Caprese Quinoa Salad: A Nutritious Twist on an Italian Classic

Caprese Quinoa Salad: A Nutritious Twist on an Italian Classic

Caprese salad is a timeless Italian dish known for its fresh flavors and simple ingredients. This recipe takes the classic Caprese and adds a nutritious twist with protein-packed quinoa, creating a salad that’s not only delicious but also incredibly satisfying. It’s perfect as a light lunch, a side dish, or even as a wholesome addition to your next picnic or potluck.


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed or torn
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the quinoa under cold running water to remove its natural bitter coating called saponin. This step ensures your quinoa will be fluffy and not bitter.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring the 2 cups of water or vegetable broth to a boil. Add the rinsed quinoa, stir, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. You can also fluff it with a fork to speed up the cooling process.
  3. While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the other ingredients: halve the cherry tomatoes, cube or tear the mozzarella cheese, and roughly chop the fresh basil leaves.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, halved cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  6. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine everything, ensuring each component is evenly coated with the dressing.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. You can add more balsamic vinegar for a stronger taste, or an extra drizzle of olive oil for a smoother texture.
  8. Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. This salad can be served cold or at room temperature, depending on your preference.
  9. Garnish with additional fresh basil leaves just before serving for an extra touch of freshness and color.

This Caprese Quinoa Salad recipe is not only healthy and full of flavor but also incredibly versatile. Feel free to add extras like toasted pine nuts, avocado slices, or even grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a more substantial meal. Enjoy this modern twist on a beloved classic that is sure to become a new favorite!

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