Vegan Lunchbox: Quinoa, Carrot, Cranberry, and Garbanzo Salad

I’m generally all about home-cooked meals but often, when we don’t have any leftovers, I end up taking frozen meals to work for lunch. I always get fancy organic frozen meals, but still, I’d rather bring something homemade if at all possible.

So this week I decided I’d try something crazy: I’d make something ahead of time to bring for lunch during the week. Groundbreaking! I mean, not really. People do this all the time. I’ve just never been so, well, plan-aheady.

I decided I really wanted some kind of quinoa salad. So I took to the internet and found a recipe for “Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad,” which sounded just odd enough to be kind of fun. I made some changes and voilà, I have something I’ll look forward to eating on Monday at the office. Yay!

I hope to make “Vegan Lunchbox” a regular thing here, but seeing as I don’t really have regular things, who knows what will happen.

Also I’m sorry I never give you estimated times when I post recipes. I never find them useful. Every recipe ever is like, “Total time: 15 minutes,” and it takes me an hour.

New vegan thing!

Quinoa, Carrot, Cranberry, and Garbanzo Salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 or 4 green onions, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 heaping teaspoon curry powder (I have two kinds of curry powder, one with cinnamon and one without. Today I used the one without, but next time I’ll use the one with because I think cinnamon might be nice.)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup quinoa (I have never rinsed quinoa! Never! And I like it anyway, so why bother?)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (I use the shredder attachment on my old Cuisinart for this and it works magnificently.)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large orange (peel and cut each segment into 1/2-inch-ish pieces)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/8 cup flaxseeds (I hate it when people talk about being obsessed with this or that thing, but I’m kind of obsessed with these.)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt


Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about two minutes (don’t let them get brown). Add curry powder and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add veggie broth, quinoa, and a sprinkle of salt. Stir, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed and quinoa is done. (The original recipe refers to it as “translucent,” but honestly I don’t think I have the kind of discerning eye to appreciate the translucentness of quinoa, so I just taste some.)

While the quinoa is cooking, put carrots, cranberries, orange, garbanzo beans, flaxseeds, orange peel, parsley, and a little salt in a large bowl. Mix well. When the quinoa is done, add it to the bowl and mix well. Taste and add more salt if you like. Pack for lunch and enjoy!