Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa

Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa — This cold quinoa salad is packed with fresh Italian flavors. You can easily mix and match the ingredients to use up any fresh produce you have on hand. 

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

Basil Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Quinoa 

Summertime and an abundance of fresh produce is my favorite time of year. And simple, healthy, refreshing, light dishes that take advantage of the season are the best.

This tomato mozzarella salad is hearty enough to fill you up, but still light so it doesn’t feel too heavy. When the weather is warm, I crave lighter, fresh foods. I honestly think I could live off tomatoes, cucumber, and watermelon.

In case you’ll soon be up to your eyeballs in tomatoes from your garden or your eyes are bigger than your stomach as you wander your local farmer’s market and you bring half of it home with you (guilty), this fast, easy, and satisfying cold quinoa salad will take some tomatoes off your hands.

The simple but flavorful rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper dressing adds some tangyiness and zing while staying on the mellower side.

The crisp juicy tomatoes, in contrast with the soft cheese, and the chewy quinoa creates so many textures in every bite.

It’s just a good vegetarian, naturally gluten-free, and satisfying meal that’s easy. Not turning on the oven and keeping things as easy as possible is the name of the game.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa in large bowl with spoon

How to Make Basil Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Quinoa

To make this tomato basil mozzarella salad with quinoa, you’ll first need to cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Make sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking it, otherwise it’ll taste slightly bitter! 

Once the quinoa is cooked, place it in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients (tomatoes, mini mozzarella, torn basil leaves, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar). Give the quinoa salad a good stir and taste it to see if it needs additional seasoning. I added a healthy amount of salt and a pinch of sugar to my salad to balance the flavors, but you might not need to. 

This Italian quinoa salad can be served immediately, or you can allow the flavors to marry in the fridge for up to 24 hours before serving. Make-ahead meals are the best, right?

close up of Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa in a large white bowl

Easy Quinoa Salad Variations

Summertime is about being carefree and our meals seem to be much more of the wing-it and whatever-is-around approach. Feel free to mix-and-match the tomato basil salad components based on what you have around.

I used grape tomatoes, but any kind from cherry to diced heirlooms will work.

I have a thing for mini mozzarella balls because I think they’re adorable and mozzarella pairs wonderfully with tomatoes and basil, but crumbled feta, blue cheese, white cheddar, and almost any other cheese will work. It’s cheese. There’s never a wrong kind.

Don’t have quinoa, but you do have brown rice or couscous? They’d be lovely.

Bulk up the salad and clean out your produce drawer in the process by adding diced zucchini, cucumber, yellow summer squash, avocado, bell peppers, carrots, peas, edamame, tofu, tempeh, or whatever sounds good.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa with basil leaves and cherry tomatoes in background

More Summer Salad Recipes: 

  • Italian Chicken Pasta Salad — This Italian Chicken Pasta Salad is easy, ready in 20 minutes, and showcases some of my favorite summer ingredients.
  • Skinny Mexican Bean and Corn Salad — Two kinds of beans, juicy corn and tomatoes, crisp peppers, and green onions are tossed in a lime-chili-cumin vinaigrette that’s perfectly light.
  • Honey Lemon-Glazed Salmon Salad — This Honey Lemon-Glazed Salmon Salad is ready in 15 minutes and can easily be meal prepped. My whole family loves this recipe and said it’s their favorite salmon salad I’ve ever made! 
  • Teriyaki Chicken and Mango Salad — Fast, EASY, healthy, and sweet mango is the perfect complement to the savory teriyaki chicken!
  • Chicken Avocado Black Bean Salad — A Mexican-inspired salad with tender chicken, black beans, creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and more!

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

Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa

Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa

Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa — This cold quinoa salad is packed with fresh Italian flavors! Perfect for summer potlucks and barbecues!
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (start with 1 cup uncooked quinoa, 2 cups water, and cook according to package directions)
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes*
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) mini fresh mozzarella cheese balls**
  • about 10 to 15 torn basil leaves, or to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • pinch sugar, optional and to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and place cooked quinoa in a large bowl.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and toss very well to combine. Taste and see if salad needs more vinegar, salt, etc. and season or tweak accordingly. I found it needed a fairly generous amount of salt and a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors for my taste preferences.
  3. Salad can be served immediately or transfer to an airtight container, refrigerate, and allow flavors to marry for up to 24 hours before serving. Salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 3 days, noting that vegetables will release water as time passes.

Notes

  • *Tomatoes can be substituted with any variety diced tomatoes.
  • **Mozzarella can be substituted with crumbled feta, blue cheese, or your favorite cheese.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 6mg Sodium: 456mg Carbohydrates: 54g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 7g Protein: 12g

Even More Easy Salad Recipes: 

BLT Chopped Salad with Homemade Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing — A healthy green salad packed with an abundance of veggies for added texture and flavor! 

BLT Chopped Salad with Homemade Creamy Buttermilk Ranch Dressing - Fast, fresh, healthy & satisfying!

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) — This healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw isn’t coated with gobs of mayo & you won’t miss it.

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) - This healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw isn't coated with gobs of mayo & you won't miss it!

Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, GF) — These healthy, satisfying salad comes together quickly and easily in about 15 minutes.

Roasted Winter Squash, Cranberry, and Almond Salad with Lemon Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, GF) — A salad loaded with roasted squash, chunky veggies, crunchy almonds, and chewy dried cranberries is my perfect meal.

Roasted Winter Squash, Cranberry, and Almond Salad with Lemon Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, GF) - A hearty & satisfying salad to help you stay healthy & on track!

61 comments on “Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa”

  1. Your pictures make this look extra amazing! I’m going to try it this week. You should try this Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Chicken, Raisin, Apple, Quinoa Salad too. Here is the link
    http://www.inallofhersplendor.com/2014/03/20/the-goddess-quinoa-salad-recipe/

  2. What a wonderful way to give the old tomato mozzarella salad a little twist! And I love that you use rice wine vinegar.

  3. Oh these are definitely my favorite kinds of salads – quinoa and lots of veggies with cheese! Love this! And your photos are stunning. I hope you had a great weekend!

  4. This salad looks like everything summer is made of! Definitely in love with the tomato, mozzarella and basil combination, and quinoa is my favourite grain ever! The pictures are also so bright and cheery Averie!

  5. Now this is a quinoa salad EXTRAORDINAIRE!!!! Pinned of course!

  6. This looks positively divine!! Your pictures are stunning as always. I can’t wait to dig into this salad! Hope you have a wonderful week Averie :)

  7. OmG. This looks so good! Going to have this sometime this week with some crab legs! Absolutely LOVE your blog by the way!

  8. This recipe looks fabulous! I think I’ll have to try it this week!

  9. I seriously want to devour a huge bowl of this salad now! Quinoa is often my go to grain when making salads or when I don’t want to use rice or pasta but still want something carby. The combination of basil, tomato and mozzarella is one of my favs and totally screams summer.

    Great recipe, Averie! Pinned. Hope you have a fabulous weekend! :)

  10. Gorgeous colours, Averie! This salad is airy and fresh; just like summer herself.

  11. I love your approach to summer foods! Cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes… Just add honeydew and berries, and I’ll be the happiest girl there is! I basically live off of fresh fruits and veggies all summer, and I’ll have multiple salads a day just to get as many of them as I can. Thank goodness for farmer’s markets and TJ’s! I love how you added mozzarella and basil; basil is my all-time favorite, even though my guy hates it. (He hates a lot of things I like, come to think of it! Basil, chocolate, peanut butter…) At least that means I wouldn’t have to share!

  12. What a gorgeous salad! Nothing better than fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes on a warm summer day. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Oh yumm!!! Why have I never thought to add quinoa to a caprese salad before? Perfect for summer BBQs.

  14. Did you use RICE wine vinegar as stated in the ingredients, or RED wine vinegar as stated in the blog post?

  15. Thanks Averie! I think this is going to be a great dish to make and take camping. After a long day of driving this sounds like a nice tasty dish. I would love to know the recipe for the feta, watermelon, quinoa salad! YUM 100+

  16. This salad looks beautiful. I am a huge fan of Quinoa and sneak it in any way possible. Never thought about combining the tomato and mozzarella textures with Quinoa. Just bookmarked it. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

  17. I think I know what I will eat for dinner today. :) Is this salad good with goat cheese too?

  18. Hi Averie, 

    My name is Maria and I love your recipes! I love salads and have been saving healthy, tasty salad recipes from around the web in a Google Doc. My friends and family always ask me for recipes so I decided to post them on my blog. I posted a link to this recipe with a couple details here: http://www.mariasalad.com/mozzarella-basil-and-tomato-quinoa-salad-recipe/. I just want to make sure it’s ok with you, especially since I’m using one of your gorgeous photos.

    Thanks for the recipe! I love it. For some reason, I have never thought to add quinoa to the mozzarella, tomato, basil combo- genius! So refreshing.

    Thanks again,
    Maria

  19. Love this recipe. LOVE IT! I recommended it on my blog today because I had to share the love. I’ve linked to your page rather than write out the recipe and given you full credit. May I also use one of your gorgeous photos? Again, full credit goes to you :)  Thanks!  http://healthylittlechanges.com/2015/05/28/recipes-whole-foods-italian-three-ways/ 

  20. I’ve always loved this combination – tomatoes & mozzarella & basil! Have to try it with quinoa :)

  21. what a fabulous looking salad, perfect for the summer and so, so healthy. Il definitely be making this for my lunch! thank you for sharing.

  22. I’ve made this many times, and it is fantastic. I do have a few questions, as we can’t have olive oil so could we use ghee instead? Also do you think a bruschetta blend go well with it instead of basil?

    • I really haven’t tried it any other way than how I wrote it…and as long as you’ve made it many times and love the results, I would just stick with what’s working for you. Or not…if you’re feeling adventurous :)

  23. This is a delicious salad! Filling and so easy too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.