Grain Salad with Summer Vegetables

As part of our Mediterranean Refresh: Meals on a Budget! Check it out for more info! 

This awesome and delicious grain salad is the perfect lunch to prepare in advance for any season. However, this one, filled with protein-rich quinoa and seasonal summer vegetables, is particularly tasty for the last few weeks of summer. It’s easy enough to eat on the hottest days of August, and it always fills you up. The best part? Add a ridiculously quick topping that starts with a cup of your favorite pesto.

Serves: 6 to 8


For salad

1 ½ Cup Quinoa, rinse well

2 ¾ Cup Water

1 Tsp. Kosher salt

1 Pint Cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups), halved

1 Large English cucumber, chopped

3 Small peppers, seeded and chopped

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

For topping

1 Cup Homemade or prepared basil pesto

1.5 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar


Cook quinoa:

  1. Mix the quinoa, water and tablespoon of salt in a medium bowl and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until quinoa is soft and all of the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Stir with a fork, place the quinoa on a baking sheet with edges, spread evenly, and put in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes until it has cooled completely.


Make a vinaigrette:

  1. Put the pesto and vinegar in a large bowl and mix.


Collect salad:

  1. Add the cooled quinoa, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes to the dressing. Stir and distribute evenly. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Best served at room temperature or chilled.



Calories: 252

Fat: 12.8 g

Carbohydrates: 27.8 g

Fiber: 4.1 g

Protein: 7.1 g