A healthy summer dish, this zucchini quinoa salad is packed full of veggies, is dressed with a quick lemon-dill dressing and topped with toasted pine nuts!
With farmer's market season in full swing, I'm doing all that I can to snap up as much produce as possible. One of my favorites right now is summer squash/zucchini. I'm hooked on making zucchini noodles, especially my pesto zucchini noodles and zucchini noodle pad thai, but I've also just been adding them raw to my salads. It's a nice alternative to cucumber.
Now I say “/” because summer squash and zucchini are kind of the same vegetable as far as taste goes, but I love the contrast between the yellow and green, which is why I tend to buy both of them. Today I've tossed these two veggies into this quick summer squash and zucchini quinoa salad, which is an absolute breeze to whip up and perfect for summer.
This recipe requires just 10 ingredients and comes together in less than 15 minutes!
You start by chopping up your squash and zucchini (I did mine in half circles) and giving them a quick sauté in some olive oil, salt and pepper.
Once the veggies have softened slightly, you add your quinoa and cook it for just a few seconds more until everything is warm.
Then it's time for the dressing.
I knew going in I wanted the dressing to be lemony, but I also wanted it to have a bold flavor, so instead of just squeezing in lemon juice and mixing in my other ingredients, I actually added some lemon zest too. By adding the zest, we're really able to amp up the flavor and add in that bright, happy feel that lemon seems to bring to meals.
Along with the lemon, it's just some chopped dill, red pepper flakes for a little heat and a touch more salt.
To round the whole salad out, we're adding in some toasted pine nuts which give it a nice nutty flavor and some much-needed crunch.
In addition to the boost in texture and flavor you get, the pine nuts also add a ton of nutritional value to the salad. Not only are they high in vitamins A, C, and D, but pine nuts are also filled with healthy fats and protein which will help to fill you up faster and make the entire more satisfying.
Here are some fun ideas for serving this salad:
- Served warm alongside some grilled tofu or chicken
- Chill in the fridge, toss in some chickpeas and take it with you for a picnic
- Serve a large scoop on top of your favorite greens with a drizzle of olive oil
- Stir in your favorite protein to make it a full meal
Then it's just time to dig in and enjoy!
More Healthy Summer Side Recipes:
- Healthy Carrot Slaw with Sesame Dressing
- Quick & Easy Garlic Sesame Zucchini Noodles
- Easy Gluten-Free Veggie Fritters
- Creamy Superfood Kale & Lentil Quinoa Salad
- Cucumber Noodle Greek Salad
Summer Squash + Zucchini Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts
- 1 medium summer squash chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 medium zucchini chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Salt + pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the squash and in zucchini in the olive oil until almost tender, about 3 - 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add quinoa to the skillet and cook for another minute or so until everything is warm.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, dill and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
- Either transfer this mixture to a bowl or leave in the skillet and add the dressing and pine nuts. Toss to combine, taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve warm or cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
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22 comments on “Summer Squash + Zucchini Quinoa Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts”
Oooh I love that you added fresh dill! My mom has a ton of dill in her garden and the smell always makes me happy. I’m definitely taking advantage of summer produce, too – zucchini and watermelon every week, haha!
YES! Fresh dill is the best. And I’m also hopping on the watermelon train! Just made some watermelon lime spritzers that are going up on Sunday and have TONS of leftover juice. SOOO happy!
I just made your Zuchini Quinoa dish and added some chickpeas. Delicious…..really enjoyed the flavors and the toasted pine nuts
I’ve been thinking about doing that next time around. Glad you enjoyed it; thanks for sharing! xo
GORGEOUS SALAD! I love quinoa in a fresh summer salad. Zucchinis happen to be my favorite vegetable too!
Great recipe and super easy to make !! It’s delicious warm, not sure it will last long enough for it to get cold!
So glad you enjoyed it! xo
Wow – it’s even better cold!
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This recipe over cooked the quinoa, making it pretty mushy. Even if you don’t mind that, I did not like the inclusion of the red pepper flakes, although I am usually a fan. It did not contrast well with the other flavors. Also, be careful that you do not put into much lemon, as it can be quite overpowering.
Sorry you didn’t enjoy it! Hopefully next time you can make some tweaks that make it more appealing to your tastebuds 🙂
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Does the quinoa have to be cooked first
Yep, the recipe is for cooked quinoa 🙂
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This looks amazing!! I love squash and quinoa, what a perfect salad!
Thanks! It’s a great combo 😉
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Great recipe. I didn’t have pine nuts at home so I used pumpkin seeds.