Farmers’ Market Quinoa Salad – This fresh, summer quinoa salad is loaded with the best of summer produce. It’s the perfect light lunch or easy side for dinner all summer long! (Gluten Free, Vegan)
I love the bright, fresh flavors and colors of summer! There are SO many delicious fruits and veggies in season. It makes it so fun to head to the grocery store or farmers’ market. Today’s recipe is a summer quinoa salad packed with some of my favorites from the season–sweet corn, avocado, tomatoes and more.
The simply, tangy dressing ties everything together making this a perfect light lunch or easy side to your favorite grilled main dish for dinner. Here’s all the goodness inside…
What’s in Farmers’ Market Quinoa Salad?
SPINACH – The color is great, and the flavor melts into the background. In my opinion, it’s just an easy way to fit in some greens.
CUCUMBER – Cucumber adds a refreshing crunch to this salad. I prefer English cucumbers (sometimes labeled Seedless or Hothouse) or Persian cucumbers which have thinner skin. Use whatever works for you!
TOMATOES – I love grape or cherry tomatoes in this salad, but big, juicy heirloom tomatoes can be lovely, too! But again, use what’s on sale or what works for you.
AVOCADO – I’ll put avocado on just about anything any day of the year, but summer is prime avocado time! I love adding some creamy diced avocado to my farmers market quinoa salad. Add a little, add a lot–your choice!
GREEN OR RED ONION – Green onion tends to work better for folks who don’t love raw onion, but finely minced red onion can be lovely here. (If you don’t want strong onion flavor, put your minced red onion in a small bowl of water for a few minutes before adding it to the salad. It helps mellow it out.)
BASIL – Fresh basil paired with the lemony dressing gives this a SUPER summery feel to me. I add a fair amount because I love the color and flavor. Feel free to add more or less to taste, or to swap it out for another fresh herb (see below for ideas!).
A SIMPLE LEMON DRESSING – Fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper make a perfect dressing for this salad. I love the tang and how light the flavors are. So good!
How to Serve this Farmers’ Market Quinoa Salad
One of the things I love best about this summer quinoa salad is how fresh and light it is. It makes a great lunch on a hot day, but it also works beautifully as a side dish. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy it:
- Eat it alone as a light lunch or dinner. Pair with some (gluten free!) focaccia or watermelon on the side.
- Enjoy it as a side dish to your favorite grilled proteins.
- Pack it for meal prep to take on the go (I love these containers)
- Serve it at potlucks, barbecues, and picnics. It packs beautifully and tastes great cold or at room temperature.
Change it Up! Try one of these variations on Farmers’ Market Quinoa:
Summer is the BEST time of year for fresh produce! The beauty of this summer quinoa salad is that you can always swap out the mix-ins for whatever you can find on sale at the grocery store or at your local market. Here are a few other yummy ideas:
- Add zucchini, diced bell peppers, jicama, or roasted bell peppers.
- Try grilling some of your veggies (like corn, zucchini, onion, peppers, or tomatoes) in a grill basket before adding them to the salad for a bit of smokiness
- Use red onion instead of green onion
- Try swapping the basil for another fresh herb, like dill, cilantro, or parsley.
- Mix up the greens! Feel free to add in some spinach, or swap it out for kale, chard, or your favorite greens.
- Add little pieces of mozzarella (vegetarian), chicken (omnivore) or some white beans (vegan) to fill it out a bit more.
Tips & Tricks for the Best Summer Quinoa Salad:
HOW TO COOK QUINOA – If you’re new to quinoa or could use some cooking tips, this is my no-fail method for perfect, fluffy quinoa every time. I even include energy saving directions (which are my favorite). Pro tip: cooking it ahead of time makes this dinner come together in a FLASH!
GET THE BEST DRESSING – Especially when you’re using fewer ingredients, quality matters! I swear by good quality olive oil and balsamic for a dressing like this one. This olive oil and this balsamic are my go-to choices. (Use code “onelovelylife” for 10% off your first order). You can also experiment with flavored oils. I love their basil oil in this, but lemon is another fresh choice!
CAN I MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME? Yep! This keeps pretty well. I’ve found the lemon juice and olive oil help keep the avocado from browning too much, but if you’re nervous, you can mix up the rest of the salad and add the avocado right before serving.
HOW LONG WILL IT KEEP? This summer quinoa salad will last about 5-6 days in the fridge, which makes it great for meal prep. (I love packing it in these containers)
More Summer Recipes to Love:
- The BEST Healthy Homemade Popsicles
- Vegan Broccoli Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Rainbow Fruit Salad
- Cherry Berry Fruit Salad