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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
- 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
- Cook quinoa according to package directions and place cooked quinoa in a large bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- *Tomatoes can be substituted with any variety diced tomatoes.
- **Mozzarella can be substituted with crumbled feta, blue cheese, or your favorite cheese.
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!
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.