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Easy Healthy Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe

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Summer quinoa salad combines the best of summer produce in an easy, nutritious, and produce-filled salad! If you’re after healthy quinoa salad recipes, look no further! This EASY, simple, summer quinoa salad (aka cold quinoa salad) features the BEST summer produce and is perfect for warm nights.

This colorful salad works as the main event or as a side to grilled chicken drumsticks, grilled chicken thighs, or veggie burgers and toppings.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

quinoa salad recipe - pinterest image

Summer livin’ is great, don’t you think?

It probably helps that I’m on maternity leave, so summer feels extraaaaaa nice and relaxed.

I don’t like the heat, but I love the trips to the beach. I love the afternoon dips in the pool. And I really love the bright fresh flavors that are everywhere. When I think of summer produce I think: zucchini, tomatoes, corn. Perhaps it is my midwest upbringing, but these are summer STAPLES and meals should be created around them.

And it’s just how this summer quinoa salad came about. This healthy quinoa salad features my favorite summer staples, all tossed together with a bright (and easy!) pesto dressing and finished with some pine nuts and tangy goat cheese. Because it’s a cold quinoa salad it’s especially great on hot summer nights. Swoon!

summer quinoa salad in a bowl

What Is Quinoa Salad?

Quinoa salad can mean SO many different things. And I’ve got quite a few quinoa salad recipes on my site. (Yes, I’m obsessed with healthy quinoa salad recipes, I can’t help it.)

But by my definition, quinoa salad is a salad featuring quinoa (obvi!) and some sort of vegetables. Sometimes there are beans, sometimes (ok, usually) there is cheese. Always tasty!

I love that quinoa salads can be made ahead of time and can be eaten at room temperature or cold. They are also a great way to meal prep lunches for the week as most cold quinoa salads hold up quite well.

How to Make Quinoa Salad

This quinoa with summer vegetables couldn’t be easier.

First, we’re going to cook the quinoa. I like to use broth instead of water to give it some more flavor. But using water is also fine.

Then, it’s time to get the vegetables ready. We’ll lightly saute the zucchini, corn, and tomatoes until tender crisp.

After we mix up the dressing: a delicious and bright combination of pesto, lemon juice, and water.

And then we toss the quinoa and veggies with the dressing and top it with some toasted pine nuts and goat cheese crumbles. Summer quinoa salad with corn is done!

cold quinoa salad with corn, tomatoes, zucchini

It’s also excellent topped with some grilled chicken if you want to turn it into a full meal. Pack it up for the beach, or music in the park, but it tastes just as good in your hot apartment. 😉

Fresh Corn or Frozen in Summer Quinoa Salad?

You’ll notice that I often use frozen corn because it’s easier to deal with. I’ve figured out my hangup with fresh corn on the cob. Then I used fresh corn for a few recipes and realized it’s not THAT hard to shuck and cut kernels off the cob. But I shucked a lot of corn as a kid. It was the job that my brother and I had to do every day that corn was on the menu. Which was every day that corn was in season. Which ended up being a lot – and I guess I’m still scarred from it! Oh, and I also very distinctly remember spending a day shucking corn so that we could put it up for the winter. That really pushed me over to team frozen. So for a recipe like this one, I usually go with frozen just to make things extra easy.

But as I always mention, use whatever makes sense for you! Fresh or frozen, I think it all tastes good! (My grilled tilapia foil packets also use shortcut frozen corn – even in the summer!)

healthy quinoa salad in a bowl

More Cold Summer Salad Recipes

I told you I loved healthy quinoa salads! Here are some of my favorites, I’m sure there will be more to to come. 🙂

I love hearing from you guys when you make recipes you’ve found here so let me know what you think, or tag me on social media (@myeverydaytable or #myeverydaytable) so I can see your creations!


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Easy Healthy Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe

  • Author: Emily Dingmann
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American
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If you’re after healthy quinoa salad recipes, look no further! This EASY, simple, summer quinoa salad (aka cold quinoa salad) features the BEST summer produce and is perfect for warm nights.


  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 zucchini
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn kernels (about 2 ears of corn)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1/21 lemon)
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • salt & pepper


  1. Prepare quinoa as directed. (I like using broth, but water is fine.) Set aside in large mixing bowl.
  2. Prep veggies: slice zucchini in half moon shapes, mince garlic, slice tomatoes in half, cut corn off kernel if using fresh corn. If using frozen, remove from freezer.
  3. Heat olive oil in large sauté pan. When hot, add zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, and corn to pan.
  4. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Season with salt and pepper and add to the bowl with quinoa.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together pesto, lemon juice, and water. Drizzle over quinoa and vegetables, tossing to distribute.
  6. Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle with pine nuts before serving.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

Keywords: quinoa salad


summer quinoa salad recipe - pinterest

Originally published August 15, 2017.

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  1. sarah k @ the pajama chef

    mmm, this sounds great! i love corn in the summer too… indiana is a corn state so it really was the food of my childhood. my husband teases me about that, but i really am obsessed with corn on the cob in the summer. 🙂

  2. Dan

    Your mother and father are planning to put corn up next week. I wonder if you could arrange a visit so that we could pass on that time honored summertime ritual to your daughters.

  3. Cindy

    I know from first hand experience that this is an amazing, wonderful, flavorful summer salad! I’ll shuck the corn anytime. 😘

    • Emily

      It IS! I had it for lunch many, many days! So nice to have everything ready-to-eat. (And that’s also when I added some chicken for an extra boost of protein!)


    Delicious and easy to assemble. Love all the summer produce it has in it. Definitely going on my lunch rotation for the summer. YUM!
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sarah Beckman

    I absolutely love this recipe and have been making it for years. It’s delicious and light for summer. My toddler even loves it.