Fresh, tasty, and full of bright flavors, this Zesty Italian Quinoa Salad is a heartier take on a classic Italian Chopped Salad. Switch out the lettuce base for a hearty grain and the loaded vegetable salad becomes a super satisfying meal!
This blog post and recipe is sponsored by Success Rice. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you so much for supporting brands that make A Paige Of Positivity possible.
Table of Contents
About this Pasta Salad
Yes, quinoa technically is not pasta, but the combination of the mighty ancient grain with the fresh veggies and zesty Italian inspired dressing, gives the same feel as a delicious pasta salad.
With summer in full swing, I love having another variation of non-lettuce based salad in my back pocket. It makes the perfect side dish for a summer barbecue, a delicious lunch to prep at the beginning of the week, or a main dish all on its own - warm or cold!
What makes this Healthy Italian Quinoa Salad so delicious is is all of the fresh flavors from the vegetables mixed with plenty of salty salami and savory cheese. We’re using both feta cheese and parmesan for a perfect balance of tangy-ness and saltiness. You can use my homemade dressing recipe or use your favorite Italian store-bought one - either way it’ll be delicious!
And if you’re looking for more pasta salads to try, also check out this Chickpea Pasta Salad (amazing for picky eaters!), this Strawberry Avocado Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Edamame Salad or this Broccoli Pesto Pasta Salad, all of which I know you’re going to love, too!
- Quinoa - A complete protein also high in dietary fiber that bulks up our Italian salad. I used Success Boil-in-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa which is one of my favorite ways to make quinoa because it comes out perfect every time!
- Veggies - This salad includes bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onion, avocado, and parsley.
- Cheese - Both feta and parmesan!
- Salami - A classic Italian deli meat.
- Dressing - You can make your own using a pre-mixed packet of Italian seasoning or use store-bought dressing. makes crafting up this dressing super simple.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
- Protein: Instead of Salami, try Italian sausage or sliced prosciutto. Or if you want to make it vegetarian, substitute in white beans as a source or plant protein
- Cheese: Use fresh mozzarella cheese and add fresh basil to give the salad more of a caprese vibe.
- Grain: You could also use orzo, regular pasta noodles, or couscous.
- Veggies: Other veggies to consider adding: fresh baby spinach or another leafy green, black olives, broccoli florets, or sun-dried tomatoes.
How to Make This Recipe
1. Start by preparing the Success Boil-in-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa according to box instructions. Let cool to room temperature before adding to the salad.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, dice cherry tomatoes, red peppers, red onion, and cucumber. Slice the avocado and salami and finely dice Italian parsley.
3. In a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients together: cooked quinoa, diced vegetables, cheese, parsley, avocado and salami. Toss together.
4. If making the homemade dressing, add all of the dressing ingredients to a small jar and shake to mix. Pour dressing over the salad and toss again. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve chilled!
- If you’re making this salad in advance or for meal prep, add the dressing before enjoying. Any grain will soak up the dressing when stored. I also suggest a squeeze of lemon juice over top to keep all of the produce fresh!
- Chop all of the salad ingredients finely so you’re able to get the most flavor in each bite. (I love using a vegetable chopper!)
- Feeding a crowd? This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and is great for potlucks and barbecues.
Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days separate from the dressing. Dress just before enjoying. This Quinoa Salad is fabulous for meal prep!
Serve this Italian Quinoa Salad with added protein like grilled chicken breasts on top for a heartier meal. Or make it a little lighter and add a scoop over some fresh arugula. This healthy salad also makes a great side to your favorite sandwich, burgers, grilled fish or chicken!
Technically, no. Although it is fairly starchy, quinoa is not pasta. It’s actually a seed of the goosefoot plant and contains no grain! As a result, it’s gluten free!
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Italian Quinoa Salad
- Cutting Board
- vegetable chopper optional
- Sauce pot
- Mixing Bowl
- Rubber Spatula
- small jar
- 2 bags Success Boil-in-Bag Tri-Color Quinoa, ~2 cups cooked
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup English cucumber, diced
- ⅓ cup red onion, diced
- ⅔ cup crumbled feta
- ⅔ cup shaved parmesan
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 avocado
- ⅔ cup diced salami
- ½ cup favorite Italian dressing, OR see dressing ingredients below
For the Dressing
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ packet Italian dressing seasoning mixture
- 1 tsp honey, optional
- Start by preparing the Success Boil-in-Bag Quinoa according to box instructions. Let cool to room temperature before adding to the salad.
- While the quinoa is cooking, dice cherry tomatoes, red peppers, red onion, and cucumber. Slice the avocado and salami and finely dice Italian parsley.
- In a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients together: cooked quinoa, diced vegetables, cheese, parsley, avocado and salami. Toss together.
- If making the homemade dressing, add all of the dressing ingredients to a small jar and shake to mix.
- Pour dressing over the salad and toss again.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve chilled!
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