Caprese Quinoa Salad

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This balsamic caprese quinoa salad recipe is a delicious summer side dish or light meal! Loaded with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, it’s a healthy & refreshing gluten-free salad that takes 20 minutes to prepare.

Front view of two bowls of Balsamic Caprese Quinoa Salad


We basically live on salads in the summer, and this caprese quinoa salad is one of our favorites.

It’s loaded with quintessential summer produce items – fresh tomatoes and fresh basil! Add some fresh mozzarella and toss it all in the best balsamic dressing, and this is sure to become your favorite quinoa salad recipe!

Up-close, overhead view of Balsamic Caprese Quinoa Salad

Caprese Quinoa Salad: Ingredients & Substitutions 

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this Caprese Quinoa Salad Recipe
  • Quinoa. If desired, you can use a different pasta or rice (try caprese orzo salad and caprese pasta salad).
  • Pearl Mozzarella. If you can’t find pearl mozzarella, regular fresh mozzarella chopped into small pieces works well.
  • Cherry Tomatoes. choose your favorite tomato variety.
  • Green Onions. Choose any variety of onions, or omit if desired.
  • Maple Syrup. Honey is a great substitute for pure maple syrup.
  • Olive oil. Avocado oil also works well in this recipe.
  • Mustard. choose your favorite variety, I recommend Dijon mustard.
  • Minced garlic. a pinch of garlic powder can be used in place of minced garlic.
Front view of a glass serving dish filled with Balsamic Caprese Quinoa Salad

How to Make Caprese Quinoa Salad

Begin by cooking the quinoa and let it cool. You can do this up to 1 day prior to making the salad, and chill the cooked quinoa in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

a bowl of cooked quinoa

Next, make the dressing. This can also be done a day in advance. I usually make the dressing while the quinoa is cooking/cooling. Simply combine the ingredients in a jar and shake, or in a bowl and whisk to combine.

    Next, assemble the caprese quinoa salad. Add the ingredients to a large bowl (preferably one with a lid).

    caprese quinoa salad ingredients ina  large glass bowl before mixing

    Then, add the dressing and stir to combine.

    Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

    Serve

    After chilling, taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Then, transfer the caprese quinoa salad to a serving bowl, garnish with basil and parmesan cheese and serve.

    Store

    Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Do not freeze.

    Overhead view of a bowl of Balsamic Caprese Quinoa Salad garnished with fresh basil

    Caprese Quinoa Salad Recipe FAQs

    Do you need to wash quinoa before cooking

    Yes! I recommend rinsing quinoa before cooking it! Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that, if not rinsed off, can cause the final cooked quinoa to taste bitter!

    Is Quinoa Healthy?

    Yes! Here are a few facts about the nutritional benefits of quinoa
    Quinoa is a complete protein. This is one of my absolute favorite qualities of quinoa! If you’re like me and prefer to get most of your protein from plant-based sources, then quinoa is a great choice!
    Quinoa is gluten-free. So for those of you who have to say no to pasta salads because of the gluten, quinoa salads are a perfectly delicious alternative!
    Quinoa is lower in carbohydrates and calories than rice. If you watch your intake of carbs and calories, then quinoa is a great alternative to rice!
    Quinoa is high in fiber. I’m always trying to find ways to get more fiber into our diet. Quinoa is a great way to do that!
    It’s high in other nutrients. Including but not limited to: iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, calcium, and potassium!

    How long can you keep quinoa salad in the fridge?

    This Caprese Quinoa Salad can last for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator (if you don’t eat it all much faster)!

    front view of a bowl of Balsamic Caprese Quinoa Salad garnished with fresh basil

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    Balsamic Caprese Quinoa Salad

    Laura
    This balsamic caprese quinoa salad recipe is a delicious summer side dish or light meal! Loaded with fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, it's a healthy & refreshing gluten-free salad that takes 20 minutes to prepare.
    5 from 13 votes
    Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
    Cuisine American, Italian
    Servings 12 Servings (0.5 cups each)
    Calories 107
    Prep Time5 minutes
    Cook Time15 minutes
    Chilling time1 hour
    Total Time20 minutes

    Ingredients 
     

    • ¾ cup quinoa (uncooked)
    • 1 ½ cups water
    • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
    • 8 ounces pearl mozzarella
    • ½ cup fresh basil (chiffonade)
    • ¼ cup green onions (sliced)

    Balsamic Dressing

    Garnish

    Instructions 

    Cook the Quinoa

    • Bring 1 ½ cups of water and ¼ tsp salt to a boil.
    • Add quinoa, cover and return to a boil.
    • Once mixture is boiling, turn heat to simmer.
    • Simmer on low, covered, for 15 minutes.
    • After 15 minutes turn off the heat, stir the quinoa, and return the lid to the pot.
    • Let the quinoa sit covered for 15 more minutes.
    • After 15 minutes, transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl to cool.

    Make the Balsamic Dressing

    • Add dressing ingredients in a glass jar or bowl.
    • Shake or whisk to combine, set aside.

    Assemble

    • Add tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and green onions to the cooled quinoa in a large bowl with a lid.
    • Add dressing and stir to combine.
    • Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
    • Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
    • Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese (optional)
    • Serve cold.

    Video

    Notes

    Ingredient Substitutions
    • Quinoa. If desired, you can use a different pasta or rice (try caprese orzo salad and caprese pasta salad).
    • Pearl Mozzarella. If you can’t find pearl mozzarella, regular fresh mozzarella chopped into small pieces works well.
    • Cherry Tomatoes. choose your favorite tomato variety.
    • Green Onions. Choose any variety of onions, or omit if desired.
    • Maple Syrup. Honey is a great substitute for pure maple syrup.
    • Olive oil. Avocado oil also works well in this recipe.
    • Mustard. choose your favorite variety, I recommend Dijon mustard.
    • Minced garlic. a pinch of garlic powder can be used in place of minced garlic.
    Store
    Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Do not freeze.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 0.5Cup | Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.6g | Protein: 2.6g | Fat: 6.3g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3.4g | Cholesterol: 3.3mg | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 71.4mg | Fiber: 1.1g | Sugar: 2.4g | Vitamin A: 335IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 0.7mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you enjoy this recipe? Have a question? Leave a comment below!

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    Recipe Rating




    13 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      I found your recipe after my husband said he had a craving for caprese and quinoa…this was perfect and so refreshing, thank you!

    2. 5 stars
      Made this and it is delicious. Although quinoa is not a grain it does have grain like qualities. It contains higher amounts of protein then true grains. Would love more recipes with quinoa.

    3. Could you use a balsamic glaze for this salad instead of the dressing? I want to try this because it sounds perfect for a refreshing meal on a hot summer day.

    4. i am such a huge caprese fan – this looks incredible. I love the video too, can’t wait to make this!

    5. I can’t wait to make these to meal-prep for lunches!! I just picked the first of my cherry tomatoes from my garden this morning too, so perfect timing! 🙂

    6. 5 stars
      I love all your tips and info, and this salad!! Beyond delicious! There’s no way it’ll last up to 4 days in my fridge!

    7. 5 stars
      Saw this on Instagram this morning…. went to the store to gather the ingredients and made it for tonight’s dinner. FABULOUS!!!

    8. 5 stars
      Your step-by-step photos are so well-executed, Laura! And this looks like the ultimate summer salad.

      1. Thank you Jamie! A little secret…I export photos from my videos and edit them in lightroom…. 😉 Pausing videos and shooting photos is difficult! LOL! 😉