The arrival of spring and summer brings new opportunities to explore fresh, healthy and seasonal recipes. As a home chef who loves throwing parties, I am always on the lookout for recipes that are easy-to-make, delicious and healthy at the same time. That’s where this recipe comes in – the Quinoa Spring & Summer Salad, a gluten-free dish that is perfect for any gathering or as a side dish to your everyday meal.
As someone who enjoys cooking and experimenting with different ingredients and flavors, I have come to love this quinoa salad recipe. It is packed with fresh vegetables such as cucumber, red bell pepper, and peas that add vibrant colors, crisp textures, and satisfying flavors to the dish.
But it’s not just about the veggies! The protein-rich quinoa adds an extra element of nutrition to the salad while sea salt, fresh parsley, and pistachios add savory and nutty notes that balance and enhance the taste of the dish.
Moreover, this recipe is naturally gluten-free, vegan-friendly and can be made using simple ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. Whether you are following a specific dietary restriction or simply looking for a healthy and flavorful meal option, this spring quinoa salad is perfect for you.
So let’s get started! Follow me in the next sections where we will discuss all that you need to know to make this salad perfectly every time. From ingredient lists to serving recommendations and even make-ahead tips – I’ve got you covered. Get ready to discover your new favorite spring-summer salad!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
My dear friend, let me tell you why you’ll absolutely fall in love with this Spring and Summer Quinoa Salad recipe. First and foremost, it is naturally gluten-free and vegan, made with wholesome ingredients that promote a healthy lifestyle. Secondly, it’s incredibly versatile and can be easily adapted to suit your taste buds and dietary restrictions.
But what I find most enticing about this salad is the sheer freshness of the ingredients. From the tender petals of fresh parsley to the vibrant colors of red bell peppers, cucumbers, and peas, this dish is a true celebration of Spring and Summer. And let’s not forget about the fluffy quinoa that ties everything together effortlessly, lending both texture and flavor to this magical mixture.
The decadent lemon-honey vinaigrette brings out the many flavors packed into this salad with its sweet tanginess perfectly complementing the nutty flavor of the pistachios. Additionally, the sea salt adds a subtle pop of flavor to every bite taken. Whether you’re hosting a summer garden party or craving fresh tasting food on a weekday evening, this salad recipe is perfect for any occasion.
Furthermore, this recipe demonstrates how healthy eating can still be enjoyable while being mindful of our well-being since it comprises vegetables that contain hordes of essential nutrients needed by our bodies to function appropriately.
Don’t hesitate to give it a try; I promise you won’t be disappointed!
The ingredients for this gluten-free spring and summer quinoa salad are simple yet flavorful. Here’s what you’ll need:
Quinoa Salad Ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa: This will be the base of our salad.
- 1 red bell pepper: This adds a pop of color and texture to the salad.
- 1 large cucumber: I recommend using hothouse cucumbers or Persian cucumbers as they have fewer seeds and a crispier texture.
- 1 cup of fresh peas: Use fresh peas for maximum flavor or use thawed frozen peas if fresh ones aren’t available.
- 4 green onions: These add a subtle onion flavor and crunchiness to each bite.
- ⅓ cup of chopped fresh parsley: Fresh parsley is bright, fragrant, and adds an herbaceous element to the salad.
- ½ cup of roasted and salted pistachios: The pistachios add crunchy texture to the dish and enhance its nutty flavor.
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients:
- ¼ cup of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
This lemon-honey vinaigrette dressing is healthy, naturally gluten-free and vegan.
The Recipe How-To
Before making this salad, you need to cook the quinoa. Rinse 1 ½ cup uncooked quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve under cold running water for about 2 minutes until the water runs clear. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add ½ teaspoon of sea salt, followed by quinoa. Return the water to a gentle boil.
Reduce heat and let it simmer, stirring occasionally for about 12-13 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Remove the pot from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes, covered. Once done, fluff with a fork to break up any clumps.
Preparing Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
In a small bowl or jar, combine ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup, and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Whisk them together until combined.
While whisking, add in ⅓ cup olive oil slowly (in increments) until it’s emulsified well.
Assembling The Salad
Firstly, you have to transfer cooked quinoa into a large salad bowl. Then pour over half of the prepared dressing (lemon honey vinaigrette) that you made earlier; toss to coat.
Add in diced green onion, chopped fresh parsley leaves, red bell pepper, and freshly shelled peas. Mix and toss everything well.
Next up is adding diced cucumber and cherry tomatoes followed by chopped pistachios. Mix them well again.
Finally, drizzle remaining dressing over the top of your salad just before serving. Toss lightly one more time and your spring & summer quinoa salad is ready!
Substitutions and Variations
One of the best things about this quinoa salad recipe is how customizable it is to suit your personal preferences and dietary restrictions. Here are some easy substitutions and variations you can try to make it your own:
– Gluten-free: Already naturally gluten-free, this salad can be easily modified to remain so. Just make sure all the ingredients you add are also labeled as gluten-free, such as the pistachios, lemon juice, olive oil, and peas.
– Vegan: This vegan quinoa salad is perfect for plant-based eaters. To keep it vegan, simply leave out the feta cheese or swap it for a vegan alternative like tofu.
– Lentil quinoa salad: For a heartier salad with more protein, try adding cooked lentils to the mix. They’ll pair perfectly with the quinoa and colorful vegetables.
– Quinoa chickpea salad: Similar to the lentil variation, adding chickpeas increases the protein content and turns this into a powerhouse meal. Plus, their mild flavor won’t overpower the other ingredients.
– Strawberry quinoa salad: Add some sweetness to your spring or summer salad by tossing in some fresh sliced strawberries. Their natural sugars will complement the lemon vinaigrette perfectly.
– Spinach salad with quinoa: For a twist on this recipe, swap out the mixed greens for spinach leaves instead. They’re packed with iron and other nutrients and will give your salad a fresh tasting twist.
– Asparagus and bacon quinoa salad: Bacon and asparagus both have a smoky flavor that pairs well with quinoa’s nuttiness. Fry up some thick-cut bacon strips until crisp and chop them into bite-sized pieces. Then steam or grill some fresh asparagus before chopping into bite-sized pieces too. Toss all three into your already-made quinoa salad mixture for an added burst of flavor.
With so many variations on this naturally gluten-free and vegan-friendly dish, you really can’t go wrong when creating your own unique bowl of goodness!
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving and pairing this spring and summer quinoa salad, the options are endless. This salad is perfect as a main course or as a colorful side dish to accompany any meal.
For an easy lunch or dinner, I like to serve this quinoa salad with some fresh grilled chicken breast or roasted vegetables like asparagus or cherry tomatoes. You can also add some chickpeas or lentils to make it more filling while keeping it vegan.
If you want to add a touch of creaminess and tanginess to the salad, feel free to sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese on top. However, the salad is already so flavorful on its own that you won’t miss the cheese if you prefer a dairy-free diet.
For a refreshing and balanced meal, pair this vibrant quinoa salad with a crisp green salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing. The lemon in both the dishes will complement each other perfectly.
This salad is also ideal for potlucks, picnics, and family gatherings, especially during the warmer months when people crave a light yet satisfying meal. Whether you’re hosting or attending an event, people will appreciate your healthy and colorful contribution.
Lastly, don’t forget to present your salad in a beautiful bowl or plate that highlights its vibrant colors and textures. A sprig of fresh parsley on top can add an extra pop of green while pistachios bring some crunch and nuttiness. Enjoy your delicious spring and summer quinoa salad!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
One of the best things about quinoa salad is that it can be made ahead of time, so it’s perfect for meal prepping or taking to a potluck. To make ahead, simply prepare the salad as directed, but hold off on dressing until you’re ready to serve. Store in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container.
When reheating, you may need to add more dressing or a splash of lemon juice to refresh the flavors. Gently heat the salad in a pan over medium heat until everything is warmed through. Avoid overheating as this may cause the vegetables to turn mushy.
If you want to store leftovers, make sure to keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The salad will keep for up to three days, but note that some of the vegetables may lose their crunch over time.
Overall, quinoa salad is perfect for meal prepping and makes a great side dish. Its versatility and ease of preparation will make you want to have it as part of your everyday meals.
Tips for Perfect Results
When it comes to preparing a Quinoa Spring & Summer Salad, achieving the perfect blend of flavors and textures can be the cherry on top of a delicious meal. Here are some tips that will help you create the best salad every time.
1. Fluff up your cooked quinoa with a fork: Once your quinoa is cooked, fluff it up with a fork to help separate the grains and avoid clumps. This will result in a light, fluffy texture that will perfectly complement the fresh vegetables in your salad.
2. Use fresh ingredients: It goes without saying that using fresh veggies makes a big difference when creating any salad. Consider visiting your local farmer’s market to find the best seasonal produce available.
3. Get creative with substitutions: Don’t be afraid to substitute or add ingredients based on what you have available or personal preferences. Some great additions to this salad include spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, bacon or goat cheese.
4. Experiment with homemade dressings: The lemon honey vinaigrette recipe in this article is delicious, but don’t hesitate to try different dressings such as balsamic vinaigrette, ranch dressing or even a tangy tzatziki sauce.
5. Chill before serving: This salad tastes great cold, so allow it to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. Doing so will also give the flavors time to meld together for an even more flavorful dish.
By following these tips and adding your personal touch, you’ll create a delicious and healthy Quinoa Spring & Summer Salad that everyone will love!
In conclusion, a gluten-free, plant-based quinoa salad is the perfect dish for your next spring or summer gathering. This salad is not only delicious, but it’s also packed with nutrients that will leave you feeling light and energized. By adding fresh vegetables, herbs and nuts to cooked quinoa, we’ve made it easy to create a colorful and healthful dish for lunch or dinner. Whether you choose to include ripe cherry tomatoes, tangy feta cheese or crunchy pistachios, this versatile salad can be tailored to your liking.
By following the tips in this recipe and incorporating some of the suggested substitutions and variations, you’ll be able to create a unique and tasty salad that will impress your guests. And with the make-ahead and storing options provided, you won’t have to worry about last-minute preparations or leftovers going to waste.
So why not try out this quinoa spring & summer salad recipe for your next party? It’s naturally gluten-free and vegan-friendly, making it an inclusive choice for all guests. Not only is it healthy and fresh-tasting, but it’s also easy to prepare and serve. With its bright flavors, crisp textures and eye-catching colors, this quinoa salad is sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection.
Quinoa Spring & Summer Salad (Gluten Free) Recipe
- 1/2 cup peas (fresh, or frozen plus 2 cups boiling water)
- 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced (spring onions)
- 1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup green pistachios, shelled
- 1/4 cup hempseed nuts, shelled
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or sub cilantro or basil or..?)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- If using frozen peas: In a bowl soak the peas in the boiling water, set aside until they have warmed through. Drain and pat dry.
- In a large salad bowl combine the peas with the remaining ingredients, plus 1/4-1/2 cup of dressing, (your fave or try Recipe #431876). Toss well.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
Your Own Notes
Recommended Recipes Just For You
Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!