One of the crown jewels of summer produce has to be sweet, juicy strawberries. This strawberry summer quinoa salad celebrates the best of the season’s berry crop with a delicious strawberry basil salad dressing. Bring this to your next potluck to wow your family and friends!
What makes this summer quinoa salad special?
Let’s be honest, when summer is in full swing and there aren’t enough fans in the world to keep you cool, the last thing you want is to turn on your oven. I love a good dish that doesn’t require heat! Adding whole grains, or in this case quinoa, to salads fills you up, while still keeping things light and vegetarian. For the quinoa, my special trick is to add fresh lemon zest after cooking to add even more brightness and flavor throughout the salad.
Looking for a dinner or lunch with major fresh flavor? Tart lemon, crunchy cucumber and snap peas, and creamy goat cheese make this salad come to life! Next potluck, bring a big bowl of this quinoa salad and your friends will be begging you for the recipe.
You can meal prep the quinoa ahead of time so you have it on hand for lots of meals throughout the week. I also recommend making the strawberry basil dressing ahead of time so the flavors can meld and deepen. When hunger strikes, all you have to do is throw in your fresh greens, more strawberries, cucumber, snap peas, and some crumbly cheese. Boom! Lunch or dinner in less than 5 minutes. I call that a win.
Tips for making this salad
- Like I mentioned before, make your quinoa ahead of time! It would also be delicious with barley, farro, or no grains at all! Just add extra greens.
- As with any salad or buddha bowl, you can customize to your hearts content! Instead of arugula, try baby kale or spinach. Instead of goat cheese, feta would also be excellent. Feeling extra? Throw some avocado on there!
- Looking for some protein? I love adding roasted chicken, salmon or tofu cubes to the mix.
- Using a blender to mix up the dressing versus a food processor will yield a supremely silky sauce.
- You can also swap out raspberries for strawberries in the dressing and it’s equally delicious!
- Fun extras you can throw in the mix: pistachios, almonds, hemp hearts, red onion, avocado, and fresh mint would all be winners in my book.
Other ways to use your strawberry basil dressing
As long as you’re whipping up a batch of this strawberry basil dressing, might as well double it so you can have extra on hand throughout the week.
In addition to salads, I love drizzling it over a grilled salmon or halibut. Making some chicken and zucchini skewers? You better believe this dressing would be delish on the side. For a summery spin on a caprese salad, try layering slices of fresh mozzarella, peaches, basil, heirloom tomato and avocado with this drizzled on top. You can thank me later! ; )
Strawberry Summer Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 whole lemon, zested
Strawberry Basil Dressing
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1 whole lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup halved sugar snap peas
- 1 cup sliced cucumber
- 1/2 cup goat cheese
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- Bring 2 cups of vegetable stock and salt to a boil.
- In the meantime, thoroughly rinse your quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and drain well.
- Add quinoa to boiling water and lower heat to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. The quinoa should be al dente (a slight hardness but not crunchy) and not mushy.
- Remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Let rest for 5-10 minutes and fluff with a fork. Add in lemon zest.
Strawberry Basil Salad Dressing
- Add strawberries, basil, dijon, lemon zest, lemon juice and red wine vinegar to a blender. Blend to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, layer the arugula, cooked quinoa, strawberries, snap peas, and cucumber. Drizzle over the strawberry basil dressing and top with crumbled goat cheese.
- Feta is a fantastic substitute for goat cheese.
- Raspberries taste great in this recipe if you want to swap out for strawberries.
- To cool your quinoa quickly, spread it out on a cookie sheet in a thin layer.
- The strawberry basil dressing will keep for roughly 4 days in the refrigerator