The flavors of the season are gathered together in this healthy summer quinoa salad. Not only is this a nutritious meal, but it is also quick and easy to make. Learn more about quinoa, and try this tasty recipe for an upcoming meal.
Quinoa: A Hidden Food Gem
Quinoa is a healthy, single-celled seed that provides high-quality, plant-based protein. You may even find it interesting to know that it contains more fiber than any other food. We call it a hidden gem because both the seeds and leaves can be eaten!
With all its nutrient-dense awesomeness, quinoa is so simple to cook, leaving me wondering why people don’t cook it more often. There is an easy to overlook tip however that can change the way your quinoa tastes. Keep reading!
Healthy Summer Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa: this whole grain is the base of the salad.
- Chickpeas: these add texture and filler to the overall dish.
- Vegetables: red bell pepper, cucumber, and shallots are flavors of the summer season and pair nicely in flavor together.
- Green Olives: the bitter and salty tanginess of these olives provide a little kick to the salad, all without being too overbearing.
- Feta Cheese: crumbled and added for flavor, feta cheese adds a subtle taste and pop of color.
- Chopped Parsley: adds an extra herb flavor and color to the quinoa salad.
Making the homemade dressing is just as easy as making the salad itself. You’ll use a combination of olive oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and rice vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste tops off the tangy but complementary salad dressing.
How to Make Summer Quinoa Salad
Before getting started, make sure your veggies are washed and dried. Give them a good dicing and set them aside. Drain your can of chickpeas, slice the green olives in half, and finely chop the parsley.
How to Cook the Perfect Quinoa
Cooking the perfect quinoa is as easy as boiling water. In fact, that’s all you need. Some people provide a wide range of water to quinoa ratios, but we’ve found the sweet spot.
Simply put, for every cup of quinoa, use 1 ¾ cup of broth or water. This will give you the perfect taste and texture. I personally prefer using NO SALT vegetable broth as opposed to water. That’s just my personal preference but I find it adds so much flavor.
TIP! Quinoa seeds contains a coating that if not rinsed will ruin your quinoa. Rinse it under running cold water in a fine mesh strainer for at least a minute or until the water runs clear.
We go into more detail about rinsing your quinoa in our lemon quinoa recipe.
Mix and Serve
Once everything is diced, chopped, and cooked, it’s time to add it all to a large salad bowl and mix until well combined.
ANOTHER TIP! Be sure to allow the quinoa to cool completely in the fridge before adding it to the salad. If it still warm it can soak up all the dressing.
How do I store the Quinoa Salad?
You can store the leftovers from the quinoa salad in the fridge for up to one week. Store the salad in an airtight container for maximum freshness. Do not freeze as the vegetables change the texture and become mushy with the thaw.
Can Quinoa salad be served as a complete meal or a side dish?
This salad is a satisfying meal in itself. With the quinoa cooked and tossed in a simple dressing, combined with fresh herbs and veggies, it is bursting with flavor. This salad is also very flexible; you can make this salad with a variety of vegetables to keep things interesting.
What are the substitutions I can make?
- Shallots for 1 small red onion
- Chickpeas for lentils or any legumes
- Green olive for black olive or Kalamata olive
- Add more vegetables like tomatoes
- Cilantro for parsley
Which variety of quinoa to choose?
Although the flavor differences between quinoa varieties are subtle, slight differences in texture and taste may cause you to choose one color of quinoa over another for certain dishes.
Due to its fluffy texture and milder flavor, white quinoa works better than red in this salad.Print
- 4 Cups Cooked Quinoa
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
- 1 Large Cucumber, diced
- 2 Shallots, finely diced
- 1 Can (14.5 oz.) Chickpeas
- ½ Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
- ½ Cup Green Olives, cut in half
- ¾ Cup Chopped Parsley
FOR THE DRESSING:
- ¼ Cup Olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and dice all your vegetables (cucumber, bell pepper, and shallots).
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
- Cut the green olives in half and finely chop the parsley.
- Add all the ingredients to a large salad bowl.
- In a small bowl, add all the dressing ingredients.
- Mix well to combine everything.
- Pour the dressing over the salad, and mix to combine all the ingredients.
- You can serve it immediately or wait 1 hour for the flavors to develop.
What to Pair with this:
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: None (if cooking the quinoa add 20 min)
- Category: side dish