This Italian Quinoa Salad is simply my favorite way to eat quinoa ever, especially with this Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette. Seriously, grab a fork and dig in.
If you’ve been looking for a light and healthy salad you can’t go wrong with this quinoa salad recipe. It has fresh and bright flavors with lots of zucchini, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and arugula. Perfect for summer – it’s always a hit when I make it.
Italian Quinoa Salad with sweet lemon garlic vinaigrette is light and refreshing, a perfect salad for lunch or dinner. Made with tomatoes, arugula (which happens to be my favorite green), basil, zucchini, and fresh mozzarella cheese.
What is quinoa?
Quinoa is a seed that has lots of protein and fiber – such a better choice than rice and so delicious in this salad. It pairs perfectly with all of the fresh flavors – I just can’t get enough of it when I make it.
It’s inspired by my Italian Kale Salad which both the hubby and I love. I have to admit it’s a shocker because he seems to have an intolerance to anything green and leafy-like unless it is drenched in homemade ranch dressing. The kale salad, however, changed that and I think it was because of the homemade lemon dressing so I took a lot of those same ideas and came up with this recipe I’m sharing today.
This Italian quinoa salad turned out just perfect. Flavorful, yet light. And the best part is that it is a great source of protein.
This dressing is delicious and so simple to make. I like to make it first and then pop it in the fridge while I assemble the rest of the dish. That way, all the flavors meld together.
- Fresh lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Minced garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped basil
- Roughly chopped arugula
- Sliced and quartered zucchini
- Chopped fresh tomatoes (roasted tomatoes are delicious, too)
- Cubed fresh mozzarella
- Italian seasoning
- Pinch of salt
How do you make Italian Quinoa Salad?
Just combine all of the dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Secure the lid and give it a good shake and then chill it while you prep and assemble the rest of the ingredients. You can also make this dressing a few days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and, once cooked, set it in the fridge so it can cool. While it cools prepare the vegetables for the salad.
Once the quinoa has cooled, add to serving bowl, add arugula, basil, zucchini, and tomatoes; gently toss to combine. Toss the fresh mozzarella with the tablespoon of Italian or Tuscan seasoning. Add the cheese with the seasoning to the salad.
Add the chilled dressing to the salad and gently toss. Serve immediately or set in the fridge until ready to serve, up to one hour before.
You can prepare the dressing and cook the quinoa ahead of time to make things easier. Then all you have to so is add the veggies, toss, and serve it!
Quinoa salad will last for two to three days in the refrigerator. Just keep it in an airtight container.
This is such a wonderful dish to share at a potluck or BBQ! It holds up well at room temperature and the flavors pair with so many other dishes.
You can also make it a main dish by adding some grilled chicken – it’s a light and flavorful meal.
I’ve shared this salad with friends, family and neighbors and it always gets five-star reviews. With summer, swimsuits and hot weather in full-swing this Italian Quinoa Salad fits in just perfectly. Enjoy! XOXO San
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Italian Quinoa Salad
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 1/4 cup fresh basil coarsely chopped
- 3 cups fresh arugula roughly chopped
- 1 cup zucchini quartered and sliced
- 1 cup fresh or roasted tomatoes chopped
- 8 ounces mozzarella al fresca drained
- 1 tablespoon Italian or Tuscan seasoning
- Pinch salt
Sweet Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- Make the vinaigrette by mixing together lemon juice, olive oil, honey, garlic, and salt in a small mason jar or bowl. Set in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.
- Prepare quinoa according to package directions.
- Once quinoa is cooked, set in the fridge and chill until completely cooled. Meanwhile prepare arugula, tomatoes, basil, and zucchini, chopping as directed.
- Once the quinoa has cooled, add to serving bowl, add arugula, basil, zuchinni, and tomatoes; gently toss to combine.
- Toss the fresh mozzarella with the tablespoon of Italian or Tuscan seasoning. Add the cheese with the seasoning to the salad.
- Add chilled dressing to the salad and gently toss.
- Serve immediately or set in the fridge until ready to serve, up to 1 hour before.