Garden Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad — Loaded with everything fresh, light, healthy, and SUMMERY!! Great for parties, potlucks, and lunch boxes because there’s no mayo! Make this EASY and flavorful dish before summer disappears!!

Garden Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad — Loaded with everything fresh, light, healthy, and SUMMERY!! Great for parties, potlucks, and lunch boxes because there's no mayo! Make this EASY and flavorful dish before summer disappears!!

Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe

If you’re looking for a light and refreshing quinoa vegetable salad that makes use of fresh, summery ingredients, this is the one. It’s easy, healthy, ready in 30 minutes, and packed with texture and flavors galore.

There’s lightly caramelized sweet yellow onions and fresh green onions to boost the savory flavor, while nectarines and fresh sweet corn add a sweeter touch. I love salty-and-sweet desserts so why not do the same with my salads?

There’s English cucumber for crunch, basil for a burst of summery freshness, and cherry tomatoes for juiciness. Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice really brighten up the dish up and perfectly complement all the veggies and fruit.

It’s accidentally gluten-free and vegan, too. Make it before summer disappears! 

Garden Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad — Loaded with everything fresh, light, healthy, and SUMMERY!! Great for parties, potlucks, and lunch boxes because there's no mayo! Make this EASY and flavorful dish before summer disappears!!

What’s in the Summer Quinoa Salad? 

To make the quinoa vegetable salad, you’ll need: 

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Quinoa 
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Green onions
  • Fresh nectarine
  • Fresh sweet corn
  • Cucumber 
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh basil
  • Sugar (optional) 

How to Make Quinoa Salad

Add the onion and oil to a large skillet or saucepan and cook until softened. Stir in the uncooked quinoa and let it toast for about 30 seconds. 

Stir in the water, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and let the quinoa cook until the liquid has all been absorbed. 

While the quinoa cooks, add the veggies and chopped nectarines to a large bowl. Stir in the cooked quinoa and adjust the seasonings as needed. 

Can This Salad Be Prepped in Advance?

Yes! The salad is great right away but it’s a perfect make-ahead recipe because the flavors develop over time and I think it tastes better a day or two after making it. 

Garden Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad — Loaded with everything fresh, light, healthy, and SUMMERY!! Great for parties, potlucks, and lunch boxes because there's no mayo! Make this EASY and flavorful dish before summer disappears!!

Tips for the Best Quinoa Salad

You can substitute peaches, plums, apricots or similar stone fruits for the nectarines based on what you have. I don’t bother cooking the corn and just slice it in right off the cob.

If you want to add chickpeas for extra protein, bell peppers or zucchini for more veggies, or get creative with your ingredients, go for it because it’s a flexible recipe.

You can serve the quinoa cucumber tomato salad either warm or cold, and since there’s no mayo it’s a great salad for lunch boxes, picnics, potlucks, and parties. 

Garden Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad
Yield: 6

Garden Fresh Summer Quinoa Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Loaded with everything fresh, light, healthy, and SUMMERY!! Great for parties, potlucks, and lunch boxes because there's no mayo!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • one large sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and diced small
  • 1 cup quinoa (I used white but you can use tri-colored)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning fruit and vegetables in bowl
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning fruit and vegetables in bowl
  • 5 or 6 green onions, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds (use green and white parts)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh nectarines, diced small (from about 2 medium nectarines, I didn’t peel)
  • 3/4 cup fresh sweet corn (from about 1 small ear, frozen may be substituted)
  • 3/4 cup English cucumber, diced small (regular cucumbers will release more water and seeds)
  • 3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (stems discarded), finely chopped
  • pinch granulated sugar, optional and to taste

Instructions

  1. To a large skillet or saucepan, add the olive oil, sweet Vidalia onions, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened and just begin to lightly caramelize, about 7 minutes.
  2. Add the quinoa and stir it into the onions and let it toast for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stir to combine, reduce the heat to low, cover pan, and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed. While quinoa cooks, chop the remaining ingredients.
  4. To a very large bowl, add the green onions, nectarines, corn (I don’t cook it and slice it into the bowl directly from the cob), cucumber, tomatoes, basil, season with salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon of each), and stir to combine.
  5. Add the quinoa and stir to combine.
  6. Taste and check for seasoning balance, adding salt, pepper, and an optional pinch of sugar to taste.

Notes

Dish can be served warm and immediately or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavors develop over time and tastes better a day or two after making it, and it can either be served cold, at room temp, or gently reheated.

Adapted from Lemon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Almond Quinoa Salad.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 500mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 6gSugar: 17gProtein: 5g

More Quinoa Salad Ideas: 

Lemon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Almond Quinoa Salad — Fast, easy, and fresh! Bright flavors and loads of texture! This clean-eating salad keeps you full and satisfied! Healthy never tasted so good! No mayo and great for outdoor events or lunch boxes!

Lemon, Sun-Dried Tomato, and Almond Quinoa Salad - Fast, easy, and fresh! Bright flavors and loads of texture! This clean-eating salad keeps you full and satisfied! Healthy never tasted so good!! (No mayo and great for outdoor events or lunch boxes!)

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Quinoa Salad – Trying to keep meals healthier and lighter? Make this easy, refreshing and satisfying salad!

Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Quinoa Salad (GF) - Trying to keep meals healthier & lighter? Make this easy, refreshing & satisfying salad!

Spinach and Artichoke Quinoa Salad – All the flavors of classic spinach and artichoke dip are in this HEALTHY salad!! The only thing that’s missing is tons of fat and calories!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad – This EASY quinoa salad is ready in 20 minutes with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients including chickpeas, Kalamata olives, artichokes, and goat cheese to give layers of flavor and texture in every bite!

Favorite Greens Quinoa Salad — I combined some of my favorite green vegetables and herbs in this fast, easy, light, and fresh salad. It’s naturally gluten-free, vegan, and you’ll just feel healthier after eating it.

Quinoa, Cherry, and Goat Cheese Salad – Healthy, EASY, and loaded with juicy cherries, tangy goat cheese, snap peas, mint, and more!! The PERFECT light yet satisfying salad with so many great flavors!!

Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad — Easy and packed with big fall flavors!! Maple syrup, squash, and cranberries were made for each other! Love it when healthy tastes so good!!

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