Summer quinoa salad recipe with three dressing options

I love quinoa. I admit, I had to grow into it. The weird squiggly shape of the little grains gave me a mild case of the willies at first. But I’m over my willies now. I like it so much, my enthusiasm for quinoa sometimes has people asking, “why don’t you marry it?”

It doesn’t hurt that I feel good about eating it — I mean it’s a superfood, people.

I make quinoa salads all through the summer. I don’t really use a recipe. I just use whatever I have kicking around in the fridge. For example. Today, I have:

... all of this going on.

... all of this going on.

So I chop it all up:

You can use a food processor if you're in a hurry.

You can use a food processor if you're in a hurry.

And then I mix it with cooled cooked quinoa. Quinoa about triples in size when you cook it, so just keep that in mind when you’re trying to decide how much to make.

Add some kind of dressing and toss to coat. I usually use one of these three:

For a Middle Eastern salad:

  • Whisk together equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, then add a clove of garlic, minced, a handful each of chopped fresh mint and parsley and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Sometimes I’ll add some crumbled feta in, too.

For an Asian salad:

  • Whisk together 4 parts unseasoned rice vinegar and 1 part each of soy sauce, sesame oil and honey. Mix in handful of chopped cilantro and a minced green onion. And hot sauce, naturally.

For an Italian salad:

  • Whisk together equal parts olive oil, wine vinegar and strained tomato puree (passata). Season with salt, pepper, a little minced garlic and a handful of chopped fresh basil.
Blam! Salad.

Blam! Salad.

I make a batch of this on a Sunday and then eat it for several days in a row for lunch. Or I use it as a side dish next to grilled chicken or fish. It’s got the starch and veg all rolled up in one. It’s also super portable, so perfect for potlucks.

What’s your go-to summer salad?