This gluten-free quinoa salad recipe channels all the summer vibes. It’s also so versatile that you could swap any vegetable or fruit in this salad for whatever fruits and vegetables you have on hand or like most. I even provide a list of potential quinoa salad ingredients you could use beyond what I feature in this recipe. This recipe contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
Most people don’t realize that quinoa is a gluten-free superfood that can be safely enjoyed by those avoiding gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats.
In fact, quinoa can be a wonderful rice alternative, and it packs a nutritional punch when compared to rice. Quinoa is high in fiber, contains essential vitamins and minerals, and is one of the only plant-based foods that is also a complete protein.
You can learn more about quinoa, and its health benefits, in my article, Is Quinoa Gluten Free? Also check out my article, 27 Tried and True Quinoa Recipes for more recipe inspiration.
A classic recipe to make with quinoa is a quinoa salad. It has a wonderful texture, slightly nutty taste, and can be loaded with whatever fresh fruits and vegetables you have lying around the kitchen. Sometimes we call my quinoa salads “garbage salads” because I put everything in there except the kitchen sink!
How to Make a Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad
A good gluten-free quinoa salad starts with quinoa, which you’ll cook as instructed on the packaging. You could use plain quinoa, or tri-colored quinoa. I love using tri-colored quinoa because it has more color and bite to it, but alas, I didn’t have any left in my pantry, so I used plain quinoa for this recipe.
I cooked one cup of dried quinoa for this recipe, but you could use more or less depending on how many people you’re feeding. Simply adjust how much of each of the other ingredients you add.
My summer quinoa salad also includes plenty of fresh, gluten-free ingredients. Remember, all fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten free, so you can have fun making your own gluten-free quinoa salad as you like it.
I also think you only need to dress a quinoa salad with a few seasonings to draw out the wonderful flavor of the nutty quinoa. Don’t go crazy on the dressing.
For my summer quinoa salad, I added the following fruits and vegetables:
- 1 mango, diced
- 1/2 English cucumber, diced
- 4 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup edamame, shelled
- 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Here’s a list of other ingredients I think would go well in a summer quinoa salad. I didn’t use these ingredients, but you could!
- Bell peppers, diced
- Grapes, halved
- Corn, off the cob or from a can
- Dried cranberries
- Cherry tomatoes, diced
- Mint leaves, finely chopped
- Jalapeno, seeded and diced
- Shredded carrots
- Scallion, diced (in lieu of red onions for a milder onion flavor)
For the dressing, I combined the following ingredients:
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
You’ll notice this is a very light dressing. I think quinoa has a wonderful nutty flavor and there’s no need to over-dress a quinoa salad. The flavors speak for themselves!
To assemble my quinoa salad, I combined all the fresh ingredients with the cooked (and cooled) quinoa, then added the light dressing.
This is what my summer gluten-free quinoa salad looks like when assembled. Doesn’t it look beautiful?
You can make your quinoa salad your own, using up any fresh fruits and vegetables you have in the kitchen and need to use up before they go bad.
Refrigerate the quinoa salad for at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld together. Store leftover quinoa salad for up to three days in a sealed container in your fridge.
I recommend this quinoa salad for any summer gathering, including potlucks, BBQs, and pool parties. It’s the perfect gluten-free dish and is made with only a handful of naturally gluten-free ingredients. I have a feeling it will be the most tasty and healthiest recipe at your summer gatherings. Enjoy!
More Quinoa Recipes
- 27 Tried and True Quinoa Recipes
- 4-Ingredient Chocolate-Covered Crispy Quinoa Clusters
- Protein-Rich Vegetable Quinoa Egg Muffins
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Quinoa Cake Recipe
- Gluten-Free Quinoa Flour Banana Muffins
- Gluten-Free Salmon Quinoa Burger Recipe
Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad for Summer
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa cook the quinoa as instructed on the packaging (see notes)
- 1 mango diced
- 1/2 English cucumber diced
- 1/2 cup edamame shelled
- 4 Tbsp red onion diced
- 2 Tbsp parsley chopped
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions and set it aside to fully cool.
- Prepare your fruits and vegetables and add them to a large bowl with the cooked and cooled quinoa.
- Top with lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and better to text. Gently mix to combine and refrigerate until you're ready to serve it. It tastes best when refrigerated for at least 2 hours before serving.