Summer Squash & Red Quinoa Salad :: Picnic Perfect!

summer squash & red quinoa salad - on Platter

When my friend Kasey served this Summer Squash & Red Quinoa Salad, it was a “get out the cell phone and take a picture” moment.  Besides that, it was delicious!

I don’t know about you, but by this time in the summer, I’ve had enough potato- or 7-layer salad to last me awhile. I want something different! Mix it up a little! And how about something that’s healthy, fairly simple to throw together, and gorgeous? Is that too much to ask?

This salad has become a summer favorite in our house – and it gives me another option for that farmers’ market or garden zucchini.  You can serve it as a side or meatless main dish salad. And it’s terrific for lunch the next day.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Summer Squash & Red Quinoa Salad
  • ½ cup red or other quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh sieve, drained
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1 pound assorted summer squash
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan plus ¼ cup shaved with a peeler
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  1. Bring quinoa and 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season with salt, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is tender but not mushy, 12–15 minutes. Drain; return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Uncover; fluff with a fork and let cool.
  2. Cut squash into ⅛"-thick slices, some lengthwise and some crosswise. Transfer to a large bowl, season with 2 tsp. salt, and toss to coat. Let sit until slightly wilted, about 15 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Whisk grated Parmesan, zest, juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine squash, quinoa, parsley, walnuts, and basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over; toss to coat. Garnish with shaved Parmesan.

If you don’t have a mandoline, put it on your wish-list! It makes slicing the zucchini (and potatoes for homemade potato chipssuper quick and easy.


Take this to your next picnic or include it in a buffet-style dinner – and enjoy a tasty alternative to the usual suspects…

{Our friends Tom & Sue are going through a kitchen remodel right now.  Since we just did ours last year, I know that you can only do so much with a microwave and a hot plate!  So I’m heading out “as we speak” to take them some of this.}

summer squash & red quinoa salad - extreme

Let me know if you make it, and what you think…!

summer squash & red quinoa salad - buffet

A beautiful addition to a casual buffet.

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