Quinoa Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing

Roma tomatoes, onion, garlic, and serrano pepper are roasted before being blended into a creamy dressing that bursts with bright, juicy flavor. You can make the dressing a day in advance: Follow Steps 1–3 and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, quartered, unpeeled
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ of a small serrano chile
  • ⅓ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 6 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 medium carrot, shaved or thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, cut into ½-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 2 stalks scallions, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped


  • For dressing, heat a grill or griddle over high. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, and serrano, and cook, turning frequently, about 10 minutes or until there is charring.
  • Remove from heat and let cool. Scrape any charred skin off the tomatoes, onion, and serrano. Scrape seeds from serrano. Peel the garlic.
  • In a blender combine the roasted tomatoes, onion, garlic, and serrano; the lime juice; tahini; salt; and 1 cup water. Blend until creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • To assemble salad, in a large bowl combine the next six ingredients (through cucumber) and about half the scallions and cilantro. Mix well. Add dressing. Toss to combine. Garnish with reserved scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately.

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About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit DarshanasKitchen.com and follow her on Instagram for more.
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