Summery Quinoa, Basil, and Goat Cheese Salad

One-dish salads, packed with grains and lots of fresh vegetables, herbs, and cheeses, are one of my favorite thing to eat in the summer. You can make a huge bowl and have it for lunch all week, adding more herbs, slices of avocado, or a dash of hot sauce as you go. And salads like these have as many nutrients as a green smoothie, just in a different form.

The formula is simple: a base grain (quinoa, faro, barley, etc.), plenty of crunchy filler (celery, carrots, radishes, fresh corn), some luxurious add-ons (fresh herbs and cheeses), and a simple dressing of oil + acid. Toss, eat, store leftovers in the fridge. This isn’t so much a recipe as some loose guidelines for tossing delicious vegetables in a bowl.

This salad has some of the flavors of a classic caprese (tomato and basil), but instead of mozzarella, I used goat cheese to make a more robustly flavored dish. Quinoa is a complete protein, too, so it’s one of the best bases you can use for a grain salad. And of course, there’s plenty of vitamins worth writing home about: vitamin A from the shredded carrots and vitamin C from the grape tomatoes.

Quinoa, Basil, and Goat Cheese Salad

Serves 4-5


  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, washed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 loose handful fresh basil, julienned
  • lemon juice
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Cook and cool the quinoa. (Pop it into the fridge for a bit if you want.) Gently stir in the carrots, tomatoes, goat cheese, and green onions. Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice over the top, stirring frequently and tasting as you go. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with a tablespoon of julienned basil.

This salad keeps well in the fridge, as the flavors will continue to blend. Serve alongside sandwiches, or use as a complete meal.

Looking for more salad recipes? Try this Herbed Feta-Lentil Quinoa Salad or a Crunchy, Warm Spring Salad.


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