Foodist Approved: Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe

by | Jun 14, 2016
farmers market quinoa salad

farmers market quinoa salad

The ingredients in this hearty grain salad celebrate the start of summer and the opening of farmers markets across the country. This quinoa salad is packed with a power combo of kale, sugar snap peas, and radishes and is tossed with a bright lemony vinaigrette.

The secret that takes this salad from good to great is adding finely grated lemon zest to the vinaigrette. The zest brightens the other flavors and creates a beautiful flavor profile.

A microplane zester is an inexpensive tool worthy of adding to your kitchen gadget collection. Otherwise a paring knife can be used to carefully remove the zest from the pith. This will give you large pieces of zest that then need to be minced finely. Lemon zest adds exceptional flavor to everything from dressings to marinades to baked goods.

I’ll admit it. I made this salad three times this week! The first night for recipe testing, the next night for dinner at grandma’s house, and a couple nights later for a dinner party with friends. It was an acclaimed winner at every event.

Top this salad with a soft-boiled egg for a quick, nourishing meal or serve as a side with grilled steak for a no-stress dinner party.

Summer Quinoa Salad

Serves 6

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed using a fine-mesh strainer, well drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large head kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 1 pint (8 ounces) sugar snap peas, chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 or 4 green onions (scallions), white and green parts sliced
  • 1 block (6 ounces) feta, crumbled

  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring to a boil 1 1/2 cups water and the salt. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa is tender and all the water has been absorbed, 15 minutes. If any water remains simmer uncovered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large salad bowl, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile make the dressing by combining the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a pint-size glass jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to combine.

Once cool, add the kale, peas, radishes, onions, feta, and dressing to the quinoa and toss to combine.

Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if needed. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Elyse Kopecky is a whole foods chef currently co-authoring a cookbook for runners, Run Fast Eat Slow, with Olympic marathoner and longtime friend, Shalane Flanagan. After 10 years working for Nike and EA Sports, Elyse decided to pursue her passion for talking and writing about food. She went to NYC to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute and has taken cooking classes throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Sign-up for sneak peeks of Shalane and Elyse’s book at or follow along @ElyseKopecky.

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18 Responses to “Foodist Approved: Summer Quinoa Salad Recipe”

  1. Wendy Laubach says:

    I think it looks pretty fabulous. I’ve been eating the same salad every night forever, and enjoying it thoroughly, but it may be time to mix things up a bit.

  2. shannon murphy says:

    Made this for dinner tonight with grilled trout. Got tons of fresh mint in the garden so I added some – really great. Hooray for grain salads.

  3. Sophie Elise says:

    Nice recipe.. I must try this salad today.
    Thanks for the post.

  4. Jessica says:

    I went to the farmers market today and made this. SO GOOD! I used a mix of Asian spinach and sorrel. A nice, light summer lunch 🙂

  5. Jon Wood says:

    I love these types of recipes. These are ones that are so easy to experiment different things with and it usually still comes out great!

  6. Dr. Becky says:

    Looks great! The lemon should take some of the edge off of the kale and the quinoa adds the heartiness that can make this a meal with some egg or chicken. Thanks!

  7. Melissa says:

    Yum great recipe! I love healthy eating! You feel so much better! Thankyou for sharing! Eat right, exercise right and get regular massages! 🙂

  8. Scoopify says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. It looks so delicious. I will definitely try to cook at home for my family.

  9. Thank you so much for this recipe.Tried it out, it was amazing. Quinoa is great for health and should be consumed regularly.

  10. Wow… it is so delicious! Tried it yesterday and my guests loved it. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Donna says:

    This looks really good especially on our hot summer nights here in the desert. I love Quinoa and am always looking for new recipes. Thanks,

  12. This was very, very delish! The only change I made was using Grape Seed Oil instead of Olive Oil! BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE… I love stuffed bell peppers but have cut back on rice these days. I took half of the final product and added it to a mixture of browned 1 pound lean ground beef and 1/4 hot Italian sausage and 2 cups of tomato sauce. Stuffed peppers and baked. YUM!

  13. Marianela says:

    This recipe is simple, healthy, and extremely flexible – you can use whatever veggies you have on the fridge =) Thanks for sharing.

  14. Anish says:

    Thanks for sharing it.Recipe is simple, healthy, and extremely good.

  15. Polly Owens says:

    Loved this recipe, though my heart sinks a bit every time I see it now 🙂 We miss you!

  16. Tomek says:

    This look so good! I will try it today. Thank u.

  17. Damian says:

    Cool recipe. Have to try it today.

  18. Great salad ideas. Looks yummy and delicious, will try it soon. Thanks!

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