This fresh and flavorful Quinoa Caprese Salad recipe is vegetarian and gluten free! It’s made with cherry tomatoes, a lemon balsamic herb dressing and given a boost of plant-based protein from the addition of quinoa. It’s delicious as a main dish for lunch or dinner, or as a side dish paired with grilled steak, chicken or lemon herb salmon!

Quinoa Caprese Salad in a white bowl.

On Sunday, I prepared a large Italian-style family dinner for friends and neighbors. I was deciding between making a caprese salad or pasta salad, then I decided to make a hyrbrid and create this Quinoa Caprese Salad!

Quinoa adds protein to the dish, while still keeping it vegetarian and gluten-free! This salad is the perfect side dish with dinner, but is also filling enough to eat for lunch. I love meal prepping this salad on Sunday, then eating it throughout the week.

Quinoa Caprese Salad Recipe Ingredients in bowls on a wooden surface.

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Quinoa – for this recipe, I used white quinoa, but red, white or tri-color quinoa will all work.
  • Olive oil
  • Red onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh Italian parsley
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon juice – fresh squeezed is always preferred!
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese

Step by step instructions

  • Cook the quinoa. Add quinoa and water to a medium pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Sauté veggies. In the mean time, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the red onion and bell pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Make the dressing. In a medium mixing bowl, combine olive oil, basil, parsley, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk well.
olive oil, basil, parsley, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a white and red bowl.
  • Add the sautéd onion, bell pepper and garlic to the dressing. Stir to combine.
Onions, peppers, olive oil, basil, parsley, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a white and red bowl.
  • Add the tomatoes to the dressing.
Tomatoes, onions, peppers, olive oil, basil, parsley, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a white and red bowl.
  • Let it marinate. Place the tomato mixture in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
  • Finish it off. Add the cooked quinoa and mozzarella to the bowl with the tomatoes and dressing. Toss well and serve!
Quinoa Caprese Salad Recipe in a white bowl.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is caprese salad unhealthy? Caprese salad is actually healthy, as long as you don’t overdo it with the cheese! All of the ingredients have nutritional benefits and are naturally low in calories. By including quinoa you can really up the nutritional value!
  • What is the difference between bruschetta and caprese? Bruschetta is made simply with tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar, oil, seasonings, and is generally served atop a toasted baguette slice. Caprese contains tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil served as a salad, often with a balsamic vinegar dressing or reduction.
  • Do you eat quinoa cold or hot? Quinoa can be enjoyed either hot or cold!
Quinoa Caprese Salad in a white bowl with a wooden serving spoon.

What to serve with it

This salad makes a great addition to any meal or potluck! Try it with these recipes:

Quinoa Caprese Salad in a white bowl.

More recipes with quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse and there are so may ways to use it. Check out this post all about quinoa to learn more about this fiber and protein packed seed! And be sure to try it in all of these delicious recipes.

Quinoa Caprese Salad Recipe
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Quinoa Caprese Salad

This flavorful, gluten free & vegetarian Caprese Salad recipe is given a boost of protein & health benefits with the addition of quinoa!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubes

Instructions

  • Bring the quinoa to a boil with 2 cups of water.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat, add the red onion and bell pepper.
  • Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Add the parsley and basil to a small mixing bowl, add the remaining ½ cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Whisk well, then add the sauteed onion, bell pepper and garlic.
  • Add the tomatoes to the dressing.
  • Place the tomatoes in the refrigerator to marinate for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the cooked quinoa and mozzarella to a large bowl.
  • Add the tomatoes and vinaigrette dressing to the salad.
  • Toss well and serve.

Nutrition Facts

Serving 2gCalories 588kcal (29%)Carbohydrates 37g (12%)Protein 13g (26%)Fat 43g (66%)Saturated Fat 8g (40%)Cholesterol 22mg (7%)Sodium 480mg (20%)Potassium 612mg (17%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 6g (7%)Vitamin A 1695mg (34%)Vitamin C 32.8mg (40%)Calcium 184mg (18%)Iron 2.8mg (16%)
Did you make this recipe?Tag @WhitneyBond on Instagram and hashtag it #WBRecipes!

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