Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa

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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

Ingredients In Basil Tomato Mozzarella Quinoa Salad

This salad is loaded with garden-fresh ingredients including:

  • Cooked quinoa 
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Mini fresh mozzarella cheese balls
  • Basil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Pinch sugar, optional

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

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?

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

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

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 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 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. 

Pin This Recipe

Yield: 4

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!

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 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: 401Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 760mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 17g

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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.

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About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. Super excited to try this delicious Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa, seems amazing and unique .

    Rating: 5
  2. Love this Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Quinoa , this recipe seems so delicious and unique. Will love to try this one , thanks for sharing this one

    Rating: 5
  3. This was a great start to a yummy dinner salad.  I added some seedless cucumber to this salad, then made a bed of romaine tossed with shredded chicken and topped it with the quinoa salad.  Very well received!!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this was a great start and I am sure the cucumbers a nice addition along with the romaine and shredded chicken!

  4. 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?

    1. 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 :)

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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/ 

  8. 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

    1. I appreciate you wanting to share my recipe and it’s fine what you did. Thanks for double-checking.

  9. 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.