When I’m looking for nutritious and protein-packed salads, summer quinoa salad is my go-to recipe. Not only is quinoa a complete protein food (read more about it in the nutrition section below), but it’s also incredibly versatile and delicious!
Summer calls for salad bowls that are tasty, healthy, and easy to make. To use the ingredients we have in season, I picked tomatoes, cucumber, and cherries!
If you liked the tomato, spinach, and peach salad I made earlier, then you’ll love this one. Combining fruits and vegetables in quinoa salads is my absolute favorite way to add sweetness and even more freshness to salads while getting a great variety of vitamins! Similar to the combination in this Couscous with Roasted Vegetables Salad.
This quinoa salad with cherries is fresh, protein-packed, and so filling! The cucumbers, grape tomatoes, cherries, and parsley work so well together, and the homemade cherry salad dressing adds so much flavor! What’s more, this quinoa salad recipe is perfect for meal prep, providing 6 servings for about $12.
When you’re looking for summer salad ideas, think about the ingredients that are in season where you live. Vegetables are fresher and taste so much better when they’re in season.
If you’re wondering how to cook quinoa perfectly, keep on reading!
Yield: 6 servings
Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 20 min
Total time: 30 min
1 ½ cups quinoa
1 cup cherries
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 cup parsley (tightly packed)
1 clove of garlic
salt to taste
Garnish: lime zest
½ cup cherries
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp mustard seed (or mustard)
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Rinsing removes quinoa's natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter.
Finely mince a clove of garlic.
Add the rinsed quinoa and minced garlic to the water, cover with a lid, reduce to medium heat, and cook for 20 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, chop the cucumber into small pieces.
Chop the grape tomatoes in halves.
Chop the cherries in halves or quarters (1 cup for the salad and ½ cup for the dressing)
Finely mince a clove of garlic for the dressing.
To the blended cherries, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and mustard seed. Whisk until well combined.
Once the quinoa is ready, turn off the heat and let it rest covered for 10 minutes to absorb any extra moisture. Once that’s done, fluff it with a fork.
To a large bowl, add the quinoa, cucumber, cherries, grape tomatoes, and parsley leaves. Add the dressing at this stage if serving immediately or reserve to drizzle over individual portions.
Garnish with more parsley and lime zest for a bit of brightness!
If you want to add extra protein to this meal, add a can of drained pinto beans.
$12.50. This takes into account the measurements listed in the ingredients section and for the main ingredients only. It does not include seasoning.
*Quinoa is an ancient food that originated around 5,000 years ago in the Andes and in the past few years has gained global popularity due to its health benefits and nutritional value. It’s a grain crop grown for its edible seeds. This means that quinoa is a seed, which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain. It’s perfect for people with gluten intolerance as it’s gluten-free. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids making it an excellent source of protein - This is referred to as a “complete protein” food. It has both more and better protein than most grains.
*Cucumbers are low in calories but high in water, vitamins, and minerals. Eating cucumbers with the peel provides the maximum amount of nutrients. They are also composed of about 96% water, which may increase hydration and help you meet your daily fluid needs. Cucumbers contain a good amount of fiber and water, both of which may help prevent constipation and increase regularity.
*Cherries: Cherries are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. They’re also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which may reduce chronic disease risk and promote overall health. Consuming cherries, especially tart cherry products like juice and powder, may improve athletic performance and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and soreness. Cherries are packed with potassium and polyphenol antioxidants, which have powerful heart-protective properties.
* Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes are low in carbs. The carb content consists mainly of simple sugars and insoluble fibers. These fruits are mostly made up of water. They are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and folate. Studies show that tomatoes and tomato products may reduce your risk of heart disease and several cancers. This fruit is also beneficial for skin health, as it may protect against sunburns.
Did you try this cherry quinoa salad recipe?
Let me know in the comments below and/or tag your creation on Instagram #everyhealthybite.
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