If you haven't noticed by all the recipes on this blog - I love quinoa. It's one of my ultimate pantry staples because it's nutritious and versatile in cooking. Have you ever cooked with quinoa? It's a gluten-free, high protein grain packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. I love how it cooks up quickly in about 10-12 minutes on the stove top. Any quinoa newbies can check out these quinoa cooking tips from my friends over at WellSeek. Quinoa can be used in a variety of dishes like skillet meals, soups or salad.

My clients often tell me they don't enjoy eating salads because they don't feel satisfied and become hungry shortly after eating. The Crunchy Asian Quinoa Salad is not your typical lettuce based salad - by incorporating a hearty grain (quinoa), veggies, chicken, and a home-made dressing the salad will leave you nourished and satisfied.

The Crunchy Asian Quinoa Salad is made by first steaming quinoa, and then tossing with lightly sauteed veggies - carrot, snap peas and red onion. To make this a balanced meal I simply browned chicken breasts to dice and add to the salad.


Kitchen Tip: Save yourself time on a busy weeknight by planning ahead:

Steam the quinoa over the weekend - it'll store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Make the dressing in advance - it'll store in the fridge for 3-4 days.


The salad is served with a dairy-free dressing made from cashew butter. I enjoy finding substitutes for dairy based ingredients. Like other nut butters cashew butter is simply made by processing cashews into "butter." Since cashew butter is rich in healthy fats it works as an excellent creamy base for my Asian dressing. The dressing is super simple to make - just toss all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and whirl until smooth. Crunchy roasted cashews and sliced scallions finish off the dish with plenty of texture and flavor.

Crunchy Asian Quinoa Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing

Crunchy Asian Quinoa Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing

Crunchy Asian Quinoa Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing

Active Time: 30 Minutes

Total Time: 30 Minutes

Serves: 4-6

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups dried quinoa

  • 1 pound chicken breasts

  • 2 cups snap peas, sliced

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced

  • 3 scallions, sliced (green onions)

  • 1/3 cup cashews

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  1. Begin by cooking the quinoa according to package instructions.

  2. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a medium skillet and add 1 teaspoon oil. Brown the chicken for 5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 165°. Remove chicken and set aside to cool

  3. Add veggies to the pan, stir frying until crisp tender, about 7 minutes.

  4. Once the chicken is cool, sliced into bite sized chunks.

  5. To a medium bowl add cooked quinoa, veggies and chicken. Toss.

  6. Add cashews and sliced scallions and toss. Drizzle with creamy cashew dressing.

  7. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup creamy cashew butter

  • 3 Tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger

  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • ¼ cup water


  1. To a blender or food processor add all ingredients. Puree on high until all ingredients are combined and the dressing is smooth.

  2. Store any extra in an air-tight container.

Did you try this recipe? Comment below and let me know if you liked it! You can also tag your creations on Instagram @wellfednutrition.


About the Blog

Welcome to the Well Fed Nutrition Blog. I'm Jessica, a dietitian nutritionist sharing recipes, kitchen tips and advice for life well-fed. 

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