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It’s starting to feel a lot like summer. The temps are rising and my body is naturally craving more raw foods and fresh meals like salads. I love a good salad, but when I have a salad it’s important that it’s balanced and nutrient dense. I’m a firm believer that every salad should have a good balance of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates so that, you know, your salad actually feeds you.
This Pesto Power Salad fits the bill for me, dressed with a creamy avocado and tahini pesto and packed with plant protein thanks to quinoa and greens. It’s delicious chilled, so it makes for a great meal-prep friendly dish, and a great salad to bring to a picnic. Best of all, it’s insanely easy to make and should take about 15 minutes or less. Even less if you pre-cook quinoa and store it in the fridge!
I used a Protein Greens blend of salad that I found at Whole Foods, and it was a great reminder to me that plants DO have protein. Some greens are higher in protein than others, but one serving of the blend of pea shoot, spinach, bokchoy, baby kale and mizuna blend packed in 5 grams of plant protein. Other salad greens high in protein include arugula, kale and watercress, OR you could even experiment with tossing in broccoli, which is also high in protein. The quinoa also adds protein, and is also a great source of carbohydrates for sustained energy as well.
If you’d like to make this an even higher protein salad, toss in your favourite plant protein like lentils, beans, or tempeh/tofu. Don’t have radish on hand, or working with different veggies in the fridge? You can substitute whatever you’d like in this salad because I’ve found that the pesto goes with just about everything.
To top off the salad, I like to grate vegan parmesan cheese, or microplane a brazil nut or macadamia nut for additional flavour. A crack of black pepper never hurts either!
Pesto Power Salad (vegan, gluten free, oil free)
- salad greens of choice
- 2-3 heaping tablespoons of Avocado Tahini Pesto
- handful of thinly sliced radish I recommend using a mandolin for perfectly thin slices
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- grated vegan parmesan or macadamia/brazil nut
- cracked black pepper + salt to taste
- In a large bowl, toss quinoa, pesto and greens. Add radish and any other veggies and toss to evenly coat.
- Garnish with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan, or nut along with salt and black pepper.
- Serve chilled.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Love & pesto,