Quinoa Zucchini Salad Recipe

If you want the best tools, supplies, and advice for renovating your home, then you'd probably turn to a professional to guide you in the right direction. Now, what if you want a great dish that's tasty and nutritious? Then hey, just ask a professional chef what she eats at home...which is exactly what we did with this quinoa zucchini salad recipe! "The inspiration for [dish] comes simply from what I like to eat at home," says chef and recipe developer Michelle McGlinn. "I find myself making sautéed squash and tomatoes often and decided to bulk up the plain vegetable side by adding quinoa and a little cheese. It barely added cooking time and doubled the serving size, making it great for meal prepping and weeknight meals."

Leave it to the chef for a great quick and easy dish, but as for how you enjoy this dish, as a side or as the main event, that's up to you. "This is intended as a side dish, though it can certainly make a satisfying meal, especially for lunchtime," McGlinn notes. If you want to round out the meal, she says that she usually serves this salad "alongside baked or pan-seared chicken or fish." Of course, if you wanted to make this dish a full meal in itself, you could add a protein right into the salad to round it out. In other words, you pretty much can't go wrong!

Gather your ingredients for quinoa zucchini salad

As noted, you can get pretty original with this recipe, pairing it with meats, adding in other veggies, and so on. But it's always best practices to first prep a dish just as a chef lays it out, and to do that, you'll need quinoa, olive oil, diced shallot, minced garlic, sliced and halved zucchinis, halved cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, fresh spinach, and crumbled goat cheese. You may want to add in a little salt and pepper to taste as well.

Cook the quinoa

First, rinse the quinoa with water, then it place in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water (the amount of water should always be double the amount of quinoa that you're making, just like rice) and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the quinoa for 10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Once the water is absorbed, cut the heat, cover the saucepan, and steam the quinoa for five minutes. ""Cooking the quinoa is the hardest part of this recipe," says McGlinn. "It is very similar to cooking rice and can similarly result in overcooked or mushy quinoa. As long as you are watching the quinoa fairly closely, you should easily avoid overcooking."

Start cooking the veggies

As the quinoa cooks and then steams, meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the diced shallot and garlic and cook until they are fragrant, which only takes about a minute. Next, add the zucchini and the tomatoes and simmer everything until the tomatoes are softened and the zucchinis are cooked and browning, which will take about four to five minutes. Be sure to stir everything frequently, and if the shallots begin to burn, you can turn the heat down and adjust accordingly.

Add the lemon juice and spinach, then the cheese

Next, add the lemon juice and the salt and pepper, and stir to combine these in. Then add the fresh spinach and stir until it was wilted and incorporated into the vegetable mixture. Now stir in the cooked quinoa, combining the vegetables and grains together well, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the crumbled goat cheese and stir to combine, then serve and enjoy. And if you made more than you needed, no problem! "The leftovers keep really well, and reheat quickly in the microwave," says McGlinn, adding that she "often make[s] a big portion to use for meal prep during the week." It doesn't get much easier (or nutritious) than that!

Quinoa Zucchini Salad Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
If you're looking for a flavorful, colorful, and healthy side dish, then this quinoa zucchini salad is the perfect option.
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
a bowl of quinoa zucchini salad
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small zucchinis, sliced, then halved
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
Optional Ingredients
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. To begin, rinse quinoa with water, then place it in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and bring everything to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Once the water is absorbed, cover the saucepan and steam the quinoa for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the zucchini and the tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes are softened and zucchinis are cooked and browning, about 4 to 5 minutes. If the shallots begin to burn, turn the heat down slightly.
  4. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine, then add the spinach and stir until it has wilted into the vegetable mixture.
  5. Stir in the cooked quinoa, combining the vegetables and quinoa together well, then remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Add the crumbled goat cheese and stir to combine, then serve.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 389
Total Fat 22.5 g
Saturated Fat 6.4 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 13.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 35.5 g
Dietary Fiber 5.4 g
Total Sugars 4.4 g
Sodium 154.1 mg
Protein 13.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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