Quinoa, Arugula, Pear Salad with Citrus Dressing + Spiced Seeds


This simple salad combines protein-packed quinoa, peppery arugula, sweet crunchy pear, and sweet creamy carrots for a winning texture and flavor combo. What really makes this salad shine are the spiced seeds and citrus dressing. Be sure to do a little prep to make this salad in a pinch!

Ingredient Highlight

Quinoa! Though we think of this as a grain, it’s actually a seed to a plant! That’s why it’s such a great source of plant-based protein since it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It’s also rich in magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber.

Servings 4 People
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 12-16 oz carrots, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces about 5
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 6 cups loosely packed arugula
  • 1 firm pear (like Bosc), core removed, thinly sliced or chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese optional

For the spiced seeds:

  • 1 cup pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

For the dressing:

  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice about 2 navel oranges
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Carrots are optional, I just loved warm roasted veggies in salads!

  • Note: a little meal prep makes this salad a breeze to throw together. Toast your seeds, roast your carrots, cook your quinoa, and make your dressing ahead (or pick and choose a few).


  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the seeds, cumin, oil, cinnamon, and salt and toss to coat. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted. Transfer to a bowl to cool off.
  • Increase the oven to 450F. On the same sheet pan, add the carrots, olive oil, and salt and toss to coat. Bake for 20 minutes, or until charred in spots.
  • In a medium pot, add the quinoa and 1 ½ cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa has burst open/cooked through.
  • To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine.
  • In a large bowl, add the quinoa, arugula, and carrots. Pour ¾ of the dressing over top and toss to coat (only dress what you want to eat).
  • Serve topped with pear, spiced seeds, feta (if using), and a drizzle of the remaining dressing.

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Make spiced seeds
  • Cook 1 cup quinoa
  • Peel and chop 4-5 carrots
  • Roast carrots
  • Make citrus dressing


  • To make vegan, skip the cheese.
  • Substitute any warm roasted vegetable for the carrots, or leave them out.
  • The seeds are pretty amazing, but you could just top with toasted nuts.
  • Any grain can be used in place of quinoa.
  • Any leafy green can be used in place of arugula.
  • Substitute chopped apple for pear.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer:
    • Quinoa: up to 6 days in the fridge
    • Dressing: up to 6 days in the fridge

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Only dress what you want to eat – dressed arugula gets unpleasantly soggy overnight.
  • Top this bowl with a fried egg!
  • Add pickled red onions or a quick pickled veggie.

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