During the warm weather months, I say a lot of quiet little thank yous to quinoa salad. Because quinoa cooks up so quickly, because it is gluten-free, because it is so accommodating. Yes, quinoa rode a wave of immense popularity a decade or so back, but it’s not a food that should be considered fashionable or not — it’s just a great, versatile, easy to cook gluten-free grain.
This healthy vegetarian quinoa salad recipe stars quinoa, of course, and the supporting ingredients are basically herbs and olive oil, plus some lemon and minced scallion. That’s it. Its simplicity belies its punch of flavor, but it’s so straightforward that it pairs with absolutely everything.
What Can You Mix Into Quinoa Salad
If you decide you do want to add more to this salad, there are a lot of ways to go. Quinoa salads can take many directions, from a Mediterranean vibe to a Southwest twist. Add grated or flaked shards of Parmesan cheese, crumbled feta or queso, or ricotta salata. Try some add-in dried fruit, like cranberries, cherries, or chopped dried apricots or pears. You can add more onion, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers (roasted or not), or some chickpeas. You could switch up the lemons for limes, or try oranges which would be sweeter.
Add some cubes of avocado, zucchini, or summer squash. You could also add cubes of cooked chicken or salmon or some cooked shrimp if you’re not looking to keep the salad vegetarian.
Quinoa Salad: This is the simplest gluten-free grain salad, super flexible and it goes with just about everything.Tweet This
Herbs in Summer Quinoa Salad
During the summer, when fresh herbs are in abundance, this is a great way to highlight them. I chose dill, parsley, and thyme for this salad, but you can use any herbs you like. Think about basil, oregano, marjoram, and sage. Taste as you add — some herbs, like sage or rosemary, have very strong flavors and can become overpowering in too-large quantities. But not to worry – if your salad ends up being too herby, just make and add some more quinoa!
Storing Quinoa Salad
This salad is best the day it is made to get the most out of the fresh herbs, but it will keep happily for a day or two in the refrigerator.
How to Make Quinoa Salad
Rinse the quinoa and place it in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the water or broth and water, season with salt, then bring to a simmer, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Discover more tips quinoa cooking tips.
Remove from the heat and allow the quinoa to sit, covered, for about 5 minutes, then lift the lid, fluff the quinoa, and let it cool.
When the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add the olive oil, herbs, lemon zest and juice, and scallions.
Season with salt and pepper. Toss to blend well, and serve at room temperature.
What to Serve With Quinoa Salad
- Roasted Baby Squash
- Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad
- Grilled Vegetable Skewers
- Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad
- Melon Cucumber Salad with Feta
- Homemade Chicken Tenders
- Lemon Pepper Chicken
- Summer Shrimp and Avocado Salad
- Fried Fish Sandwich
- Asian Ribs
Other Quinoa Salads
- Kale Quinoa Salad
- Red Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Artichoke Hearts, and Olives
- Sesame-Honey Quinoa and Carrot Salad
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- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth (optional)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- ½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Juice and finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons minced scallions (green and white parts)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cold water (unless your quinoa is labeled pre-rinsed).
- Pour the quinoa into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. You can toast the quinoa for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Or add the broth plus 1 cup water immediately, or 2 cups water, and season with salt. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa grains have sprouted their little tendrils. Remove from the heat.
- Allow the quinoa to sit, covered, for about 5 minutes, then lift the lid, fluff the quinoa and let it cool.
- When the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add the olive oil, dill, parsley, thyme, lemon zest and juice, scallions, salt, and pepper. Toss to blend well. Serve at room temperature.
The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.
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