This light and fresh Summer Quinoa Salad is perfect for a hot sunny day or dinner on the patio. It’s loaded with sweet cherries, toasted almonds, feta cheese, and fresh herbs and tossed with a lemony dressing. Leftovers make a healthy and delicious lunch. It’s a healthy vegetarian + gluten-free side dish that can easily be made vegan, too.
Summer Quinoa Salad:
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and quartered
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta (omit or use vegan feta, if needed)
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds (see notes)
- 1/4 cup each: chopped basil, mint, and dill
- Juice from 2 large lemons
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small garlic clove, very finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (see notes)
- A pinch of cayenne
- Place the quinoa in a small pot and add 2 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork, and set it aside with the lid off to cool. Note: to cool the quinoa fast, spread it out on a baking sheet.
- While the quinoa is cooking, pit the cherries, chop (and toast, if needed) the almonds, and chop the herbs.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk all of the salad dressing ingredients.
- Once the quinoa is room temperature, transfer it to a serving bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and pour the lemony dressing over the top. Toss well then serve.
You want the dressing to be quite salty as it is the salt for the entire dish. The dressing should taste much saltier than you think it should.
To toast the almonds, chop them first then place them on a baking sheet in your oven at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes, or until they are light brown and fragrant.
This salad keeps very well. Lunch for days!