A delicious sprouted quinoa summer salad filled with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, cucumber and fresh herbs. Top with small chunks of vegan cashew cheese and a red wine vinegar dressing.
This quinoa salad recipe is inspired by a love for summer salads filled with Mediterranean vegetables, tomatoes and olives. Bursting with flavour and irresistible.
This one's great for lunch or as a light dinner on long warm summer evenings served with leafy greens and chunks of ripe avocado. The simple vegan cheese adds a hit of salt and creaminess to the dish.
Any leftovers can be eaten the next day.
For this vegan quinoa salad recipe, you'll need the following ingredients:
For the salad
- freshly sprouted quinoa - want to see how to sprout quinoa?; it's easy to do
- cherry tomatoes - plump, juicy and ripe - they're so kissable!
- Kalamata olives - for earthy savouriness and tang.
- cucumber - juicy and refreshing
- fresh herbs - oregano, thyme, basil
- red onion - a hit of acid
For the dressing
- garlic, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil - a quick and easy no-fuss dressing
- salt and pepper - help to bring all the flavours together
For the cashew cheese
- cashew nuts - pre-soaked
- lemon juice
- nutritional yeast
You will need to soak the nuts in water to soften them before blending. I let them soak overnight because it's easy to do.
Yes, doing these little bits of preparation feels different at first, but you soon get used to it. Plus it means that you don't always have to cook.
Rinse and drain the soaked nuts in the morning, and store them in the fridge until they're needed.
See the recipe card below for quantities.
First, make the dairy-free nut cheese by blending the ingredients together in a food processor with an s-blade. It takes about 5-6 minutes. Pause when needed to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Next, press it into an ice cube tray and into the freezer for half an hour to firm up while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Second, whizz up the dressing in a jar and place it to one side.
Third, slice the salad vegetables and herbs. Add them to a mixing bowl with the olives, quinoa, a little of the dressing and mix together gently with a spoon.
Lastly, remove the ice cube tray from the freezer. Pop the cheese cubes onto a plate and slice a few into smaller pieces. Divide the salad across two plates. Sprinkle some cheese and microgreens over each of them to serve.
Place the cashew cheese ingredients into a food processor.
Blend until smooth.
Scrape into an ice cube tray and freeze for 30 minutes.
Shake up a quick salad dressing.
Slice the salad ingredients, add them to a mixing bowl with the quinoa, olives, and some dressing, and mix with a spoon.
Divide the quinoa salad onto 2 plates, top with a few sliced pieces of the cashew cheese. Garnish with microgreens to serve.
- Quinoa Sprouts - instead of fresh raw quinoa sprouts, make cauliflower rice. If you prefer, use regular quinoa and cook it as per the packet instructions.
- Cashew Cheese - use your preferred vegan cheese instead or try my raw macadamia nut cheese recipe.
- Kalamata Olives - replace with any olives of your choice.
- Red Wine Vinegar - raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice works well.
- Fresh herbs and Microgreens - here I use oregano, basil and thyme. Use your favourite herbs. Cress works well instead of microgreens.
Store the ingredients separately from the quinoa in the fridge and combine when ready. Keeps well for 2-3 days.
This recipe makes enough cashew cheese for 4 light servings, so store whatever's left in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This recipe is not suitable for freezing.
A small square silicone ice cube tray is the best kind to use with this method. I find the more rigid plastic trays are too fiddly, and the filling doesn't always pop out in an even shape.
Summer Sprouted Quinoa Salad
- Chopping board.
- Paring knife.
- citrus juicer
- Food processor with an s-blade.
- Ice cube tray
- Garlic crusher
- Glass jar with a lid
- mixing bowl.
- Wooden spoon.
For the vegan cashew cheese
- 70 g cashew nuts
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the dressing
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
- 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove crushed
- a good pinch of salt and pepper
For the salad
- 130 g cherry tomatoes a large handful
- 50 g kalamata olives
- 60-70 g cucumber
- 1 very small red onion
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 small handful fresh basil leaves torn
- 2-3 tablespoon microgreens or alternatively a few small basil leaves
To make the cashew cheese
- Place the nut cheese ingredients into a food processor with an s-blade and blend until smooth. Using a spatula, occasionally pause to scrape the mixture from the sides back into the middle and mix until it's completely smooth in texture (approximately 5 minutes).
- Scrape the mixture into a silicone ice cube tray. Place into a freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up into little 'feta' shape cubes. Once done, remove it from the freezer and turn out onto a plate. Slice them into smaller pieces for your salad, if desired.
To make the dressing
- While the nut based 'cheese' is in the freezer, prepare the rest of the salad. Peel the garlic and crush it into tiny pieces using the garlic crusher, then add them to a jar.
- Pour the extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar into the jar and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Screw the lid on, then shake it, so the salad dressing emulsifies. Put it to one side.
To make the salad
- Peel the red onion and slice off the ends. With a paring knife, slice it very finely into half moon shapes. Halve the cherry tomatoes and finely dice the cucumber.
- Take each herb and remove the leaves from their stems. Finely slice the oregano and roughly chop the basil.
- Add the sprouted quinoa to a medium-sized mixing bowl with the salad vegetables, olives and herbs.
- Drizzle over 3 tablespoons of the dressing and mix together gently. Do a quick taste test and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
- Divide the salad onto 2 serving plates. Top each dish with a few pieces of cashew cheese, and sprinkle over some microgreens or more herbs. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side and use as needed.
The UK Food Standards Agency recommends people in vulnerable groups always cook any sprouts until steaming hot all the way through before eating them. This is because sprouts sometimes contain bacteria, which some people may be susceptible to. Vulnerable groups include the elderly, young children, those with a weakened immune system, and pregnant women.
Check the FSA website for more details.