Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette
Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette is a delicious gluten-free lunch or dinner option. This healthy quinoa salad is loaded with grilled seasonal veggies, sweet vine-ripened tomatoes, creamy cannellini beans, and a generous handful of Feta cheese. It gets piled high on a bed of baby arugula for your daily dose of greens.
If you take a look at my recipe index, you’ll notice a bit of a pattern that has taken shape in the salad section–just about every other recipe is a variation of my favorite quinoa salad. There’s no shortage of choices, that’s for sure!
What I love about quinoa salad, aside from the fact that it’s tasty as hell, is its versatility and the simple fact that it’s easy to prepare and can be made ahead and packaged for a healthy grab-and-go lunch option.
There’s also the little known fact that the Internet community is madly in love with food in jars, so I think you’ll like the idea of packaging this Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad in a rustic mason jar. You can pull it out of your lunch box when all of your co-workers are around and make everyone jealous of how Pinterest-worthy you are.
Let’s chat about the healthy elements of this salad…
- Fiber-rich quinoa. It’s trending for a reason, friends! It’s one of my favorite gluten-free whole grains. One cup of quinoa delivers 8 grams of protein–that’s a good deal! In addition to protein and fiber, quinoa is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron, thiamine and folate.
- Arugula– the peppery green with a delicate crunch. It contains high amounts of folic acid, antioxidants, and carotenoids. The addition of phytochemicals are beneficial to preventing cancer–that’s one powerful leafy green!
- Cannellini beans add a punch of fiber, healthy dose of protein, a plethora of B vitamins, iron, potassium, and zinc.
- Grilled veggies provide a healthy dose of key vitamins and minerals.
Needless to say, this Grilled Vegetable Quinoa Salad is hell-a good for the body and soul.
I like to top this salad with a generous handful of Feta cheese, but you could also opt for fresh mozzarella or blue cheese. If you’d like to keep it vegan, nix the cheese altogether.
The lovely thing about this salad is that you can grill up any veg options that you like. Heck, it’s great dish for a fridge clear out. Any almost-dead veg can be chopped, grilled, and tossed in with the cooked quinoa. Problem solved!
Grilled Veggie Quinoa Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 4 cups chopped seasonal vegetables*
- 1 15.4-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ½ cup crumbled Feta cheese*
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup chopped basil
Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa; stir to coat in the olive oil. Cook the quinoa, stirring often, until toasted and nutty, about 3-4 minutes. Add the water and salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Continue to cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid, about 15-25 minutes. Take off the heat and allow the quinoa to rest in the covered pot. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- While the quinoa cools, preheat the grill. Add the chopped vegetables to a grill pan. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Refrain from seasoning with salt and pepper until the end. Place the pan on the grill and cook, stirring often, until the veggies are tender, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from the grill and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To make the vinaigrette, add garlic, balsamic vinegar, dijon, and honey or maple syrup to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth. With the food processor on, slowly stream in the olive oil. Add the basil and pulse until just combined.
- To assemble the salad, add the quinoa, grilled vegetables, cannellini beans, tomatoes, red onion, and cheese to a large bowl. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If serving immediately, add the arugula in an even layer to a large platter. Top with the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with more cheese, if desired, and garnish with chopped basil. Serve with basil balsamic vinaigrette. If you're prepping this salad for lunch, add the arugula to the bottom of an airtight container or mason jar and top with 1 heaping cup of the quinoa mixture. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- I used a combo of zucchini, squash, asparagus, red pepper, and cremini mushrooms
- Crumbled blue cheese or fresh mozzarella are also tasty options. If you want to keep the dish dairy-free and vegan, nix the cheese altogether.