Gorgeous avocado raspberry quinoa salad loaded with feta cheese, slivered almonds, and tossed in a creamy avocado basil dressing. This simple healthy quinoa salad is perfect for summer picnics!
I’m back with a new quinoa recipe today: this quinoa salad is a plant-based recipe, packed with protein and bursting with fresh flavors. It makes a quick healthy lunch for those hot summer days when you don’t feel like cooking.
As you might know, I have decided to slow down this summer so I could rest and reload with energy – very much needed. It means less new recipes on the blog, more time to update existing content, and maybe also less time cooking (to be honest I’m not sure I’ll be able to stay far away from the kitchen really, I love cooking so much! But I’ll just do it for fun).
In any case, this will not stop me from eating well. This means to me prepare homemade, healthy~ish and nutritious meals, featuring seasonal produce. Summer is always so generous with abundance of fruits and vegetables, it would be sad not to do the best of them while they are in season. So my advice: try to eat less outside, eat more homemade food. Even if it means simple meals that require basic or no cooking skills at all.
What to expect in this quinoa salad?
Today’s salad is a unique combination of ingredients that popped into my mind when I was brainstorming about easy summer recipes. I wanted something colorful, featuring sweet and savory flavors at the same time. Now my question to you: is this salad a savory meal or a dessert? It could pretty much be both!
This salad is packed with fluffy quinoa, juicy raspberries, tangy feta, fresh basil, red onion and slivered almonds. To top it all off, I tossed it all together with a creamy avocado basil dressing made with avocado, olive oil, lemon juice and fresh basil. The dressing will be more or less thin, and I suggest you adapt the texture with more or less liquids (water, olive oil) depending on your personal preferences.
Is this quinoa salad healthy?
YES! Quinoa is very nutritious, high in fiber, gluten-free, and also a great source of plant-based protein. Just remember to rinse the quinoa before cooking it, as it can be difficult to digest otherwise.
As for the other ingredients featured in the salad, they add up to make a wholesome dish loaded with nutriments from all categories. Raspberries contain strong antioxidants such as vitamin C, almonds are also loaded with antioxidants and provide great amounts of vitamin E, fiber and magnesium, and feta brings the calcium.
And do not forget the dressing, which unlike many store-bought dressings that are packed with unnecessary sugars and unhealthy fats, is here prepared with olive oil and avocado. It makes it a great source of monounsaturated fats (the “good” ones).
What if I want to swap a few ingredients?
The beauty of this quinoa salad is that it is open to creativity and ingredients you have at hand. Here are just a few options to adapt the original recipe:
- Raspberries: replace with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries…
- Feta cheese: use goat cheese, blue cheese, mozzarella…
- Almonds: use any nuts or seeds you’d like, such as hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, pumpkin seeds…
- Basil: replace with cilantro, mint, and adapt the dressing accordingly
Additional protein for vegan option
If you are vegan, you can simply skip the cheese and use other plant-based protein, such as chickpeas, black beans, or edamame or firm tofu for instance.
More quinoa recipes you’ll love:
- Spiced Chickpea Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl
- Quinoa Stuffed Eggplant with Mint Yogurt Sauce
- Spinach and Feta Quinoa Patties
- Salmon & Avocado Quinoa Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
- Strawberry & Feta Quinoa Salad with a Balsamic Swirl
Gorgeous avocado raspberry quinoa salad loaded with feta cheese, slivered almonds, and tossed in a creamy avocado basil dressing. This simple quinoa salad is perfect for summer picnics!
For the salad:
- 1 cup (180g) uncooked quinoa
- 1 firm but still ripe avocado, sliced or diced
- 1 cup (125g) raspberries
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup (150g) feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup (75g) slivered almonds
- Fresh basil leaves (optional)
Basil avocado dressing:
- 2 handful packed basil leaves
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 avocado
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the quinoa:
- In a medium pot placed over high heat, add quinoa and double the volume of water; bring mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork. Cover and allow quinoa to sit in the pot for 10 minutes.
- Add quinoa to a large mixing bowl. Add in the avocado, raspberries, red onion, feta, slivered almonds, and fresh basil.
For the basil avocado dressing:
- Add all the ingredients to a blender: basil leaves, olive oil, lemon juice, avocado, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Adjust the quantity of water and/or olive oil, depending on how you like your dressing, creamy or runny.
- Pour dressing all over the quinoa salad and toss to combine. Garnish with extra basil leaves, slivered almonds, feta and red onion if you’d like, and enjoy!
Keywords: quinoa salad