Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad

10 reviews / 4.8 average

Happy Fourth of July Week!

Because I'm a big believer in making holidays last all week whenever possible. PS. Hot, steamy, summery wonderful July coming at us in T-1 day. How.

This morning I'm writing on-location in a little porch with arched doors and windows, sitting in a chair made of branches (no, like, branches from a tree, curled up into a kind of loopy circular chair formation) = basically I'm in the movie the Hobbit. The cabin that we're staying at with Bjork's family for our lil' vacation this week is just incredibly charming. There's a huge scenic patio (pictured on Insta yesterday!), not to mention arched everything, the biggest stone fireplace I've ever seen, twisty, knobby reclaimed wood for days, one of those zippy, sliding ladders that allows you to crawl up to a secret loft with two tiny beds, a hot tub, secret doors and passageways, and real life nooks and crannies of all sorts around every corner. HOBBIT HOUSE. I'm serious.


This cabin trippy is a little different than our usual one with my family because Bjork's family is a whole five people smaller than our jumbo crew, and there are no youngins to keep the action going which means that ultimate relaxation and slow down time is the name of the game. So right now the agenda for the trip looks something like this:

  1. Coffee and slow, yummy, at-home breakfast (I'm 900% hungry for these pancakes right now)
  2. Patio convos and stories and star-gazing at night
  3. Books and books and books, leading to naps and naps and naps
  4. Drives, because the highway that leads up to this cabin is considered one of America's most scenic byways -> THANK YOU
  5. Small town exploring, like the town we at the base of this bluff that we're on which has an adorable pie shop and a population of - wait for it - 66 people
  6. Lunches and dinners like last night's, where we overlooked the jaw-dropping view of Lake Pepin and wondered why everyone else in the world was not flocking to this destination immediately
  7. Snacking like it's my job, thanks to an excellent supply of fresh yummies packed my in-laws
Quinoa in a blue bowl.

I'm planning to share some pics here on the blog at the end of the week, but if you want to see what's up before then you can find me sharing pics on Instagram. I'll try not to get too over-sharey buuut no promises. When you're staying in a Hobbit house, there is a lot to share.

Recipe today: quinoa salad.

Quinoa shminoa. Another one! and why are all the food bloggers always making quinoa salads? Are you annoyed? I'm annoyed, and mostly at myself. But annoyance quickly faded to insatiable desire for more quinoa when I took one taste of that quinoa soaked with the lemon herb vinaigrette. Holy summer freshness. That is something I need to be eating more of, all the time, every day.

Veggies and herbs in a blue mixing bowl.

The true reason for this garden veggie salad was that we had a get-together with friends on Saturday and I was in charge of bringing the salad. But when you have to bring a salad to an event where you're not sure what's being made as the main, sometimes it's hard to find something “regular” enough to match with the potential meals. For example, I thought: Greek salad. I love Greek salad. But then what if the kalamata olives don't jive with the ____ that my friend is making? So salad with fruit! But what if the meal already involves fruit and then everyone de-friends me for overloading them with sweetness?

Big decisions, here. Big time.

So if I'm being real and true, I'll tell you that I almost wanted to just bring a salad in a bag with ranch dressing. I mean, colorful garden veggies and regular, simple herby dressing just kind of go with everything. But instead of being a salad in a bag person, I became a food blogger making yet another quinoa salad. And IT WAS YUMMY. When you let the quinoa soak up all that simple dressing, great things happen to your mouth.

The beauty about this salad is that you can toss up the quinoa and veggies with the dressing ahead of time, so it gets all extra flavorful and wonderful, but then just bring your greens and toss it all together to preserve the freshness once you get to your friends' house. Or your potluck. Or wherever you're going this Fourth of July week that requires you to bring salad.

No bags! Make your mouth happy! Three two one go.

Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad in a white bowl.
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A picture of Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad

Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad


This Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad is tossed with a lemon herb vinaigrette - so fresh and perfect for summer potlucks or patio dinners.



For the dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 or 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste (I started with 1/4 teaspoon salt)
  • a handful of parsley leaves

For the salad

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 8 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 3 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup chopped herbs of choice (see notes)
  • Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)


  1. Puree the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Store in fridge until ready to use.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. When finished cooking, chill in the fridge or freezer. The texture of the salad is better when the quinoa is cool and crumbles a little more easily (instead of hot and sticky).
  3. Shred the lettuce into long, thin pieces (or to whatever texture you like). Cut the carrots into a few big chunks and mince them in the food processor with 3-5 pulses. Toss the tomatoes, carrots, and chopped herbs together. Toss the cooled quinoa with the dressing; add the carrots, tomatoes, and herb mixture. When ready to serve, toss with the lettuce.


For my herbs, I did 1/4 cup each of basil, parsley, and green onions (plus a little lemon thyme! yum).

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Lunch
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: quinoa veggie salad, quinoa salad, herbed quinoa salad

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    1. I want you agenda. Slow breakfast, patio convos and snacking? YES
    2. I feel ya on being annoyed for making quinoa salads. Yes, I am annoyed at myself for making them too.
    Until I realized…I actually, like, really like them!
    3. So, this is salad is happening to my taste budz ASAP. Pinning!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yes, quinoa salads are everywhere these days, but is there really something wrong with that? Maybe they are everywhere because they are just SO yummy. Yours looks fantastic – love the lemon herb dressing! Enjoy your vacation! I’m super jealous, it sounds like an amazing, relaxing time!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Recipe sounds absolutely amazing, and truly inspiring pictures! Nothing wrong with quinoa salad either in my eyes, it’s such a healthy wholegrain food. More of it I say! 🙂

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Total envy of your little vacation spot, it sounds completely idea. Hope you’re enjoying every second of it!

    This salad looks absolutely divine! I need to be eating more Quinoa Salads, and I have every intention of starting with this one!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ok that Insta pic looks like heaven. I’m sure you don’t want to share the details of this locale but maybe at some point you would be willing to share some really great outdoorsy areas in MN. I live in MI and my boyfriend and I are thinking about heading there for a vaca at some point, it seems like such a beautiful state!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Looking forward to those pics. I have a fascination for all things cabin-y, knobby and rustic. If it’s small, even more so. That ladder climb to a loft bedroom sounds so cute!

    I myself have never had keenwah but I’ve seen it all over the place, you’re right. Maybe some day? I’m a rebel and tend to jump on the bandwagon once everyone has gotten bored 😉 I do like the agave lemon combo vinaigrette and fresh multi herbs though!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love Lake Pepin! You’re not talking about The Stockholm Pie Company, are you?! That place is great! We went to the A to Z Produce and Bakery in Stockholm a few years ago for their pizza night (which you should definitely get to at some point – they make all of their pizzas with ingredients from the farm – it’s amazing!) and picked up some pie for dessert. This salad looks amazing too! I’ve got everything in the house to make it, so I think that’s just what I’ll do. 🙂 Thanks Lindsay!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m not annoyed at all, keep the quinoa comin’! I love how colorful and beautiful it is. It looks perfect for a hot summer day.

    Have fun in the hobbit house and feel free to rub all of the fun you’re having in my face on IG!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    This salad looks totally yummy, I can never photograph quinoa so I’m super loving the look of it! Your vacation sounds spectacular and I may or may not have been stalking it on Instagram lol! Whenever we go visit my husbands grandparents ‘up north’ in WI we have similar experiences so I love hearing all about it 🙂

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Are you renting the hobbit house? I wonder if you could pass on the info if you are. It sounds like a place I must visit. I’m guessing you’re in Stockholm…….

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks! The photos for this were reeeeally rough… it was raining and the sky was basically black and I had about ten minutes to get them done, so I’m glad to hear you still like them. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m a home vegetable gardener, and a salad- and quinoa-lovin’ girl. Bring these recipes on! Quinoa is trendy, but sometimes there’s a righteous reason for all the internet love. I’m a biiig fan of the blandish grains and seeds – rice, farro, millet, barley – that soak up all of a dressing’s flavors and provide a nice toothsome bite to boot.

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    1) Congrats to Bjork for fixing the “already filled in fields” issue.
    2) Now, your autocorrect changes my name to Jammy… If you ever see a comment from Jammy, just know it’s me! 🙂
    3) The dressing looks like it’s flowing UP, like a vinagarette stalactite.
    4) Next time I see you, cook quinoa for me. I can’t ever seem to bring myself to do it. Cous cous is as crazy as I get with grains.
    5) I hope you enjoy every single second of your hobbit-home vacation. It sounds magical!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yum! So beautiful. I wonder how well this would hold up. I love to make big salads with quinoa or millet to keep for weekday lunches so I don’t have to worry about making lunch every day! Will have to test it out.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I mix all the veggies and quinoa together EXCEPT the lettuce – then toss it with the lettuce right before serving.