Italian Quinoa Salad

5 from 4 votes
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Easy, light Italian Quinoa salad is zesty, crunchy and a huge crowd pleaser. You will love this quick side dish.

White plate with Italian quinoa salad and fresh veggies and a silver fork on the side.
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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.

This dish makes a great side alone with my Lemon Orzo With Feta or you can top it with Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs and make it a full meal!

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients needed to make the recipe in small bowls and plates on a counter.

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. 

Recipe Variations

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.

Large wooden bowl with Italian quinoa salad with veggies.
Can I Serve Italian Quinoa Salad Warm?

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.

Can I Use Store-Bought Dressing?

While the homemade dressing in the recipe enhances the Italian flavors, you can use your favorite store-bought Italian dressing to save time.

Can I Prepare Quinoa in Advance?

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.

Recipe Tips

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.

Recipe Pairings

This dish is great as a light lunch but you can pair it as a side to so many great recipes. Try it with my BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs, Pulled Chicken Sandwiches or Turkey Smash Burgers.

Other Great Side Dishes To Enjoy

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

Italian Quinoa Salad on a white plate with a silver fork.
5 from 4 votes

Italian Quinoa Salad

Easy, light Italian Quinoa salad is zesty, crunchy and a huge crowd pleaser. You will love this quick side dish. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • sharp knives

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup quinoa , *see notes
  • cup pepperochini peppers, *see notes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 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
  • cup feta, crumbled

Instructions 

  • 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. 

Notes

*1 cup raw quinoa yields about 2.5 – 3 cups  cooked. Use any color. 
*sliced banana peppers will also work. 
*any color of olive will work great. 
*pepperoni will also work. 
 
Sore any leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Be sure to mix well before serving any leftovers. Do not freeze. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 1451mg | Potassium: 542mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 451IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 3mg

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

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 478
Keyword: 30 minute
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Recipe Rating




3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Making this today I love all the ingredients cannot wait.

  2. 5 stars
    The family loved this one. I did pickled jalapeños with it, so very good.