Zesty quinoa zucchini salad in a serving dish topped with fresh tomatoes.

Zesty Quinoa Zucchini Salad 

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Zesty quinoa zucchini salad is a refreshing medley of vibrant flavors and textures. Packed with nutrient-rich quinoa, tender but crisp sautéed zucchini, and a zesty lime and herb dressing, this salad is a delightful celebration of wholesome ingredients that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more.

Quinoa is not my favorite grain. While it has a beautiful fluffy texture, it has an overwhelming nutty flavor that I don’t like. For this reason, I have only had it a handful of times.

As I started to hear more about quinoa’s health benefits, I made it my mission to keep trying quinoa until I found a recipe that I loved. This quinoa zucchini lime salad is a recipe that I love. But before we get to the zesty quinoa zucchini salad, let’s talk about the health benefits of the main ingredients. 

Health Benefits Of Quinoa

Quinoa is considered a superfood. This is primarily because of quinoa’s antioxidant activity and high phenolic content. Quinoa also contains all the amino acids; therefore, it is a complete protein and the perfect meat substitute.

Furthermore, quinoa has been shown to have α-glucosidase and pancreatic lipase inhibitory properties. In addition to this, quinoa also contains phytoecdysteroids. Phytoecdysteroids have many benefits, including wound healing effects, as well as anabolic, anti-osteoporotic, anti-obesity, and anti-diabetic activities. 

Zesty quinoa zucchini salad in a serving dish topped with fresh tomatoes.

Health Benefits Of Zucchini

Zucchini is a low-calorie food. In fact, a fresh medium zucchini has 33 calories and consists of 96.5% water. Zucchini is also low in fat and sodium and contains high concentrations of potassium and fiber, which support healthy blood circulation and blood pressure.

Fiber also decreases cholesterol levels. In addition to this, zucchini also contains mucilage, a soluble fiber that may be beneficial for persons experiencing digestive problems. Zucchini also gives you a healthy serving of vitamins and minerals. In particular, zucchini contains rich amounts of vitamin C and potassium.

Zucchini is also an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin A, and the minerals manganese, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Zucchini is thought to have enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant activities that protect against the accumulation of reactive oxygen species in the cells.

Tips For Making Zesty Quinoa Zucchini Salad

Rinse or soak your quinoa in water before cooking it. Even though quinoa is classified botanically as a pseudocereal, it is a seed, not a grain.

Predators such as animals, birds, and insects eat seeds, making it difficult for the quinoa plant to reproduce. The quinoa plant produces a minimum of 40 organic Phyto-compounds known as saponins to ward off predators.

Saponins have a soapy, bitter flavor making them unpalatable for predators. The outer coating of quinoa may be hard for some persons to suggest. Therefore, washing the quinoa before cooking it will remove the saponins. 

This quinoa zucchini salad has one acid lime juice: I love lime juice, but the flavor can be too concentrated for some people. You can add a teaspoon of rice wine or red wine vinegar to the dressing. In the same way, purple will cancel out the color yellow; the vinegar will cancel out the lime juice and mellow out the strong tart flavor. 

Cut the zucchini into bite-sized pieces. I was lazy and chopped the zucchini into larger pieces. Cutting the zucchini into smaller pieces will distribute it evenly throughout the quinoa salad and shave a few minutes off the cooking time. 

To intensify the quinoa’s flavor, you can toast it. However, make sure you dry the quinoa before toasting it to avoid getting popped by hot oil. This is a warm salad. However, if you want to serve this quinoa zucchini salad cold, spread it onto a cookie sheet and allow the quinoa to cool for 30 minutes.


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Zesty Quinoa Zucchini Salad 

Recipe by Sarah
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Dinner Recipes, Gluten-Free, RecipesCuisine: Gluten-Free/VeganDifficulty: Easy


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This zesty quinoa zucchini salad is healthy and delicious. This quinoa salad is filling and flavorful whether you serve it warm or cold. Best of all, you can prepare this salad ahead of time and take it to work the next day for lunch.

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  • For the quinoa salad:
  • 1 cup dry quinoa

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small onion diced

  • 2 cloves garlic minced

  • 1 medium zucchini diced

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 1/4 cup water

  • For the lime dressing:
  • juice of 2 limes

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • To garnish:
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes


  • Place the dry quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under cold water.
  • Add the water to a medium saucepan and set it over medium-high heat.
  • Add the quinoa once the water comes to a boil.
  • Cover the quinoa, decrease the heat to medium-low and allow it to cook for 15 minutes.
  • Remove quinoa from the heat, let it sit for 10 minutes, and fluff it with a fork.
  • Place the olive oil into a skillet and set it over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  • Next, stir in the garlic and zucchini and cook for 2 minutes until the zucchini softens.
  • Add paprika, cayenne pepper, dried basil, Italian seasoning, salt, thyme, and thyme, and cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the water, cover the zucchini and let it cook for 3 minutes until the zucchini is tender. Remove sauteed zucchini from the heat.
  • To make the lime dressing, whisk lime juice, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, parsley, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the sautéed zucchini and quinoa toss to combine.
  • Place the zesty quinoa zucchini salad into a serving dish and garnish with diced tomatoes if desired.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  •  NUTRITIONAL INFO DISCLAIMER: The nutritional values presented below are only estimates. I don’t have a medical background, nor am I a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist. Therefore, nutritional information shown on foodandmoodcreations.com should only be used as a general guideline.

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Nutrition Facts

4 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories340
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 20.5g 31%
    • Saturated Fat 2.9g 10%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 596mg 25%
  • Potassium 511mg 15%
  • Total Carbohydrate 35g 12%
    • Dietary Fiber 4.8g 16%
    • Sugars 2.8g
  • Protein 7.5g 15%

  • Calcium 50%
  • Iron 3%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • Sarah

    Hello. Welcome to my food blog! I am a recipe developer/content writer and creator. Food is universal. Its more than something you eat. Food is an experience that can be enjoyed alone or with others. It can affect your physical health and your mood. I love food and I believe it affects how we feel which is why I started this blog that provides you with delicious healthy recipes, useful tips and tricks, guides, and informative articles.

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