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Caprese Quinoa Salad

This Caprese Quinoa Salad starts with a seasoned quinoa base, topped with cherry tomatoes, creamy avocado, pearled mozzarella, and fresh basil. A simple balsamic dressing ties everything together!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword Caprese Quinoa Salad
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chilling Time (Quinoa) 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6 -8 servings as a side
Calories 375kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $6.84

Ingredients

Quinoa

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion (~1 medium onion)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (~2-3 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup white quinoa + 1 cup water
  • Fine sea salt & cracked pepper

Salad

  • 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package (3/4 ounce) fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh miniature mozzarella pearls halved
  • 1 large ripe avocado chopped

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon EACH: red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • QUINOA: Heat the olive oil in a medium non-stick pot (that has a fitted lid) over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the quinoa (no liquid yet) and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Pour in the water, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste). Cover the pot with a lid, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until all of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa has "popped," about 18-25 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 5-10 minutes to steam. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a bowl; refrigerate to chill through. (To get it cold faster, spread it on a lined sheet pan and place in the freezer.) Quinoa can be prepared 3-4 days in advance.
  • DRESSING: In a Mason jar, add all the dressing ingredients. Season with salt and pepper, I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Shake to combine and store in the fridge until ready to top the salad. (Shake again before dressing the salad.)
  • SALAD: In a large bowl, toss the chopped romaine lettuce with the completely cooled quinoa. Add in the shredded basil, freshly chopped avocado, mozzarella, and halved cherry tomatoes. Add black pepper to taste (I add 1/8 teaspoon) and any additional salt if needed. Gently toss and then drizzle with dressing, gently tossing once more.

Notes

STORAGE: This salad doesn't sit well with the dressing and avocados, so only dress what will be enjoyed the same day. Store any leftover salad, avocados, and dressing separately.

Nutrition

Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 996mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 17616IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 4mg