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Topped with crumbled goat cheese and fresh herbs, this summer quinoa salad will give you a healthy dose of plant-based protein and lots of antioxidants in this gluten-free and dairy-free summer salad.
The quinoa lends a healthy dose of protein and fiber to this easy salad, which has bright strawberries, tomatoes, and red peppers.
How Healthy Is Quinoa Salad?
Quinoa itself is considered to be very healthy stuff. It has all 9 amino acids, so you will get the same protein from quinoa that you get from a piece of meat.
So the real question becomes, what else did you add to it? If you add nothing but healthy ingredients to a quinoa salad, then it will be quite healthy!
What Do You Put In Quinoa Salad?
The truth is, you can put almost anything into a quinoa salad. Think of it like rice. Anything you can mix with rice, you can also mix with quinoa. It’s a very mild-flavored seed grain (If it’s rinsed well. If not, it tastes bitter.).
What does that do for this recipe? It means you can switch out anything you don’t like for something else you do like and you’ll still get a delicious salad every time.
Don’t like goat cheese? Omit it completely, or try a mild cow feta. Don’t like the red peppers? Switch them for something else! This is a very versatile and forgiving recipe.
Can This Summer Quinoa Salad Be Made Vegan?
Yes! Just cook the quinoa in water or vegetable broth, and avoid adding the goat cheese.
How To Make Quinoa
Quinoa is an easy grain to make.
- Rinse it well in a fine-meshed sieve. It will foam on top. Rinse until all of the foam is gone.
- Use a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. So for this recipe, you’ll need 11/2 cups quinoa to 3 cups water. You can use broth in place of water if you wish for extra flavor. I used water for this particular recipe.
- Bring the water to a boil and pour in the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and cover with a lid. Let it cook over low heat until the water is cooked out (approximately 15 minutes, give or take).
- Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- If you want to cool it quickly, spread it over a baking sheet or a large bowl into a thin layer and store it in the fridge. It won’t take long to cool.
What Dressing Goes With Quinoa Salad?
I’ve never met a dressing that tasted bad with quinoa. The real question is, what dressing goes well with everything else you added to your salad?
While this quinoa salad does not call for dressing at all, you can certainly add some! Try a basic vinaigrette if you use the goat cheese. Yum!
How To Prepare Quinoa For A Salad?
There are three main points for preparing your quinoa for a quinoa salad.
- Always keep in mind what you will be adding to your quinoa when considering whether to use water or broth to cook it in. Water or vegetable broth is perfect for a recipe like this one.
- Ensure that your quinoa is fully cooled down. (Unless you want it to be a hot salad. But that’s a different conversation).
- Make sure you fluff it well with a fork to help separate the individual seeds/grains. This will give it a more pleasing texture.
Here are a few ideas for ingredients you can add (or substitute) to this recipe.
- Other whole grains (such as barley or wild rice)
- Sweet corn
- Raw zucchini
- Vinegar-based dressing
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Green onions
- Black beans
- Salmon pieces
About The Quinoa Salad Ingredients
(Print recipe from recipe card below)
Cooked quinoa – Choose your liquid carefully. Water or vegetable broth will work best for this salad. Cook the quinoa and then ensure that it is fully cooled before continuing with the recipe. Hot quinoa will not do nice things to your strawberries.
Red pepper – Chop these fine for the best overall texture in your finished salad.
Grape tomatoes – You can also use cherry tomatoes. Any small tomato will work well here. I simply halved mine, but if you like a finer texture in your grain salads, feel free to quarter them.
Fresh strawberries – Wash, destem and slice them. You can chop them too for a finer texture.
Red onion – As with the peppers, make sure you chop these fine. The smaller the better.
Avocado – Take out the seed, cut the avocado inside the skin and then scoop out the cut pieces with a spoon.
Crumbled goat cheese – This is optional but quite good. You can omit this completely or substitute it with another soft, crumbled cheese such as a mild cow-based feta cheese.
Fresh parsley – Measure this after chopping it. Again, the finer you chop it, the better.
Fresh basil – You can use your own judgment here. I like larger pieces of basil, but if you want to keep that fine texture, you can chop this small too.
Salt and pepper – As needed.
Dressing – While this recipe doesn’t call for dressing, a simple vinaigrette would go well with this.
How To Make Summer Quinoa Salad
Chop and/or slice all your ingredients as needed. (See notes in post above)
Chop the herbs as fine or chunky as you like.
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Toss to combine.
Serve as a main course or side dish.
How To Store Leftovers
This will keep well in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Can You Freeze This Summer Quinoa Salad?
I do not recommend freezing this. Quinoa freezes just fine on its own. But with everything else added, this won’t hold up in the freezer for any length of time.
For this recipe, you’ll need a good knife, a cutting board, and a large mixing bowl. You can click on any of the images here to be taken to that product on Amazon. (Affiliate links)
More Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipes
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Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe Card + Video
Summer Quinoa Salad
CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- 1 medium avocado (deseeded and cut into chunks)
- ½ cup goat cheese crumbles (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- salt and pepper as needed
- Chop and/or slice all your ingredients as needed. (See notes in post above)
- Chop the herbs as fine or chunky as you like.
- Combine all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss to combine.
- Serve as a main course or side dish.