Italian Quinoa Salad
Aug 27, 2023
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Easy, light Italian Quinoa salad is zesty, crunchy and a huge crowd pleaser. You will love this quick side dish.
Table of Contents
Why Make This Italian Quinoa Salad
This salad is so easy to whip up. Packed with a medley of fresh vegetables, a blend of savory cheeses, and a homemade vinaigrette that ties it all together, this salad is a celebration of summer on a plate.
Quinoa. This is a whole grain that is packed with nutrients, fiber, protein, and plant compounds. You can find it in the rice aisle at the grocery store.
Black Olives. I use canned black olives, you can also use jarred olives of choice, the salty add is perfect in this salad.
Seasonings. The seasonings needed are salt, pepper, dried dill and dried basil.
Balsamic Vinegar. I use a nice balsamic for this one so you can really taste and enjoy the flavor. You can also use a little balsamic glaze to sweeten things up a bit both work great.
Pepperoncini Peppers. These are in the pickle aisle at the store. You can also use banana peppers, they are similar to pepperoncini.
Feta. This adds a wonderful salty creamy flavor.
All other ingredients and measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
Summer Sausage. Salami or pepperoni will work great in place of the summer sausage. You can also make this vegetarian and leave the meat out.
Feta. Use goat cheese, parmesan or you can use dairy free alternatives if needed.
Black Olive. Kalamata olives, green olives or any olive will work that you enjoy or prefer.
Pepperoncini Peppers. Pickled jalapeños will work great.
Other Add Ins To Consider. Artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, chickpeas and avocado all make great add ins.
Steps To Make This Recipe
Step One. Start by cooking the quinoa according to the package instructions. Once cooked, fluff it with a fork and let it cool to room temperature. Dice the red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, and red onion. Chop the fresh parsley. Set aside.
Step Two. If you’re using summer sausage or salami, slice it into cubes. This adds a delightful meaty texture and flavor.
Step Three. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, basil and dill.
Step Four. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, diced vegetables, cheese, chopped parsley, and the sliced sausage or salami. Pour the prepared vinaigrette over the salad ingredients. Gently toss everything together to ensure every bite is coated in the irresistible dressing.
Step Five. Plate the quinoa salad in bowls or on a serving platter. Garnish with extra parsley for a burst of color.
Sore any leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Be sure to mix well before serving any leftovers.
Absolutely, you can serve the salad warm, especially if you’re adding freshly cooked quinoa. Just note that the cheese might melt slightly, creating a creamy texture.
While the homemade dressing in the recipe enhances the Italian flavors, you can use your favorite store-bought Italian dressing to save time.
Yes, you can cook the quinoa ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the salad. Just make sure it’s cooled down before adding it to the other ingredients.
Layer Flavors: Layering the flavors as you assemble the Italian Quinoa salad is key. Distribute the cheeses, herbs, and dressing evenly for a consistent taste in every bite.
Fresh Herbs Elevate: Fresh Italian herbs like basil and oregano add an authentic touch to the salad. Chop them just before adding to maintain their flavor and aroma.
Customization is Key: While this Italian Quinoa Salad offers a selection of vegetables, cheeses, and herbs, don’t hesitate to customize. Add ingredients that resonate with your taste preferences.
Preparing in Advance: You can prepare most of the components in advance, such as cooking the quinoa and chopping the vegetables. Assemble the salad closer to serving time to maintain freshness.
Other Great Side Dishes To Enjoy
Italian Quinoa Salad
- sharp knives
- 1 cup quinoa , *see notes
- ⅓ cup pepperochini peppers, *see notes
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 1½ cup english cucumber, diced
- 1 cup black olives, sliced, *see notes
- ¾ cup summer sausage or salami, *see notes
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped , for garnish
- 2 tsp balsamic glaze, storebought, *optional
- ⅓ cup feta, crumbled
- Start by cooking the quinoa according to the package instructions. Once cooked, fluff it with a fork and let it cool to room temperature. Dice the, olives, cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, red onion. Chop the fresh parsley. Set aside.
- If you're using summer sausage or salami, slice it into cubes. This adds a delightful meaty texture and flavor.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and dill.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, diced vegetables including pepperochinis, cheese, chopped parsley, and the sliced sausage or salami. Pour the prepared vinaigrette over the salad ingredients. Gently toss everything together to ensure every bite is coated in the irresistible dressing.
- Plate the quinoa salad in bowls or on a serving platter. Garnish with extra parsley for a burst of color.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.