Soups & Salads | May 26, 2021

Caprese Pesto Quinoa

THE BEST Caprese Pesto Quinoa salad every. Fresh Caprese salad is one of the most popular, craved and loved salad out there, take that salad over the top and with a little pesto and warm fluffy quinoa. Your tastebuds are going to thank you.

WHAT IS A CAPRESE SALAD?

A traditional caprese salad consists of Fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes and fresh basil. Sometimes adding fresh sea salt or a balsamic glaze.  There are so many twists on this famous dish like caprese dips, caprese pizza’s etc. The combination of these three ingredients is classic and delicious.

WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED FOR CAPRESE PESTO QUINOA?

Since it is such a simple salad with so few ingredients it really all is about having the very best ingredients. Here are some tips and some of my favorites.

  • ripe tomatoes
  • fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil
  • pesto
  • quinoa
  • olive oil

FRESH MOZZARELLA

FRESH mozzarella. ALWAYS fresh. You can find it by the specialty cheese. Sometimes it is by the regular cheese, but typically look at the specialty cheese section by the deli meats. The difference is fresh mozzarella is softer and usually stored in a little bit of liquid. You can find it in plastic containers or vacuum sealed.

There are a few different types of fresh mozzarella and all are acceptable.

  1. fresh mozzarella pearls. They’re smaller than normal mozzarella balls. They are what is picture above.
  2. mozzarella balls. These are larger balls of mozzarella. I like to usually cut them in half when making this salad to make them go father.
  3. Sliced mozzarella log. Dice up the log in to cubs and toss it with the other ingredients.

FRESH BASIL AND PESTO

  • Dont even think about dried basil. You can purchase a whole plant or a a small container by the fresh herbs.
  • Make your own pesto or grab a bottle from the store. Either is great!

RIPE TOMATOES

Of course you need to use the best tomatoes. I recommend tomatoes from the garden, vine ripened or cherry tomatoes! Slice them into bite size pieces.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST QUINOA

While quinoa can be made over the stovetop if you have an instant pot or pressure cooker then 100% switch to that. it’s faster and fluffier I swear. I have a post here for all the tips and tricks, but below is the basics.

  1. rinse your quinoa
  2. in instant pot use a little oil to help quinoa not stick
  3. Add quinoa
  4. Use BROTH! my go-to is vegetable broth. It is much more flavorful.
  5. cook on high for 1 minutes and natural release for 4-10 minutes.
  6. quick release.

TOSS EVERYTHING TOGETHER

After you have the ingredients prepped toss them together.

Add a little olive oil and sea salt + pepper to tie it all together.

LET THE INGREDIENTS MARRY.

After tossing the ingredients together let salad sit for 15-30 minutes to let the flavors of all the ingredients incorporate together.

DOES CAPRESE PESTO QUINOA SALAD NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?

Yes, If you are not going to eat the salad immediately store it in the fridge.

CAN I MAKE THIS PESTO QUINOA AHEAD?

This salad can be made a few hours before even the day before. However I highly recommend if you need to make the salad more than the day before to prep the ingredients and keep them separated in air tight containers. The day of toss together.

HOW LONG CAN I STORE CAPRESE PESTO QUINOA?

This quinoa salad will keep for a few days in an air tight container in the fridge.

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5 from 1 vote
caprese salad and pesto quinoa tossed together in a bowl
Caprese Pesto Quinoa
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

Fresh capreae salad with pesto quinoa

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: caprese salad
Servings: 6
Calories: 223 kcal
Author: Desarae
Ingredients
  • 1 pint of cherry sized tomatoes sliced in half
  • 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella if in log form, slice into bite size pieces
  • 10-15 basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 sea salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Start by cooking your quinoa in broth and setting aside to cool.

  2. Halve cherry tomatoes. Mince basil

  3. Drain mozzarella
  4. In a bowl mix all ingredients together

  5. Allow salad to sit and flavors to marry. Stir occasionally.
  6. Refrigerate if not serving within 1 hour

Recipe Notes

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST QUINOA 

While quinoa can be made over the stovetop if you have an instant pot or pressure cooker then 100% switch to that. it's faster and fluffier I swear. I have a post here for all the tips and tricks, but below is the basics. 

  1. rinse your quinoa
  2. in instant pot use a little oil to help quinoa not stick
  3. Add quinoa
  4. Use BROTH! my go-to is vegetable broth. It is much more flavorful. 
  5. cook on high for 1 minutes and natural release for 4-10 minutes.
  6. quick release. 
Nutrition Facts
Caprese Pesto Quinoa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 31mg10%
Sodium 343mg15%
Potassium 256mg7%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 745IU15%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 216mg22%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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