This Balsamic Quinoa Salad is a light and wholesome salad perfect for a summer meal. The balsamic dressing adds a delicious, tangy flavor to the quinoa, making it a crowd-pleaser at your next picnic or potluck. This salad can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!
If you think that salad is boring, wait until you give this Balsamic Quinoa Salad a try!
It's packed with flavor and texture, making it the perfect meal or side dish.
Plus, it's easy to customize to your liking.
Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Ingredients for Making Balsamic Quinoa
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds help to thicken the dressing without using additional oil. If you don't have them, omit and use another ¼ cup of olive oil.
- Balsamic vinegar: The balsamic vinegar gives the salad a delicious, tangy flavor.
- Dijon mustard: Dijon mustard adds a bit of spice and a little kick to the salad.
- Garlic cloves: Garlic cloves add a boost of flavor to the salad. If you don't have fresh garlic, you can use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper adds a bit of heat to the salad.
- Salt and black pepper: Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use your best quality of olive oil.
- Olive oil spray: Olive oil spray coats the pan when cooking the shallots and red pepper.
- Shallots: Shallots are an onion with a milder flavor than regular onions. They add a delicious flavor to the salad. Minced red onion could be substituted.
- Red pepper: Red pepper is used for color, crunch, and mild sweet heat in the salad.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes add a sweet, flavorful component to the salad. Soak them in warm water for a few minutes before adding them to the salad to soften them up.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a hearty, protein-packed seed that makes a great base for salads. Be sure to rinse it before cooking to remove any bitter taste.
- Bouillon: Bouillon is used to add flavor to quinoa. I like to use Better than Bouillon Organic Vegetable base.
- Black beans: Black beans are a great source of protein and fiber. They add a delicious, hearty component to the salad.
- Blue cheese crumbles (optional): Blue cheese crumbles add a bit of salty, savory flavor to the salad. They are optional, but I think they take the salad to the next level. If you don't like blue cheese, you could also use feta cheese, goat cheese or your favorite vegan cheese.
Tips & Tricks
- If you are short on time, you can use pre-cooked quinoa to save time. I like to buy the organic, pre-cooked quinoa from Trader Joe's. It's a great time saver!
- Don't like blue cheese? Feel free to substitute with another type of cheese, such as feta or goat cheese.
- Not a fan of sun-dried tomatoes? You could also use fresh diced tomatoes in this salad.
This salad is delicious on its own, but can also be served with chicken or shrimp to make it a complete meal.
It's perfect for a summer potluck or picnic.
This salad can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
How to Make Balsamic Quinoa Salad
First, start by making the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk together chia seeds, water, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic cloves, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
Slowly whisk in olive oil until well combined. Set aside.
Next, make the salad. Coat a large pan with olive oil spray and heat over medium heat. Add shallots and red pepper to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until softened.
Add sun-dried tomatoes (be sure to soak them in warm water for a few minutes first), quinoa, bouillon, and water.
Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes
More Quinoa Salad Recipes to Try
- Caprese Quinoa Salad is a hearty alternative to a classic Caprese salad that is perfect for a summer meal.
- When you want a salad that is as pretty as it is flavor-packed, give this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad a try.
- Quinoa Black Bean Salad is a fun salad that you will crave! Make it once and you will be hooked.
- When you are craving a little crunch, this Crunchy Quinoa Salad is sure to satisfy!
Balsamic Quinoa Salad
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 - 6 cloves garlic minced
- ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Olive oil spray
- 2 shallots minced
- 1 red pepper chopped
- ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes soaked in warm water to soften
- 1 ½ cups quinoa rinsed
- 1 tablespoon bouillon I use Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken or Vegetable base
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups cooked drained and rinsed black beans (about 1 can)
- 4 ounces blue cheese crumbled (optional)
- In a small bowl combine chia seeds and water. Set aside to thicken for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Once chia and water have formed a gel combine chia gel, balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic, peppers and salt in a blender. Process until well combined. With the blender running add the olive oil in a steady stream. Process until emulsified.
- Meanwhile, spray a medium skillet with olive oil spray and heat to medium. Add shallots and red pepper and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add sun dried tomatoes and cook for another three minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Spray a saucepan with a little olive oil and add quinoa. Cook for three to four minutes. Add bouillon and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce to low and cover. Cook on low for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and place a clean dish towel over the pot. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place quinoa on a cookie sheet to cool.
- In a large bowl combine red pepper, shallot, sun dried tomato, quinoa and black beans. Toss with ¼ cup of dressing. Sprinkle with blue cheese and drizzle with additional dressing as desired.