Roast summer vegetable, pesto and quinoa salad (My go-to make ahead lunch)


This substantial salad is my go-to meal when I’m out of inspiration about what to make for lunch for the week. It doesn’t take too much effort to make up and you can make a big enough salad to last you the whole week or keep it small enough for only a few serves.

I’m not entirely sure you can call this a recipe, its one of those dishes that is always changing depending on what is available at the time. I love using roasted pumpkin (because really, what is better than roast pumpkin?) but you can also vary it up with sweet potato, eggplant or capsicum, anything really. I have also used roasted patty pan squash, we always have a glut of them in summer time and they turn deliciously sweet and golden when roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt (seriously, you will never think of squash the same way again). The pesto dressing is a winner and makes the whole dish really flavour filled, it even has the boyfriend seal of approval.

If you don’t like quinoa then brown rice or barley will also work really well too.  Likewise, you can substitute the chickpeas for any protein source you like.

This salad is gluten free, nut free dairy free and vegan/vegetarian friendly so it will cater for all needs.

Quinoa and chickpeas are a great source of protein and fibre, meaning that this makes a lunch that will keep you feeling full for the rest of the afternoon. This salad also ensures that you get in a couple of serves of vegetables into your day too.




Roast summer vegetable, pesto and quinoa salad (My go-to make ahead lunch)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6 serves
  • 250g quinoa
  • 800g pumpkin
  • 2 zucchini
  • 5-8 patty pan squash (depending on size)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • 100g spinach
  • 200g green beans
  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small bunch basil, leaves only
  • 1 beetroot, raw and thinly shaved (optional)
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • juice of 1 lemon (or 1½ if small)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (extra)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place quinoa in a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for at least 15 mins or for a few hours. (this step is optional but makes it a lot easier to get it washed properly)
  2. Drain quinoa and rinse well. Place quinoa in a saucepan and cover with plenty of fresh water. Bring to the boil and and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and the little 'tails" are beginning to show. Drain and allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  4. Peel pumpkin and cut into cubes. dice zucchini and cut squash into quarters. Toss veg in olive oil and place in a single layer on two baking trays lined with baking paper. sprinkle with a little salt. Place in oven and roast for approximately 35-45 minutes or until soft and golden on the edges, turning half way through cooking time if needed. Allow to cool.
  5. Trim the ends of the green beans and cut in half. Cook in boiling water until slightly softened but still slightly crunchy and green. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  6. Mix together the pesto, lemon juice, olive oil adding salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar if needed to balance.
  7. Place cooked quinoa, roast veg, beans and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and combine well. drizzle over the dressing and mix again.
  8. Enjoy straight away as a warm salad or place into containers to take for lunch.



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