Your New Go-To Summer Quinoa Salad, with Pesto!

For the third and final installment of Mikaela Reuben’s summer eating series, we’re opening up your meal pesto-bilities…

This summer quinoa salad is great for many reasons: it’s easy to prepare ahead of time; it travels well (perfect to take on the road or bring along to a dinner party); it’s filling, nutrient-dense, and full of healthy fiber and healthy fats. But, with pesto thrown into the mix, this salad’s flavor profile is upped exponentially and creates a wholly unique and enjoyable experience. For our vegan friends, feel free to omit or sub out the goat feta!

Summer Quinoa Pesto Salad

Serves 4 mains, 6 sides.


1 ½ cups quinoa

4 cups chopped yellow and green summer squash, cut in half-moons

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp press garlic

1 red pepper, finely chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2cup)


1 cup pine nuts

2 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp Dijon

2 cups packed basil leaves

½ cup lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp sea salt

To serve:

A few handfuls arugula

½ cup crumbled goat feta

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Salt and pepper to taste


Begin by cooking quinoa. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add  1 ½ cups of quinoa, cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, roast zucchini on a BBQ or roast in an oven until soft and beginning to caramelize. Set aside. For the rest of the vegetables, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic and sauté for 1 minutes. Next, add onion and continue to cook for 6 more minutes or until soft and tender. Lastly, add chopped red pepper and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.

To make pesto, combine all ingredients together in a mini food-processor and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

To assemble salad, combine quinoa with pesto, red pepper mixture, and grilled zucchinis. Just before serving, toss quinoa mixture together with a few handfuls of arugula and garnish with goat feta and pine nuts. Salt and pepper to taste.

Wearing the Eyes On You Sweater Set.

Mikaela Reuben is a Natural Chef who uses the science of nutrition, combined with the art of healthy cooking, to create delicious and nourishing meals. Working for the likes of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, she inspires people to make better health, lifestyle, and food decisions.

Photos by Maui Maka.


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I absolutely love pesto – can’t wait to try it in a salad! Great recipe!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

4 years ago

Thanks for this great recipe.

4 years ago

Pesto salad is my favorite for keeping me healthy

4 years ago

Looks delicious!!!

4 years ago

Hi, Thanks for sharing the great recipe.

2 years ago

Looks great !! Definitely trying out the recipe. !!

2 years ago

Thanks for sharing such a healthy recipe. Tried it and came out very well