Italian quinoa salad is packed with fresh flavors and is so easy to make! This healthy salad is filled with veggies, bursting with flavor from the homemade Italian dressing and is so incredibly filling! Naturally gluten free, dairy free and vegan friendly, this salad is great as a side dish or a light meal!
Why you will love this recipe:
- Quinoa is a seed (not a grain) and is a great source of fiber and protein. Thanks to that fiber and protein, quinoa is incredibly filling and the perfect base for salad! Move over pasta or rice, quinoa will quickly become your new go-to salad filler!
- The Italian dressing in this recipe is hands down better than anything you will ever buy in stores! And it’s so easy to make! The healthy dairy free Italian dressing will quickly be a must make for any summer salads going forward!
- This healthy quinoa Italian salad is perfect for summer meals or cookouts! Because the quinoa is so hearty, it can easily be a main dish but is also great as a side dish! Just like traditional pasta salad, you can easily change the veggies based on what you have on hand and enjoy!
- Great for weekly meal prep! This healthy Italian quinoa salad is great for up to 4 days in the fridge, and is the perfect lunch meal! Add some additional protein from chickpeas, chicken, tofu or shrimp to make it even more filling!
- Red onion
- Italian dressing of choice
Cook the quinoa and allow it to cool slightly. My favorite way to cook quinoa is in the instant pot! Check out all my favorite tips on cooking quinoa in the instant pot!
Cut the broccoli florets into small, bite sized pieces. TIP: Even if you buy broccoli florets from the store, you will want to cut them down so they are small and easy to eat!
While the quinoa is cooking, saute the broccoli on the stove. Preheat the skillet, spray with non-stick and add the broccoli florets. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the skillet and cook 2-3 more minutes, allowing the broccoli to soften slightly.
While the quinoa is cooking/cooling, chop the rest of the veggies and make the dressing if needed.
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Once the quinoa has cooled, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and stir well. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Other veggies you could add:
- Sauteed zucchini and/or summer squash
- Bell pepper (red, yellow or orange)
- Roasted red pepper
- Avocado (but only right before serving)
- Artichoke hearts (in water, drained)
- Capers and/or olives
Other toppings to include:
To make this salad more filling, you can add your favorite protein! Some of my favorites include:
- Chickpeas or white beans (vegan)
- Shredded chicken
- Ranch chicken bites
- Salmon bites
- Grilled shrimp
- Balsamic tofu
- Chopped nuts
- Crumbled feta or goat cheese
Make ahead tips:
If you are going to be serving this salad at a party or cookout it can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time for time savings. You can also prep parts of this salad ahead of time and assemble it right before. Things you could prep up to 2 days ahead include:
- Cook and cool the quinoa
- Chop all the veggies
- Cook the broccoli (or zucchini/summer squash)
- Make the dressing
Can you double this recipe?
Yes! This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for meal prep or parties! It will also last about 4 days in the fridge after assembly so leftovers are great too!
Store this healthy Italian quinoa salad in the fridge in a well-sealed container for up to 4 days. This salad will not freeze well.
If you love this recipe, you should try these other great salads:
- Zucchini Pasta Salad
- Italian Salmon Salad
- Crunchy Broccoli Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
- Greek Spaghetti Squash Salad
- Kale Brussel Sprouts Salad with Cranberries
- Cannellini Bean Salad
Italian Quinoa Salad
- 3 cups quinoa, cooked – see notes for how to cook quinoa
- 2 cups broccoli florets – chopped small
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes – chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion – chopped
- Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa with 1.5 cups water in the Instant Pot, or with 2 cups of water on the stove until quinoa is fully cooked and fluffy (takes about 15 minutes total).
- While quinoa is cooking, chop the broccoli florets into small bite size pieces.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray and add broccoli florets. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2-3 tbsp. water to the broccoli and stir well, cooking 2-3 minutes more. Turn off heat.
- Chop the rest of the veggies while the quinoa cools.
- Make the Italian dressing by combining all the ingredients in a blender.
- Add the quinoa, veggies and dressing to a large bowl. Stir well. Serve immediately or store in fridge up to 4 days.
- Instant pot: Cook for 1 minute high pressure. Get all the tips here!
- Stove top: Add quinoa and water to a large sauce pan. Turn on high heat and cover. When water starts to boil, turn down to low and cook 10 minutes covered.
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