This healthy and delicious quinoa Caprese salad is made with ripe cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, fresh basil, fluffy quinoa and tossed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette. It's vegan, gluten-free and nut-free!
This recipe is a loose interpretation of classic Italian Caprese salad. There may not be any cheese in this vegan twist. However, it does have plenty of plant-based protein and satisfying flavor from my favorite grain!
In addition to nutty and fluffy quinoa, this healthy salad has fresh, juicy cherry tomatoes, basil, and a delicious balsamic vinaigrette. You can even prep this Caprese ahead of time and let it sit for a day or two, it gets even more flavorful! This is a perfect summertime recipe for vegan meal prepping or to take on a picnic.
How to Make Quiona Caprese Salad
The salad itself is just four simple ingredients, plus a garlicky balsamic dressing you'll want to put on everything.
Here's what you need to make a healthy quinoa salad with cherry tomatoes and basil:
- Cooked white quinoa. See here for exactly how I cook my quinoa every time.
- Chickpeas. Or another protein source (see below for inspo).
- Cherry tomatoes. I love bright red, juicy cherry tomatoes. However, you can use any color you like. You could even use a diced large tomato.
- Basil. A must for anything labeled “caprese.”
What really brings this grain salad to life is the sweet and savory balsamic vinaigrette.
To make the dressing, add the following ingredients to a jar and shake away:
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Crushed garlic
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- Dried oregano
- Red pepper flakes (this is optional but adds a nice subtle heat to the dish)
This is a classic dressing that you can use on nearly any fresh green salad, so go ahead and make a double batch. It will last up to two days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Adding Protein to Caprese Salad
This is already a high-protein quinoa salad, thanks to the grains and chickpeas. However, if you're not a fan of garbanzo beans or want to add even more protein to your dish, here are some easy ways to beef up your Caprese salad:
- Swap chickpeas for white or black beans
- Add chilled cooked tofu
- Stir in creamy tofu ricotta
- Use cooked lentils instead of bean
- And if you're not vegan, you can easily add cooked chicken, shrimp, or another light protein
Is Quinoa Caprese Salad Vegan?
Yes, this salad is dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free.
Make-Ahead Caprese with Quinoa
This is not only a delicious 15-minute meal to throw together on a busy workday. It also stores well for meal prep.
Keep the salad (dressed or undressed) in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days.
More Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipes
- Saffron Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad
- Herbed Spring Quinoa Salad
- Creamy Vegan Broccoli Quinoa Salad
- Blackberry & Apricot Quinoa Salad
- Moroccan Quinoa Salad
“Caprese” Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups cooked white quinoa cooled
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup basil leaves torn into pieces
for the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper + more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of red pepper flakes optional
- In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, tomatoes, chickpeas and basil. Toss to combine.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients, reserving a bit of pepper to garnish, in a small bowl. Pour dressing over quinoa salad and stir together until evenly coated.
- Garnish with some fresh cracked pepper if desired.
- Serve immediately or chill in fridge for 30 - 60 minutes.