Quinoa, edamame and toasted cashew salad (vegan & gluten-free)

Quinoa edamame Thai salad

Salads are a tricky thing. In theory they can be the perfect lunch. But if you make one with just lettuce, a few veggies and dressing it’s easy to end up feeling like you’re starving a couple of hours later. Or if you buy one from many of the common chain restaurants it could be loaded with so many unhealthy ingredients that you don’t end up feeling your best afterwards.

Enter… this incredibly light but satisfying Thai-flavour-inspired salad. It’s loaded with so many veggies — including carrots, red cabbage and bell pepper — and also has some nourishing, satiating ingredients like quinoa, edamame and toasted cashews to keep you going through your afternoon or evening. And it’s all tossed in an incredibly flavourful tahini-ginger sauce. So if you thought eating salad was a chore, prepare for that to no longer be the case!

The other great things about this recipe are:

1) It makes a big batch so you’ll get multiple meals out of it.

2) Unlike leafy salads that can wind up wilted by lunchtime if you’re on-the-go, this salad holds its flavour and texture for several days so you can look forward to a fresh meal every day.

Quinoa edamame Thai salad

Quinoa, edamame and toasted cashew salad with tahini dressing

Inspired by Ambitious Kitchen

Serves 4-6


For the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups shelled edamame beans (fresh or frozen, just run under cool water to thaw if frozen)
  • 3 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 of a small one)
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews or cashew pieces

For the dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons tahini
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or substitute soy sauce — gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or pink Himalayan salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lay raw cashew pieces flat on a baking tray. Toast in oven for 4 minutes. If they are toasted enough at this time they can be removed. If not, give the pan a shake to turn them over and return them to the oven for another 1-2 minutes, or until golden-brown. Keep a close eye on them as you don’t want them to burn. (Note: To save time you can get roasted cashews from the grocery story but if you have the time, this way gives you cashews that are more flavourful and haven’t been roasted in unhealthy oils.)
  2. Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Add quinoa to a pot with the broth and place on stove over medium-high heat until it boils. Once it boils, reduce heat to low so water simmers and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes or until all the broth has been absorbed.  Remove quinoa from the heat, transfer to a bowl and let let cool fully in the fridge (about 20-30 minutes — you can leave it to cool while preparing the other ingredients).
  3. Place edamame, red cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, red onion, green onions, toasted cashews, fresh cilantro and cooled quinoa in a large bowl and toss to combine.
  4. In a small bowl stir together the dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over the salad and toss until everything is well coated.
  5. Enjoy immediately sprinkled with some chopped cilantro for garnish or transfer to an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Depending, it may last longer but I find 4 days is how long it stays really flavourful for. But it’s so yummy it won’t be around for long anyway!

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