The first time I ever tried quinoa was in 2010 at a friend’s barbecue. She made a cucumber salad containing quinoa, cucumber, and cilantro but it was a little bland. Similar to our Fall Quinoa Salad, this summer vegetable quinoa salad is the absolute opposite as its bursting with flavor!
Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Summer means the farmer’s market is overflowing with plenty of fresh, in-season vegetables. Home gardens are yielding cucumbers and tomatoes and plenty of fresh herbs.
For my salad, I used some smoked gouda cheese but it would be great with feta also. I put together my own dressing using some rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. I chose grape tomatoes but sun gold or cherry tomatoes will work as well.
The result is a highly colorful salad with a mild dressing that is perfect for all tastes.
Ingredients for Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad
- Chicken broth – This adds flavor to the quinoa. You can use water if you prefer.
- Uncooked quinoa – You’ll see white, red and black quinoa in the store, as well as packages that are multicolored. Any of these will work just fine.
- Frozen corn – You could use canned corn, but it tends to be a bit more overcooked because of the processing. I recommend using frozen corn.
- Cucumber – I like to peel the cucumber in stripes, peeling off a stripe of skin and leaving one in place. Just for fun, they’re more decorative that way. You can peel it completely or leave the skin on for more nutrients.
- Grape tomatoes – You can use any variety of small tomatoes like sun gold or cherry tomatoes.
- Smoked gouda cheese – Feta would be a really nice substitution, I just happen to have a soft spot in my heart (my taste buds really) for gouda.
- Red onion – If you don’t have red onion, green onions (scallions) or shallots are a nice replacement. White or yellow onion can be a bit too strong, but sweet Vidalia would work.
- Fresh parsley – Cilantro would be a great replacement for parsley but could be a bit overpowering. Parsley has a much milder flavor which allows the flavor of the vegetables to shine through.
- Extra virgin olive oil – If you are like me, the “light tasting” olive oil is your oil of choice for dressings.
- Seasoned rice vinegar – It’s not a deal breaker if you don’t have this, but the flavor is quite nice.
- White wine vinegar – Either of these kinds of vinegar could replace the other if you only have one.
- Mayonnaise – Any variety of mayo will work, and it’s such a small amount you could leave it out if you don’t like using mayonnaise.
- Salt – Use regular table salt to your tastes.
- Freshly ground black pepper – You only need a few turns of the pepper for this dressing.
Helpful Kitchen Tools
How to make Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad
First, you’ll want to cook the quinoa so it can cool before combining it with the other salad ingredients.
Combine chicken broth and quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover simmered for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Place in refrigerator while you make the rest of the salad.
In a large bowl, combine the corn, cucumber, tomatoes, gouda cheese, red onion, and fresh parsley.
Toss gently to combine.
Add quinoa and toss again.
Make the salad dressing:
In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, both kinds of vinegar and mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to combine.
Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Test it for flavor, add more dressing if desired. Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.
P.S. Yes, you will likely have dressing leftover. You can store it in the fridge and use it on your next batch of this Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad or any other salad you love!
For more summer salads perfect for potlucks or gatherings, visit the recipes below!
Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad
- 15 oz can chicken broth
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn cooked and cooled
- 1 medium cucumber halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup smoked gouda cheese diced
- 1/2 cup red onion diced
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley packed
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper about 4 turns
- Combine chicken broth and quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover simmered for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Place in refrigerator while you make the rest of the salad.
- In a large bowl, combine the corn, cucumber, tomatoes, gouda cheese, red onion, and fresh parsley. Toss gently to combine. Add quinoa and toss again.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, both vinegars and mayonnaise. Add salt to taste and pepper. Whisk to combine.
- Pour half of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Test it for flavor, add more dressing if desired. Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.
Expert Tips & FAQs
This post was originally published on this blog on June 13, 2011.