Quinoa Caprese salad is full of fluffy quinoa, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and drizzled with a light lemony vinaigrette. This simple salad is perfect for summer!
My daughter has been at a fort-building camp at the YMCA this week in the afternoons and she is loving it!
They are having a great time foraging for and using their supplies to build a fort to keep the other group out. (They're gonna do a big game of Capture the Flag for the finale tomorrow.)
It's been nice, too, to have some low-key 1:1 time with my son while she's away. We're gonna switch that up in a couple of weeks when he has an afternoon camp (paleontology themed) so it's a nice balance.
Plus, I've been sneaking in some extra work time with the quiet. 😉 But let's talk food...
Recently I shared my Caprese pasta salad, which is a great summer potluck dish.
Today I’m back with another one.
This quinoa Caprese salad celebrates some of my favorite things: quinoa and the classic combo of Caprese salad ingredients.
I’ve actually been to the island of Capri, Italy and ate Caprese salad from the source.
SOOOO good! Plus, you can’t beat the views there. Definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. 😍
So I’m bringing some of those classic flavors together in a new way, with quinoa.
Previously I’ve shared these quinoa salads:
And y’all, that’s not even half of them!
So yes, I love me some quinoa. And in the summertime especially, I love ALL things Caprese.
Caprese bruschetta, Caprese sandwiches and Caprese chicken are all delicious takes too. I should get to work on bringing you those soon!
This quinoa Caprese salad, though, is another different take on the traditional salad.
It’s super simple and so tasty. Really lets the fresh flavors shine!
I love that the salad is just 4 basic ingredients. (And the homemade dressing is just 3 more on-hand ingredients!)
Normally, I use just olive oil or maybe a balsamic vinaigrette with most things Caprese.
But I love the lighter lemony vinaigrette here.
I think it works well with the more delicate, fluffy quinoa. And the honey helps cut some of the bitterness that quinoa can sometimes have.
(I also have a quinoa salad with spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese that uses a homemade lemon vinaigrette if you love these flavors like I do.)
Plus, we visited a restaurant in Capri that was in a lemon grove and it was so very beautiful, so this makes me think of that. 🍋💛
(Of course, you are welcome to substitute a store-bought citrus vinaigrette or a regular balsamic vinaigrette. You do you!)
And yes, this salad is absolutely LOADED with fresh basil. I adore the stuff. 🌱
I’m also growing it in my garden in the backyard again this year. It’s great having it nearby so I can grab fistfuls for different salads and recipes. 😊
Now, I’ve got some notes and FAQs coming up for this recipe. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
What is Caprese salad?
Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad made with fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil that’s usually layered and arranged on a plate. It’s seasoned with salt and olive oil and sometimes balsamic vinegar.
What kind of tomatoes do I need for Caprese salad?
Summer heirloom tomatoes are always delicious if you can find them. However, regular vine-ripe tomatoes or Roma tomatoes will work well here too.
What kind of quinoa should I use in this quinoa salad?
I prefer the white quinoa for this salad. It has a lighter taste than the red.
However, you could certainly use a tricolor quinoa here as well.
Notes on making quinoa Caprese salad:
- The quinoa here needs to be cooked and then cooled to make the salad. Please plan accordingly.
- I love the Ciliegine or cherry size balls of fresh mozzarella for this salad. However, if you can only find larger balls or a full ball of fresh mozzarella, just chop that up into smaller pieces.
- As mentioned, I love the lightness of the honey lemon vinaigrette for this recipe but you could sub a store-bought citrus vinaigrette or more traditional balsamic vinaigrette.
- This salad is best served right after it’s mixed so everything is as fresh as possible.
- But you can prep everything for this salad ahead and then combine it before you're ready to serve.
And if you have leftovers and want to freshen them up the next day, just add some extra fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil and mix it all together again. It brightens it right back up and is delicious. (This will keep for 2-3 days.)
I hope you give this a try for a delicious and healthy Caprese salad (that’s also gluten free!)
For the salad:
- 1 ¼ cups dry white quinoa
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (mixed colors or red), halved
- 1 (8 oz.) container mini mozzarella balls, halved (see notes)
- 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
For the vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 juicy lemon)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Let cool completely then season with salt and pepper. (You can stick it in the fridge for a little while to speed it up if needed.)
- Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. (I recommend waiting to chop the basil until you are ready to use it.)
- To make the dressing, add all of the vinaigrette ingredients to a small jar or container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to combine.
- Combine the cooled quinoa, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.
The quinoa here needs to be cooked and then cooled to make the salad. Please plan accordingly.
I love the Ciliegine or cherry size balls of fresh mozzarella for this salad. However, if you can only find larger balls or a full ball of fresh mozzarella, just chop that up into smaller pieces.
As mentioned, I love the lightness of the honey lemon vinaigrette for this recipe but you could sub a store-bought citrus vinaigrette or more traditional balsamic vinaigrette.
This salad is best served right after it’s mixed so everything is as fresh as possible. But you can prep everything for this salad ahead and then combine it before ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 210mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 4g