Happy gut high protein quinoa salad

A gut microbiome expert gives us his go-to lunchtime recipe.

Cooking time: 25 mins

This super salad from gut microbiome expert and Consultant Gastroenterologist, Dr Alan Desmond is perfect for batch-making your lunches for the week. Not only will it fill you up for the arvo, it'll balance your gut bacteria, deliver some serious #brainfood, and potentially make all your colleagues a bit jealous.

Learn more about how to improve your gut health and why this is important for your brain health.

What brain health foods does this recipe have?

Walnuts with full shell

Aside from boosting your gut microbiome, which has been linked to a reduction in the risk of mood disorders this salad also delivers the goods with brain boosting walnuts and tomatoes. Walnuts have the primo balance of omega 3 and omega 6, and help with plasticity and stabilising nerve cell membranes; while tomatoes help to counteract free radicals, which your brain is especially prone to.

Our gut microbiome is in constant communication with our brain via the microbiome-gut-brain axis. With eight different plants on your plate, this 100% plant-based recipe ticks all the right boxes for a healthy and diverse gut microbiome.


For The Salad

  • 300g Quinoa

  • Handful of mixed leaves

  • 15 cherry tomatoes

  • 100g pecan nuts/walnuts

  • 60g frozen edamame beans/frozen peas - thaw in hot water for 5-10 minutes, drain.

  • Small bunch of fresh chive and mint

For The Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons tamari

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  1. Cook the quinoa in 600ml water in a pot on a high heat. Bring to the boil with the lid on once it boils, move the lid so the steam can escape and simmer till all the water has evaporated.

  2. Remove from the heat and leave aside with the lid on for 5-10 minutes till the quinoa puffs up. Allow quinoa to cool fully before mixing salad.

  3. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and defrost the edamame beans/peas by leaving to sit in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes. Whisk the dressing together in a cup with a fork or with a whisk in a jug.

  4. Add all salad ingredients for the salad in a large bowl and dress with the dressing.

Top tip: If you are making this ahead of time, we recommend leaving the dressing until just before you serve it, as it will keep better this way.

Looking for another delicious salad recipe? Try this delicious summer salad.

About the author:
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Laura Sugden

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