A delicious, healthy and texture-rich quinoa salad made with the freshest farmers market finds! Market Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mozzarella is vegetarian + easily vegan + gluten-free and one of my favorite Quinoa recipes!
Quinoa Salad is Perfect for Warmer Weather:
Are y’all getting enough salad this summer? This Market Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mozzarella is sure to cool you off during the warmer months, no matter how hot it gets!
Quinoa is a delicious way to incorporate superfoods into your diet. Quiona, a protein-packed powerhouse, is a complete protein. This means that it includes all nine essential amino acids, which is a good thing for those limiting or excluding animal protein.
The interesting thing about quinoa is that it is not a grain; rather, it’s a seed of a plant that is related to spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa relatively inexpensive, especially when bought in bulk and is widely available.
The peas and zucchini in this salad come from my CSA share, and the cherry tomatoes and onion, from a farm in the lush and productive Skagit Valley. Whenever I can, I pick up my veggies from a local farmers market. I love the freshness of the food and the fact that it didn’t have to travel a long distance to reach my plate.
Shelling peas take a bit of time and attention, but fresh from the pod, those pease are so sweet and juicy! I timed myself this time to see how long it would take me to shuck 1 lb of shelling peas: 9 minutes. And this was with my sweet Claire Cat telling me she was hungry, a big distraction!
How to Make Market Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mozzarella:
This Market Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mozzarella is versatile in that is is perfect for any vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diet. Simply omit the Mozzerella for a vegan option. And the dressing is made with a combination of garlic, balsamic vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil. Talk about tangy!
- First: prepare the quinoa by rinsing then cooking it in water. Fluff with a fork and pop in the fridge to cool for about 20 minutes.
- Second: shell your peas and blanch in boiling water. Plunge in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside. Frozen peas are a fabulous stand in for fresh, and are handled the same. Blanch and cool.
- Third: place your veggies including the cooled peas in a large bowl.
- Fourth: add the cooled quinoa to the veggie mixture and season with sea salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, and drop in the mozzarella.
- Last: pour in the homemade dressing and chill!
Why I use Ciliegine Mozzarella:
Fresh mozzarella is a funny thing. It comes in many different sizes, logs, balls, and pre-sliced logs, to suit your cravings. Ovolini is a variety for slicing and a good choice for Caprese salads and pizza. Bocconcini and Ciliegine are smaller, spherical forms with Ciliegine being the smaller of the two and is about the size of a small cherry tomato.
Ciliegine is the variety I use in this recipe due to its small size. I quarter the little Mozzarellas, in order to distribute their texture and flavor more evenly throughout the salad.
A Few Market Quinoa Salad Recipe Notes:
- Blanching the peas yields a beautiful, vibrant green and makes them smooth and silky. If you are unable to find fresh peas, you can sub frozen peas.
- This salad is best when enjoyed on the same day. Why? Zucchini is a high water content veggie, as are the tomatoes. So once the salt hits these veggies and it’s had time to set… it starts to get a bit soggy.
- Make it Vegan! Simply leave the Mozzarella off the salad.
Market Quinoa Salad with Fresh Mozzarella
For the Salad:
- 3/4 C Quinoa white, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 C Water
- 1 C Cherry Tomatoes halved
- 1/4 C Purple Onion small dice, about 1/4 of an onion
- 1 lb Shelling Peas shelled, yielding about 1 C shelled (1 C frozen will work here too)
- 1 C Yellow Bell Pepper diced, about 1 pepper
- 1 C Red Bell Pepper diced, about 1 pepper
- 1 1/2 C Zucchini diced, about 1 zucchini
- 1/8 C fresh Parsley chopped
- 3/4 C fresh Ciliegine Mozzarella quartered (omit for vegan option)
- 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 10 grinds of Pepper
- 3 springs of Fresh Thyme for garnish
For the Salad:
- In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil. Place rinsed quinoa in boiling water, turn the burner to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir, making sure all the water is absorbed. Cover again and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and pop in the fridge to cool (for about 20 minutes).
- While the quinoa is cooking, shell your peas (or measure out the frozen peas). Set aside. Fill a small pot half way with water and bring to a boil. Prepare a small bowl by filling it 1/2 way with water and a few handfuls of ice. Be sure a mesh strainer can fit in the bowl with the cooked peas submerged. Blanch the peas by placing the shelled peas (or frozen) in the boiling water and blanch for one minute. Strain then plunge peas in the ice bath to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.
- Prepare the onions, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh parsley by chopping and dicing, placing each in a large bowl where all the mixing will happen. Add the peas and season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the cooled quinoa from the refrigerator and place in the mixing bowl with all the veggies, sea salt, and pepper, thyme, parsley, and mozzarella. Use a large wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
For the Dressing:
- In a small bowl, add the garlic, balsamic vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, and oregano. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil. You want even distribution of ingredients or good emulsification.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Garnish with fresh thyme leaves (optional). Enjoy on the day made for the freshest taste.
Nutrition is provided as an estimate (per serving) and courtesy. If this information is important to you, please verify it independently.