Summer Quinoa Salad is a healthy and easy to make salad that’s full of summer’s best vegetables! Dressed in a lemon vinaigrette, it’s a fresh and flavorful salad that’s perfect for lunch, a side dish or even a meatless dinner!
This post has been updated since it was originally published on 7/29/2019.
Why you’ll love it
Fresh and flavorful – I love cold salads full of hearty ingredients in the summer. This quinoa salad is vegetarian, but you could easily add cooked chicken to it for extra protein.
Great for barbecues – This is a salad that is perfect to take to barbecues. There’s nothing in it that will spoil quickly and it tastes great cold or at room temperature.
Summer produce – Summer if one of my favorite seasons for fruit and vegetables. The selection is extensive and this salad uses some of my favorites. Corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil.
Meal prep – This Summer Quinoa Salad is one that works great for meal prep. It can be used for lunches during the week or a lighter dinner.
- Quinoa – Quinoa is a seed vs. a grain making in a great option if you’re gluten free. See my tips below for how to perfectly cook quinoa.
- Cucumbers – Crunchy and fresh. I like to use English or Persian cucumbers.
- Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes work great for this salad. They’re sweet and you only need to cut them in half.
- Corn – If fresh corn is available go for that. Frozen defrosted corn will work too.
- Chickpeas – Chickpeas are a great way to add additional protein and fiber to the salad.
- Basil – Fresh basil gives the salad a sweet and subtle anise flavor.
- Lemon – Use fresh squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.
- Dijon – Adds tang and acts as an emulsifier for the vinaigrette.
- Honey – Used to sweeten the vinaigrette.
- Olive oil – Used in the vinaigrette to balance the acid.
How to make summer quinoa salad
Cook the quinoa – Use my tips below or following package instructions to cook the quinoa. Let it cool to room temperature before adding in the vegetables.
Prep the vegetables – While the quinoa cools chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil. Add them to a serving bowl along with the corn and chickpeas.
Make the vinaigrette – Add all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette to a jar with a lid or bowl. Shake or whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified and well combined.
Assemble – Add the cooked and cooled quinoa to the serving bowl with the vegetables and chickpeas. Pour the vinaigrette onto the salad and toss it together with spoons until combined. Season with salt and pepper as needed then either serve or cover the salad and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Variations and substitutions
- Add cooked chicken to the salad to make it heartier.
- If you don’t like chickpeas try replacing them with canellini beans or shelled edamame.
- Add fruit to the salad like I did with this Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad. Peaches, nectarines or blueberries would all be great.
- Add cheese to the salad. Feta or goat cheese would be my top picks. Mini mozzarella balls would also work well.
- If you want to make this salad using a whole grain, try farro or wheat berries.
How to Cook Quinoa
- Measure out 1 cup of quinoa. Pour the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse it under water. Rinsing the quinoa removes the bitter residue on the outside of it.
- Dump the quinoa into a saucepan and cover it with 2 cups of water. Add in salt to taste and stir.
- Bring the quinoa to a boil. Once it’s boiling lower the heat and let it simmer with the lid on for approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest with the lid on for another 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the quinoa and season as needed, unless you are using it in another recipe, such as this Summer Quinoa Salad.
How to make summer quinoa salad vegan
This is a vegetarian salad, which can also be made vegan. Simply swap the honey in the vinaigrette with maple syrup or agave.
How long will the quinoa salad keep?
The summer vegetable quinoa salad will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Is quinoa salad healthy?
Yes! This summer quinoa salad is a balanced and filling vegetarian salad. Both quinoa and chickpeas add protein and heartiness to the salad. Based on four servings, you’ll get nearly 10 grams of protein from the chickpeas and another 4 from the quinoa.
Pair the protein with the fiber from the quinoa, chickpeas and vegetables and you’ll be feeling quite satisfied.
What to serve with quinoa salad
More Quinoa Salads
Did you make this summer quinoa salad? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
- 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
- 1 cup chopped Persian or English cucumber
- 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup corn, fresh or frozen and defrosted
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Combine all of the ingredients for the salad in a large serving bowl.
- In a small jar add all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Cover with the lid and shake until well combined. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir until everything is coated. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 119mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 7gSugar: 10gProtein: 14g