Zucchini Quinoa Balsamic Salad Recipe

There is a huge misconception that a plant-based diet consists of only boring salads. Plant-based meals give your taste buds the party they have been missing out on! Plant-based meals provide flavorful and nutritious spins on meals. When you first hear the word “salad”, your mind may automatically go to the boring default: lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots, and no dressing (aka rabbit food).

This salad recipe contains no lettuce and no carrots; it even comes with dressing. Our zucchini quinoa balsamic salad is far from rabbit food!

Rather than using lettuce, the zucchini quinoa balsamic salad is based on quinoa and chickpeas. Quinoa is a highly nutritious superfood, packed with magnesium, iron, calcium, fiber, and many antioxidants. Chickpeas, which are also referred to as garbanzo beans, are high in protein, improve digestion, and aid in weight loss and blood sugar management. The other ingredients to the salad are zucchini, raw almonds, red onion, and basil.

vegan zucchini quinoa balsamic salad

If you don’t like to drink water, you should definitely consider incorporating zucchini into your diet. Zucchini is rich in water and promotes healthy digestion. Zucchini also advances the improved vision and bone health. Out of all the nuts, almonds are the best nut to eat because of the high nutritional value they possess. Almonds hold anti-inflammatory properties, protect the body from oxidative stress, and can lower bad LDL cholesterol. They also provide a great crunchy texture to the salad, similar to what croutons would do.

The best part of the salad just may be the dressing. The balsamic vinegar mixed with the honey is going to give a sweet, balanced flavor to the salad to blend all of the vegetables and almonds together.

Salads are more than rabbit food. With the right recipe and creativity, salads can be enjoyable to eat. Try this zucchini quinoa balsamic salad and let us know how you like it! This salad is best served warm from the saucepan and can be enjoyed year-round.

Zucchini Quinoa Balsamic Salad

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Servings 2
Calories 444 kcal


  • Saucepan


  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 small can chickpeas
  • 3 tsp. fresh basil, chopped


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. honey


  • Rinse the quinoa under cold running water for 2 minutes then place it into a small saucepan. Add in the water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and put on a lid on the pan. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  • While the quinoa is cooking, chop the zucchini and place into a pan with a little oil. Sauté for 4 minutes until brown on the edges. Do not overcook the zucchini or it will become soggy.
  • Chop the almonds, basil, tomato, and red onion into small pieces and place into a large bowl.
  • Open the canned chickpeas, drain into a colander and rinse before placing into the bowl with the vegetables.
  • Once the zucchini has cooled down add it to the bowl too.
  • When the quinoa has cooked, allow it to cool for 5 minutes, giving it the occasional stir. Now add the zucchini to the salad bowl with vegetables and chickpeas.
  • To make the dressing, mix the oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, and crushed garlic clove into a small bowl and mix to combine. Pour over salad.
  • Serve the salad at room temperature or place in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool completely.


If you would like to make this dish vegan, you can substitute honey with maple syrup!
Keyword dairy-free, gluten-free, salad

If you want a salad with meat: try our Santa Fe Chicken Salad Recipe.

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