I swear, I eat real meals, too. A couple weeks ago, I yearned for a fresh, summery salad with pops of juicy flavor and texture from all the farmer’s fruits and veggies. We’re talking peaches, corn, blueberries, cucumber and plenty of fresh herbies.
Mint! Parsley! Lemon juice! I’m singing right now.
I wanted something I could throw in a Pyrex and eat throughout the week for simple lunches, and I feel reeeeeally good about where we ended up with this dreamboat of a grain salad. It’s a party in a bowl, truly.
This is one of those quinoa salads that would go over super well at potlucks amongst the seven potato salads, broccoli salads, and fruit kabobs.
How to Cook Quinoa
You can use white, red, or tri-color quinoa here. I love that it packs a [complete] protein punch with all nine essential amino acid, trumping the protein content of other whole grains. That’s because it’s technically a seed!
If it’s not pre-rinsed, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the bitter tasting outer layer.
Place 3/4 cup quinoa in a small saucepan with 1 1/4 cups water. (I typically do a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts liquid).
Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed and quinoa looks fluffy.
Fluff with a fork, transfer to a medium bowl, and allow it to cool.
Fun Add-ins and Substitution Ideas
This salad is super customizable, especially according to what’s in season (or what’s in your fridge!). I’m already drooling over a fall version with roasted squash, apples, sage and pecans. Yummmm.
Add feta or goat cheese for more tang and creaminess.
Add chickpeas, white beans, or grilled chicken for a protein boost.
Don’t have fresh blueberries? Try halved grapes, dried cherries or cranberries.
I love the crunch the almonds add, but you could also try pepitas or sunflower seeds.
For a more traditional tabouli style salad, you could use bulgar as the grain.
What to Serve with Summer Quinoa Salad
This salad is mighty fine on it’s own, but you have my permission to beef it up however you’d like. Try serving it with:
grilled chicken, shrimp, or seared scallops
more tidbits like a snack plate! I paired it with a big scoop of hummus, celery sticks, and fresh cherries
chickpeas or goat cheese, which you could stir right in for extra protein
zest and juice of 2 small lemons (or 1 large), more to taste
1/2 tsp each fine sea salt and black pepper
optional: 1/2 cup feta or goat cheese
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Once cooked, set aside to cool while you chop the veggies. (I like to put it in the fridge to to speed up the cooling).
Once cooled, transfer quinoa a large mixing bowl. Add the corn, onion, peach, blueberries, cucumber, mint, parsley, almonds, and optional cheese. Stir to combine.
Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stirring again. Taste salad and adjust seasoning if needed until the flavor really pops (like a pinch more salt or a squeeze more lemon). The flavors will get even better once it’s sat in the fridge!
Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.