This Summer Quinoa Salad is a healthy and easy to make dish that’s full of summer’s best ingredients. Dressed in a lemon-lime vinaigrette, it’s a fresh and flavorful salad that’s perfect for lunch, a side dish or even a meatless dinner!
Summer’s here and even while quarantining with family, outdoor dining is a welcome change from the months indoors. Having dishes that don’t need to be refrigerated is a bonus in hot weather which makes my Summer Quinoa Salad a perfect choice to serve.
People always ask me what are my favorite dishes to make. My answer: appetizers and side dishes. Surprised? Here’s the reason why. I can never decide what I want to eat so making a variety of recipes gives me lots of choices. A spoonful of this and that also offers lots of different flavors and textures to a meal. If you have ever eaten at a tapas restaurant, you know what I mean. Small portions are served with each diner ordering a few at a time. Now you don’t have to decide on one dish to order off the menu. Brilliant.
My Summer Quinoa Salad is one of those recipes that I use as a base. By that I mean, if I don’t have the specific vegetables that the recipe calls for, I adapt to what I do have. Same goes for the opportunity to add proteins like chicken or shrimp to make it a main course. If you have extra basil and no oregano, use that. Want to use feta instead of mozzarella, go for it. See? Adaptable. I like the combination of sweet and tart which is why I put fruit in my salads. Balances out the tartness of the fresh lemon juice in the dressing with no added sugar needed.
If you haven’t tried quinoa yet or you weren’t aware of all the benefits it does for your body, here is a brief list:
- Very Nutritious
- Contains the Plant Compounds Quercetin and Kaempferol
- Very High in Fiber, Much Higher Than Most Grains
- Gluten-Free and Perfect for People With Gluten Intolerance
- Very High in Protein, With All the Essential Amino Acids
- Has a Low Glycemic Index, Which is Good for Blood Sugar Control
Plus, it tastes delicious. It’s light and fluffy in texture and absorbs the dressing you use. In this Summer Quinoa Salad, the vinaigrette is bright and fresh with lemon juice, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. So easy and typically ingredients you already have in your refrigerator. When you take the quinoa off the burner, use a fork and aerate it a bit. That will prevent the quinoa from getting dense.
As you plan your Fourth of July celebration, why not include this easy to make Summer Quinoa Salad. Make it your own in the spirit of red, white and blue by adding cherry tomatoes or red peppers and blueberries. Cooking should be fun and creative. For a fancier meal, why not pair it with this Sous Vide Herbs de Provenance Cod recipe. Delicious!
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday weekend! Enjoy!
Summer Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup Quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups broth, vegetable, chicken or water
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 small red onion
- 1 small cucumber
- 1/2 mango, diced
- 1 cup chick peas or garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup craisins, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped, optional
- 1/2 cup feta or mozzarella cheese, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced, optional
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Bring broth and garlic to a boil in 2 quart sauce pan.
- Stir in quinoa, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Approximately 15-20 minutes. Watch carefully so quinoa doesn't burn.
- Remove garlic to trash. Pour quinoa into large mixing bowl.
- Mix lemon and lime juice, balsamic and olive whisking till combined.
- Add 1/8 cup chopped parsley, vegetables, beans, onion and craisins into bowl with quinoa. If adding chicken or shrimp, add here as well. Pour vinaigrette over and gently mix.
- If serving immediately, add mango, mozzarella and fresh herbs. Note that if quinoa is still warm, cheese will begin to melt. If making ahead, put bowl with all but mango, mozzarella and remaining parsley in the fridge until serving time. Then add mango and mozzarella, gently mixing. Then top with remaining parsley.