Quinoa Roasted Vegetable Chopped Salad {Thai Chili Vinaigrette}

Quinoa Roasted Vegetable Chopped SaladIt’s no secret that I could live off of cupcakes and salad. Salad and cupcakes.

I should probably just rename my blog “Cupcakes & Salad”.

My tagline could be “Eating salad to save room for more cupcakes!”

Quinoa Roasted Vegetable Chopped Salad

But that would be a lie, because I LOVE salad.

The salad can be cold or warm with roasted vegetables. I don’t play favorites, but I do flit from obsession to obsession like a butterfly.

And like every other salad I’ve ever posted on AHC, I have eaten this quinoa roasted vegetable chopped salad (or some variation thereof) everyday for about a month. Creature of habit.

Quinoa Roasted Vegetable Chopped Salad

I LOVE roasted vegetables. Especially sweet potatoes, baby potatoes and onions. And when you toss all those roasted vegetables in with chopped kale and spinach and a healthy dose of quinoa, you have a winning combination.

Like all good salads, this one can be easily adapted to whatever vegetables you have on hand. It is delicious with roasted sweet potatoes instead of baby potatoes, or with roasted cauliflower. Especially cauliflower.

I posted a photo of my new favorite “secret sauce” on Instagram several weeks ago, and this, my friends, is the secret sauce. It has heart-healthy walnut oil, rice wine vinegar, garlic and roasted red chili paste. Mix all that up with some brown sugar and you’ve got a dressing that will liven up any salad.

Quinoa Roasted Vegetable Chopped Salad

I brought this quinoa roasted vegetable chopped salad on the plane with me when I visited my Grandparents in Virginia and my parents on Bald Head Island.

I don’t do airport food. Yes, I got the occasional odd stare but mostly I got envious glances from the fellow passengers. I could read the jealousy on their faces as they glanced down at the ever-shrinking, standard issue, plain plane peanuts…why didn’t they think of making a chopped salad the night before with kale, spinach, roasted vegetables, walnuts, grapes and feta cheese?!

I bet they will next time.

A large bowl of this salad makes a delicious vegetarian (and gluten free) meal, but it can also be served as a side dish with my Foolproof Rosemary Chicken or Fiery Chili Chicken Burgers.

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Quinoa Roasted Vegetable Chopped Salad

Quinoa Roasted Vegetable Chopped Salad {Thai Chili Vinaigrette}

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 2 Generous Servings 1x


This easy Quinoa Roasted Vegetable Chopped Salad has a delicious and healthy Thai Chili Vinaigrette! A gluten free, vegetarian filling main course or side!



For the Salad:

  • 3 lbs baby potatoes (or sweet potatoes! Yum)
  • 2 red onions, cut in 1 inch sections
  • 5 stalks dinosaur kale (aka lacinato kale or Tuscan kale)
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach (I have big hands, so you might want 3…just sayin’)
  • ½1 cup cooked quinoa (use as much or as little to your preference)*
  • chopped walnuts
  • red grapes, sliced in half
  • handful fresh basil, sliced in thin ribbons
  • goats cheese (or feta)

For the Sweet Chili Dressing:

  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil (this should be stored in the refrigerator)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons Thai Chili Paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large pinches kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° with a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack.
  2. In a large bowl add potatoes and onion. Sprinkle with 2 large pinches kosher salt and about ½ teaspoon black pepper. Drizzle with oil. Start with about 1 tablespoon, toss the veggies and see if they are all coated. They should appear moistened but there should not be any excess oil in the bowl. I also check to see if there is salt and pepper on each piece. Adjust as needed.
  3. Roast the vegetables in preheated oven on preheated pan for 20 minutes, stir and roast an additional 20 minutes. Depending on the size of your potatoes, you may need another 20 minutes before you start checking for doneness. Potatoes should be easily pierced with a fork and the outsides should be browning nicely.
  4. While the vegetables cook, prepare the rest of your salad and dressing. Removed the ribs from the kale and slice into thin ribbons, as thinly as possible; add to an extra large bowl. Chop the spinach and add to the bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients through basil and toss to distribute.
  5. I like to let my quinoa cool a little before adding it to the mixture because it will be HOT and it will wilt the spinach too much.
  6. When the veggies are done add as many as desired to the bowl and toss all ingredients to distribute evenly. Drizzle with dressing, tossing as you go, until there is enough to your taste. On this salad I use a little more than usual because the rice vinegar is mild and the chili and garlic add a lot of flavor.
  7. Add cheese if desired and serve slightly warm and enjoy!**

To make the dressing:

  1. Add all ingredients to a salad dressing jar or another container that you can close completely. Shake vigorously until combined. The dressing will not emulsify for 2 reasons: garlic isn’t a very good emulsifier and we aren’t meticulously whisking in the oil to try to emulsify it. I am too lazy and I don’t like to wash the extra dishes. It will hold together long enough to pour on the salad and it will not separate on the salad. Those are the only components I really care about. You do you.


*Cooking Quinoa: The general ratio is 1: 2, dried quinoa to water or broth. Quinoa will generally double in volume when cooked. I always cook extra to have on hand for the next day along with the left over roasted vegetables.
In a medium sauce pan add quinoa, water, a little olive oil (about 1 teaspoon for each cup of water) and a pinch or two of kosher salt; stir and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. The quinoa will be soft and a strand on the top of each quinoa grain will separate when fully cooked.

**This can also be pre-mixed and refrigerated overnight (like I did before my flights). It will taste just as good but cold roasted potatoes have a drier texture than fresh from the oven or even reheated. I obviously didn’t mind.

Variations: Use 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes, or 1 head of cauliflower instead of the baby potatoes. You can also use yellow onions but I love the flavor of roasted red onions! I’ve also thrown whole cloves of garlic into the mix.
My husband is not a fan of potatoes in salad or really in general, so he much preferred the sweet potatoes. They were very good…try both.

These other Salads are not to be missed!

Collard Green Salad with Vidalia Onion Peach Glazed Chicken

Collard Green Salad with Vidalia Onion Peach Glazed Chicken

Grilled Onion Roasted Potato Strawberry Spinach Salad 

Grilled Onion Roasted Potato Strawberry Spinach SaladWarm Lemon Rosemary Roasted Vegetable Salad

Warm Lemon Rosemary Roasted Vegetable Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad 

Roasted Sweet Potatoes Kale Salad

My Favorite Power Salad

Grapefruit, Kale, Chicken, Avocado Power Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Caramel Apple Cupcakes 

Caramel Apple CupcakesOoops…that’s not salad… 😉



  • Baby June
    October 5, 2014 at 8:47 am

    That looks like my kind of salad! Love the Thai flavors in here, such a great way to complement roasted veggies 🙂

    • Lindsey
      October 5, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Thanks!!! I love a hearty, filling salad! And I use roasted red chili paste on everything!!

  • Manali @ CookWithManali
    October 5, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    haha cupcakes and salad, I like that! Good way to balance things 😉 Lovely salad Lindsey and as always I am in love with your pictures! 🙂 Pinned!

    • Lindsey
      October 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks, Manali! I strive for balance, but I did eat 3 cupcakes yesterday! BAD!

  • Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
    October 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Ha ha that’s a great tagline, Lindsey! You should totally go for it! 🙂 I love eating salads, too…it’s my favorite thing to make on Sundays to divide out for my lunches during the week. This quinoa salad looks amazing! I love that you roasted the veggies and made a thai dressing. Delish, and pinned!

    • Lindsey
      October 5, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      After I pushed “publish” I realize that that title didn’t allow room for chocolate chip cookies! How could I have forgotten about my favorite cookies?! Thanks for the pin!

  • Josephine
    October 5, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    This looks wonderful!! I will make it for my family soon. Thank you!

    • Lindsey
      October 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      I hope you do! It goes well with your favorite chicken! 😉

  • Liz
    October 5, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I could eat this everyday, too! Roasted veggies, quinoa…what’s not to love???? Your spicy dressing sounds amazing, too.

    • Lindsey
      October 6, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Thanks, Liz! It is such a delicious salad and so easily adaptable!

  • marcie
    October 5, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    I’m with you on the salad thing 100% — I can’t go a day without one, and I’ll gladly eat one day in and out until it’s gone. Luckily I love them, because I have a big sweet tooth, too. 🙂 This salad looks hearty and full of delicious ingredients, and that vinaigrette sounds amazing! I love that you took this on the plan with you! 🙂

    • Lindsey
      October 7, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Me too! I try to wait until after dinner because if I don’t, then it’s like I forgot I already had a cupcake at noon and it doesn’t count!

  • Kelly - Life Made Sweeter
    October 6, 2014 at 5:14 am

    What a gorgeous salad Lindsey! Love the sound of the Thai vinaigrette! Definitely can’t wait to try this 🙂 Hehe I love salad too, that means more room for sweets and especially cupcakes 🙂

    • Lindsey
      October 7, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Thanks! I love salad too (obviously) and this dressing makes this salad! I can’t stop eating it

  • Renee @ Two in the Kitchen
    October 6, 2014 at 8:23 am

    This salad looks like it is filled with some good stuff! Great pictures! 🙂

    • Lindsey
      October 6, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Thanks, Renee!

  • David @ Spiced
    October 6, 2014 at 8:39 am

    Woah. This salad is straight legit. I love all of the roasted veggies in there…so appropriate for this time of the year. You know what else is appropriate for this time of the year? Cupcakes. And donuts. Maybe munching on this delicious salad will ease my conscious when it comes to the donuts and cupcakes? Just maybe? Seriously, though, awesome recipe!!

    • Lindsey
      October 6, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Thanks, David! It has certainly eased my conscience! I’m sure it will work for you too!

  • Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen
    October 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Wow Lindsey – this is one gorgeous looking salad! I love all the roasted vegetables in it – but I have to tell you – that vinaigrette is my new favorite! Love!

    • Lindsey
      October 6, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      Thanks, Kristi!! The dressing is delicious!

  • Shashi @ runninsrilankan
    October 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

    So, I absolutely adore salads and cupcakes too – and don’t think there’s anything wrong with ““Eating salad to save room for more cupcakes!” – love this slogan – life is about balance right? There’s nothing in there that states that the salads cannot be absolutely delicious – with a wonderful mix of potatoes, quinoa, walnuts and feta with that sik sweet chili sauce?! right?! 🙂

    • Lindsey
      October 6, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      You are so right! But there is nothing balanced about eating 3 cupcakes! lol! It also happens to be an incredibly filling vegetarian salad! That is happiness right there!

  • Amy (Savory Moments)
    October 6, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    This is a tasty looking salad and I really love the sound of the vinaigrette!

    • Lindsey
      October 7, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Thanks, Amy! It is good!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog
    October 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I’m all about eating healthy to save room for cupcakes. This salad looks amazing. So much goodness… Pass the plate!

    • Lindsey
      October 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Haha! Pseudo-healthy eaters unite!!!

  • Miss Kim @ behgopa
    October 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Wow beautiful looking salad! I can’t believe you ate it every single day for a month though. Personally, no matter how much I love something, I can’t eat the same thing for days and days even. I need variety. And once in a while, I will crave things I normally don’t like that much or eat often…I am weird like that.

    Lol airport food. Now that I think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever tried airport food until recently (fried chicken which was okay but a bit too salty). Other times, there’s no time or I’ve already eaten. I think I would have looked at you with envy too. What kind of a lunch container do you sport?

    • Lindsey
      October 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Haha! There were a few days when I ate something else…I do it because I like it and because I’m lazy. Especially when my husband is out of town. When he is here I haven’t make something different every night because he is like you!

      Bleh airport food. I used those pyrex storage containers for all my leftovers and stuff. I put it in one of those containers and then wash it at my destination. I refuse to use plastic. No bueno.

  • Michele @ Two Raspberries
    October 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I absolutely LOVE how healthy, this sounds amazing 😉 YUMMY!Pinning!

    • Lindsey
      October 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Thanks for the pin, Michele!

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