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Vegan Protein-Packed Quinoa Salad Recipe for Sugar Detox

When building recipes for a sugar detox plan we love to focus on plant-based, mostly vegan foods that help your body change what it craves during this reset. Quinoa, the base of this salad, is a complete protein source, providing all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. This makes it an invaluable component of a vegan or vegetarian diet, especially during a sugar detox when stabilizing blood sugar levels is crucial. The high fiber content in quinoa aids in slow sugar absorption, preventing spikes in blood sugar that can lead to cravings. Quinoa is also rich in magnesium, a mineral that plays a vital role in energy production, further supporting the body's adjustment to reduced sugar intake.

The addition of mixed vegetables like bell peppers, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes introduces a spectrum of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals to the salad. These plant-based ingredients are known for their antioxidant properties, which help combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body—common side effects of high sugar consumption. Antioxidants such as lycopene in tomatoes and beta-carotene in bell peppers not only support the body's natural detoxification processes but also promote heart health and improve skin quality. The fiber from these vegetables also contributes to a feeling of fullness, reducing the likelihood of reaching for sugary snacks.

The dressing, with its base of extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, adds a healthy dose of mono-unsaturated fats and vitamin C. Olive oil's anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to promote healthy cholesterol levels make it an excellent addition to a sugar detox diet. Lemon juice, on the other hand, not only adds a refreshing zest to the salad but also enhances iron absorption from the plant-based ingredients, ensuring that the body is well-nourished and energized. The overall synergy of these ingredients in the Quinoa Salad supports the body's detoxification pathways, aids in maintaining stable blood sugar levels, and provides a wealth of nutrients essential for optimal health, making it an exemplary dish for anyone looking to detox from sugar while enjoying delicious and nourishing meals.

What you'll need:

For the Salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth (for cooking quinoa)
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (choose your favorite color)
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped (optional, but recommended)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (ensure it's gluten-free if necessary)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:

  1. Cook the Quinoa:

    • Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a fine-mesh strainer to remove its natural coating, which can be bitter.
    • In a medium saucepan, bring the 2 cups of water or vegetable broth to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Prepare the Lemon Vinaigrette:

    • In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, minced garlic, and Dijon mustard until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Combine the Salad:

    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, chickpeas, diced bell pepper, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, parsley, and mint. Toss until well mixed.
  4. Dress the Salad:

    • Pour the lemon vinaigrette over the salad and toss until everything is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chill and Serve:

    • For the best flavor, let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

This Quinoa Salad with Mixed Vegetables and Lemon Vinaigrette is a powerhouse of nutrients, providing a substantial amount of vegan protein from both the quinoa and chickpeas. It's perfect as a hearty main dish or a filling side, ideal for meal prep, picnics, or any gathering where you want to offer a healthy, protein-rich option. Enjoy your delicious and nutritious creation!

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