This Cucumber Quinoa Salad is easy to make ahead of time, naturally gluten-free, and full of fresh, feel-good flavors that everyone will love!
Doesn’t it feel so easy to cook this time of year?!?
Man, I don’t know about you, but one glance at the rainbow of gorgeous summer produce available at the farmers market feels like — poof! — instant inspiration to want to run home and cook something fresh and healthy and yummy. I love it!!! Yet one more reason why I believe summer is the most wonderful time of the year. 😉
With all of the fresh greens in season (and showing up in abundance my CSA) lately, I’ve been making kale and arugula and spring greens salads galore, which always feel so good. But for something different last week, I decided to make a refreshing little cucumber salad. I seem to be obsessed with English cucumbers lately, so I grabbed one from the fridge and tossed it with some fresh basil, red onion, and feta I had on hand. And then added in some quinoa for extra protein, and tossed it all with a simple lemony vinaigrette.
This fresh, fun, and fabulously flavorful salad that I already can’t wait to make again.
Truly, it’s super easy to make. Just chop up a big English cucumber, some red onion, and lots fresh basil. Toss those together with some crumbled feta (or Parmesan, or any cheese that sounds good) and chilled (<– you don’t want it to be too hot and melt the cheese and wilt the basil) quinoa.
Then drizzle it all with a simple lemony vinaigrette.
Give it all a good toss.
And then this beautiful, healthy salad will be ready to share and enjoy
It’s the perfect salad to make ahead for nights when you want to grill out, or to take along for a picnic or potluck, or to bring to work for a fresh lunch, or — really — anytime you’re craving a healthy and zesty little salad. Feel free to add in whatever vinaigrette you have on hand, or even add in some cooked chicken if you’d like some extra protein. I just recommend that you make this one…soon. 🙂
CUCUMBER QUINOA SALAD
CUCUMBER QUINOA SALAD INGREDIENTS:
1 English cucumber, diced
2 cups chilled* cooked quinoa (see this tutorial for how to cook quinoa)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup julienned or roughly-chopped fresh basil leaves
1 batch Lemony Italian vinaigrette (see below)
LEMONY ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, homemade or store-bought
pinch of salt and black pepper
TO MAKE THE CUCUMBER QUINOA SALAD:
Toss all ingredients together until combined. Serve immediately.
TO MAKE THE LEMONY ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.
*If you add hot quinoa fresh out of the pan, it will melt the cheese and wilt the basil a bit in this recipe. So I recommend cooking it beforehand and letting it chill in the refrigerator before making the salad. Or, if you need to cook it immediately beforehand, just spread the cooked quinoa out in a thin layer on a baking sheet and pop it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. That will help it cool down nice and quickly!