This easy Summer Quinoa Salad features stone fruit, berries, and fresh peppers coated in vibrant lemon-mint dressing. A 30-minute vegan salad ideal for lunch or a side dish on a warm summer day.
Every summer, I make the mistake of buying way too much fresh fruit. Does this ever happen to you? Between all of the peaches, nectarines, blueberries, and strawberries, I think it's easy to get a little bit carried away.
If your fruit still has a little freshness and vibrancy to it, a salad is the way to go! Fresh and easy and colorful for a weekday lunch or enticing side dish to go with whatever's on the BBQ.
If your fruit is past its best days, chop and freeze for smoothies. (This Berry Dragon Fruit recipe is one of my favorites!)
Summer Quinoa Salad Ingredients
- Peach (or nectarine)
- Red bell pepper (or any color)
- Jalapeño pepper (optional)
- Scallions (both the green and white parts)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh mint leaves
- Salt and pepper
How to Make a Summer Quinoa Salad
First, cook the quinoa:
Rinse the dry quinoa in a collander and then transfer it to a saucepan. Turn the heat on to medium and toast the quinoa for a few minutes. Once toasted, the quinoa will darken in color and begin to smell nutty.
After you toast the quinoa, pour in a half-cup of water, cover the pot, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook the quinoa for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft and translucent. Remove the saucepan from the heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
While the quinoa cooks, prep the produce and salad dressing:
In the meantime, while the quinoa is cooking, add the peach (or nectarine), strawberries, blueberries, red bell pepper, jalapeño, and scallions to a mixing bowl.
You can also make the dressing while the quinoa cooks. Whisk olive oil, lemon peel, lemon juice, and chopped fresh mint. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper until the flavors feel right.
To serve, transfer the cooked quinoa to the mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Pour Lemon Dressing on top and gently toss until the ingredients are evenly coated. Transfer the salad to a serving dish and top with sliced avocado.
What is quinoa and where can I find it?
Even though we eat it like a grain, quinoa is really a seed. For this reason, it's also known as a pseudo-cereal or pseudo-grain.
You can usually find quinoa near the whole grains in the grocery store. Many supermarkets stock dry quinoa in the bulk section, too. If you can't find quinoa in either of those areas, check out the gluten-free and natural foods aisles.
Can you make Summer Quinoa Salad in advance? What's the best way to store it?
I like this salad best with warm quinoa and freshly chopped fruit. If you're a meal prepper, though, this recipe can still work for you. The chopped fruit in this salad will stay fresh for up to five days. Store leftovers in an airtight container.
I recommend leaving out the avocado until just before you're ready to serve this salad if you want to prevent it from browning.
Potential Ingredient Substitutions:
- Substitute pre-cooked quinoa if desired. ¼ cup dry quinoa yields ¾ cup cooked quinoa.
- Instead of quinoa, substitute amaranth, millet, or farro. Or omit the grain and add chopped baby spinach.
- Make a similar salad during the fall and winter months by substituting apples, pears, and grapes for the fruit.
- Use your favorite store-bought salad dressing instead of making your own if desired
Summer Fruit Quinoa Salad
- ¼ cup dry quinoa, rinsed (see note)
- 1 peach or nectarine, sliced into wedges
- 4 strawberries, sliced
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- ½ jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
- ¼ cup chopped scallions, green and white parts
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (optional)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare Quinoa Salad:
- Add rinsed quinoa to a saucepan and toast over medium heat 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the quinoa begins to smell nutty. Pour in ½ cup water, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft and somewhat translucent. Remove saucepan from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- While the quinoa is cooking, add the peach or nectarine, strawberries, blueberries, red bell pepper, jalapeño, and scallions to a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Prepare Lemon Dressing:
- Whisk olive oil, lemon peel, lemon juice, and mint. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.
- Add the cooked quinoa to the mixing bowl with the fruits and vegetables. Pour Lemon Dressing on top and gently toss until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sliced avocado immediately before serving.
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Did you Try This Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe?
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