This easy Summer Quinoa Salad is the perfect healthy side dish for your next summer get-together. It is made with fresh summer vegetables and an easy lime dressing. It can easily be made ahead and served at room temperature making it an ideal quinoa salad for serving guests.
- Quinoa- this salad would also be delicious with farro or orzo
- Corn- it is delicious a little charred! You can cook kernels on the stovetop, or you can grill whole ears of corn and then remove it from the ears. You can always enjoy this with raw corn, if you'd like!
- Tomatoes- I like using cherry or grape tomatoes, as opposed to a larger tomato, that throws more liquid.
- Red onion- you can also substitute for a little finely diced shallot.
- Zucchini- I enjoy it raw, but you can always cook it a little with the corn, if you prefer.
- Lime vinaigrette- this vinaigrette adds so much flavor! Quinoa is somewhat bland, and needs that delicious vinaigrette to make this salad addicting.
- Fresh basil- one of my favorite summer ingredients!
How to make Summer Quinoa Salad
- Rinse and cook the quinoa and lay it out to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the lime vinaigrette! This delicious citrus dressing adds so much flavor and is just a few ingredients!
- Roast the corn! If cooking kernels, you can do this on the stovetop or you can use the grill if using whole cobs.
- Add all the summer veggies, quinoa, and lime vinaigrette to a bowl and toss to combine.
How to make quinoa taste good
Quinoa by itself doesn't taste like a whole ton. But when you toss in lots of seasonal veggies and a punchy lime dressing, it tastes incredible! This will become your staple summer salad for any potluck or gathering!
Prep ahead and storage tips
This quinoa salad is great made a day or two in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In fact, it can be even more delicious the next day when all the flavors have really melded together. The salt will pull out some of the moisture from the quinoa and vegetables, so I don't recommend making it more than about 2 days in advance.
If you want to get ahead further in advance, you could cook the quinoa, roast the corn, and make the dressing up to 5 days in advance and keep them all in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. When you are closer to serving, toss all the ingredients together.
Tips for cooking quinoa
- Rinse your quinoa!
- When the quinoa is done cooking, cool it spread out on a sheet pan to stop it from continuing to cook.
I think this summer salad with quinoa is delicious cold or at room temperature. I like to cool the quinoa slightly before tossing in the vegetables otherwise they can cook and soften (not necessarily a problem, if that is how you prefer it!).
What pairs well with Summer quinoa salad
This easy quinoa salad is delicious served with my Marinated Grilled Chicken. You can serve the chicken on the side or dice it up and toss it in with the salad. It would also be great with grilled steak, shrimp, or tofu. It would be a great salad to bring for a summer picnic or potluck. For a full summer meal, I'd recommend serving the quinoa with:
- Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta as an appetizer
- Sangria with Rosé to drink
- Easy Marinated Chicken Breast for the main
- Grilled vegetables with Tzatziki Sauce as a bonus side
- Strawberry Crisp for dessert
All of my above suggestions can be prepped ahead so that you can enjoy time with those you are cooking for!
If you make this summer quinoa salad, I'd love to know what you think in the comments below! And be sure to tag me on social media so that I can see your creations.
Summer Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup uncooked white quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1.5 cups corn kernals from about 2 ears of corn
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 10 basil leaves thinly sliced
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup lime juice
- 2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Rinse quinoa and cook according to package directions. Drain and spread out of a baking sheet to cool.
- Heat a medium or large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, corn, and salt. Roast for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until corn begins to brown.
- In a large bowl, add the quinoa, charred corn, zucchini, tomatoes, red onion, and basil leaves.
- To make the dressing, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Pour over the rest of the salad ingredients and stir well. Serve or see notes above for storing tips.
- Serves 4 if you are just having this salad and a protein. Serves 6-8 as a side with a protein plus another side or two.
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