Sunday, July 29, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad

I love summertime's bounty of fresh produce! I created this recipe while visiting family in the Midwest, where you can actually find a variety of tomatoes this time of year. In the Pacific Northwest the tomatoes are not in abundance until August. Heirloom tomatoes have not been hybridized over the years and have a sweeter taste, but are also generally less resistant to disease, which is why they are not produced on a large scale. Look for them at your local food co-op or Farmer's Market in the summertime.

This salad pairs fresh tomatoes and basil along with cooked quinoa and finely diced sweet onion. Serve it as a light, nutritious lunch or share it at your next potluck picnic. For those of you not familiar with quinoa, it is a nutrient-dense grain packed with all essential amino acids, is gluten-free, and cooks up quite like couscous. It is best if the quinoa cools completely before you make this salad.

Since my children do not like fresh tomatoes, I cook up 3 cups of quinoa and remove a third of it to make a special salad just for them. In place of the tomatoes I use chopped cucumbers and they love it! Everything else stays the same.

Heirloom Tomato Basil Quinoa Salad

This salad is best served within an hour of making it, though it will last in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you have a smaller family, I suggest making a half batch of this recipe. If you can't find heirloom tomatoes, use any variety of organic, locally grown. If you can't find sweet onions use 3 to 4 green onions, sliced into thin rounds.

2 cups quinoa
3 ½ cups water
pinch sea salt

2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced (about 3 to 4 cups)
1 cup finely diced walla walla onion (or other variety of sweet onion)
1 cup chopped basil leaves
6 tablespoons organic red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To cook the quinoa, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under running water. Drain well. Place quinoa into a 2-quart pot, add water and salt; cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let cool completely before using. *If you want to make the nutrients stored in the grain even more available, try soaking it overnight in a bowl of water, then drain the next day, and cook with about 1/2 cup less water per cup of quinoa.

To assemble the salad, place the cooled quinoa into a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and gently toss together. Serve. Source: 

More Summer Salads:

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. This is beautiful! The perfect colorful dish for summer.

  2. This is a beautiful salad! We're having it for dinner tomorrow night.

  3. This looks gorgeous, and I really love that wooden bowl! Heirloom tomatoes are so much fun

  4. I made this salad last night and for summer, it is so refreshing! The heirloom tomatoes make it attractive but are so flavorful - sweet! My new favorite quinoa salad!!

  5. This is delicious! I will be making it for all the potlucks i go to for the rest of the summer!


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