Happy Monday! This is Stephanie from Steph in Thyme, and today I am sharing a healthy side dish for your next supper or picnic. This Gluten-Free Summer Quinoa Salad is filled with sweet and savory flavors for a light, refreshing, and healthy summer side.
My aunt made a variation of this quinoa salad a few years ago at a Labor Day picnic. I’ve never been the biggest fan of fruit in salads, preferring a purely savory plate. Load up the veggies, but add in fruit? Heavens, no!
Well, all that changed with this Summer Quinoa Salad. I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved the sweet and savory flavors together in one bite. The sweetness of the seedless grapes and ripe blueberries contrast nicely against the tangy crumbled feta, crisp cucumber, and savory vinaigrette.
The fresh fruit also adds color and texture to the dish, each bite chock full of ripe fruit and creamy feta. For a bit of crunch, I recommend adding a few tablespoons of pine nuts or walnuts.
Quinoa, the base of this salad, is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, first cultivated over 5,000 years ago by the Incas who considered it “the Mother of all Grains.” Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, rich in fiber, and high in protein (in addition to numerous other health benefits).
Red and white quinoa have slightly different textures – white quinoa creamier and softer, red quinoa maintaining more of a bite after cooking. I often combine the two together for a blend of textures and colors. For added flavor, I always cook the quinoa in broth versus water.
The vinaigrette is oh so simple – red wine vinegar and dijon mustard whisked together with olive oil, salt, and pepper. That’s it!
(If you’re following a gluten-free diet, check to make sure that the mustard you are using is gluten-free. The vinegar in mustard may have been distilled from gluten grains, posing a reaction risk).
This salad is delicious served chilled or slightly warm (my preference). So healthy and simple, but rich with flavor and texture. Grab a fork and dig in!
A delicious and refreshing quinoa salad with crumbled feta, fresh grapes, blueberries, and cucumbers tossed in a simple vinaigrette.
- 1/2 cup uncooked red quinoa
- 1/2 cup uncooked white quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup halved green seedless grapes
- 1/2 cup halved red seedless grapes
- 1/2 cup seeded, diced cucumber
- 3-4 tbsp pine nuts (optional)
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard (gluten-free, if needed)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and broth. Heat over medium and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Transfer quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar and mustard together. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking vigorously as you do. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.
- Place the blueberries, feta, cucumber, and grapes in a large bowl. Pour the cooled quinoa over top. Add the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat and combine the ingredients. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately, or cover and chill in the refrigerator prior to serving.
You can certainly adjust the quantities of fruit, adding more or less according to preference and taste.