Tuna Pesto Quinoa Salad makes a healthy lunch or easy dinner. It packs a protein punch, has lots of crunchy veggies and is full of that delicious basil pesto flavour!
Where did the holidays go and when are they coming back!? The first working week of January absolutely flew by. I started a new job and spent the entire time feeling overwhelmed! Nerves aside, starting back into an office routine got me brainstorming about healthy meals I can make that sit well with a full-time work routine. The last thing you need when you’re powering away is nutrient-deficient food; eating well makes an enormous difference to your mood, motivation and performance.
So this week, I thought I’d share with you this delicious, satisfying but simple tuna pesto quinoa salad. If you make the pesto – or buy some pesto! – and the quinoa on the weekend, this salad is ready in no time at all and makes the perfect office lunch. It’s a great salad to add to your weekly meal prep, if you like doing that. Make the salad in advance, then simply flake through some tinned tuna and you’re good to go.
Another thing I love about this tuna pesto quinoa salad is that it’s so rich in protein, it will definitely keep you going all afternoon. The combination of quinoa and tuna is a protein powerhouse; combine them with a rainbow of crunchy, fibrous veggies, healthy fats in the dressing, and you’ve got a lovely balanced meal.
For the pesto – I prefer to make my own pesto if I have time. Click here for my easy Lemon Basil Pesto recipe (which has a dairy-free, vegan option); it’s perfect for this salad and then you’ll also have some extra delicious homemade pesto – free from any preservatives or other nasties – for other meals. (You can freeze the leftover pesto if you don’t need it right away, too!).
Tuna Pesto Quinoa Salad
- 1/3 cup quinoa measured raw
- 60 grams baby salad leaves
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup purple cabbage finely sliced
- 3 tbsp pesto
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 180 grams tinned tuna – suggest using either tuna canned in springwater or olive oil
- 40 grams feta cheese – Greek style feta
- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. Cool the quinoa in the fridge before adding to the salad.
- Make the salad dressing by combining the pesto, olive oil and lemon juice. Whisk together in a small bowl, or alternatively shake together in a small jar.
- Combine the salad leaves, tomatoes, cabbage, capsicum, quinoa and tuna in a large bowl.
- Pour over the salad dressing and mix it all together thoroughly. Divide the mixture in half between two individual bowls. Serve immediately.
- NOTE: If you are preparing the salad in advance, leave out the tuna and the salad dressing. Pack away the prepared salad in containers and add the tuna and dressing just before eating.
- OPTIONAL: Using about 40 grams of feta cheese in total, crumble and sprinkle over the salad before serving.
- vegan options: mixed raw nuts and/or seeds, chickpeas, lentils;
- boiled eggs;
- tinned or freshly cooked salmon, mackerel, or sardines;
- shredded chicken
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