Celebrate the flavors of summer with this healthy and fresh vegetarian Summer Quinoa Salad! Featuring avocado for creaminess, strawberries for sweetness, walnuts for crunchiness, feta for that extra kick of flavor, and quinoa to make it more hearty, this salad has it all. An amazing maple lime mustard dressing is like a cherry on top!
This recipe was originally published on May 8, 2014, and was republished in June 2020 to add better quality photos, re-test the recipe, and add more helpful tips.
This time of year is amazing with fresh strawberries coming to the markets – or even better, when we can go to the farms and pick them ourselves! I love eating fresh, sweet strawberries right out of the basket, especially if you go picking and the strawberry is still warm from the sun and so juicy. It brings back a lot of memories from my childhood when I would pick strawberries from my grandmother’s garden. I just love strawberries!
I know it sounds like I say every food is my favorite, but really, it is. I’m just that excited about food and flavors. I love embracing the natural flavors of the food I’m eating, letting them shine and really add to the food. One of the great things about eating seasonally is that all the food tastes so delicious. I don’t have to worry about my family getting enough vegetables because they all look forward to them when the food tastes that fresh and good.
So, what better way to eat strawberries than as part of a salad? You get to embrace their sweet flavor and freshness without hiding behind sugar or lots of cream (not there is anything wrong with that). And it makes for a great variation in texture from leafy greens and crisp vegetables.
This summer quinoa salad has so many of the flavors I love; sweet strawberries, creamy avocado, tangy cheese, and hearty quinoa. Perhaps the only way you could make it more of an ideal meal for me would be to put some smoked salmon on top. But we can save that for a different salad. This one is perfect as is.
An easy dressing that works on any salad
I like using a simple dressing that highlights the natural flavors of the fresh fruits and vegetables. This light maple mustard vinaigrette contains no vinegar, just some fresh lime juice for acidity. A maple mustard dressing is a great way to balance sweet and savory ingredients in a salad. It has just that right amount of sweet, sour, salty, and umami to bring everything together in any salad.
Easy dressings like this are perfect to use whenever you are making a salad to accompany a meal. Rather than reaching for a bottle of store-bought dressing, you can make your everyday salad healthier and tastier with this easy maple mustard dressing. I bet you have all the ingredients in your kitchen at any point, so no reason not to take the extra two minutes to whip up this dressing and avoid the sugar and preservatives in mass-produced versions.
A healthy summer salad
We’ve already heard all about the health benefits of avocados. But everything in this salad is really good for you. Quinoa has tons of protein and fiber. I love using this pseudocereal in everything from salads, patties, to even chocolate muffins.
Strawberries are very high in vitamin C. Walnuts have healthy omega-3 fatty-acids which are important for heart health. They are also a great protein source.
For a meal that doesn’t require much cooking, this salad is very well balanced. Fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and healthy fats, what’s not to love? And it tastes amazing. Exactly what I am looking for when I want to serve my family something healthy.
If you are looking for a healthy vegetarian summer meal, this salad is perfect. It can even be served vegan if you leave off the cheese. I’m not sure why you would do that, but we all know I love my cheese. So whip up this salad in less than 30 minutes and celebrate the flavors of summer.
Summer Quinoa Salad with Strawberries & Avocado
For The Salad:
- 2 avocados , halved, seeded, peeled, and diced
- 4 cups strawberries , quartered
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts , toasted
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- a large handful of arugula
For The Dressing:
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper , to taste
- Cook the quinoa according to the package directions and let cool.
- In a small jar with a lid, combine the lime juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and mustard. Cover and shake until mixed well. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Toss the strawberries, avocados, cooked quinoa, walnuts, feta, and arugula together in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss again. Serve.