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Quinoa Salad with Blueberries, Strawberries and Watermelon

Quinoa salad with blueberries, strawberries and mint.
A summer quinoa salad studded with fresh, ripe fruit.

Summer Simplicity

I cook sparingly in the heat of summer. And only if I absolutely have to. It's one of the perks of being a grown up- and post empty nest. We cook if we feel like it. And if we don't? We grab some baby spinach and chard, frisee and herbs and make a salad. We like to keep things simple.

That's no surprise to you, I'm sure.

I don't exactly do elaborate. We don't go for complicated around here. And goddess knows, we don't do formal. If we can toss together a bowl of fresh salad greens and herbs, and add some quickly cooked protein to make a meal of it, we're content. We might add strips of organic free-range chicken grilled with lemon and black pepper. Or a piece of wild salmon broiled with a touch of agave and lime. Perhaps an organic boiled egg. Or two. If we're lucky, some leftover cooked quinoa.

Dinner in a flash.

Quintessential summer.

So today's post (and recipe) is a nod to the natural marriage of summer and simplicity. Get out of the house. Step away from the screen.



Redondo Beach at sunset
Redondo Beach, California-- just before sunset.

May we just take a moment of appreciation to embrace the natural beauty and soul restoring power of a walk on the beach? There is nothing that soothes my heart quite like the thunder of ocean surf. The invigorating rush of water and salt air and foam.

In Southern California, the air hangs in angles of yellow light that glance the pod of surfers rising and falling with each unpicked wave. Evening walks are cool, sometimes chilly and brisk, with a dampish steady on-shore wind that smells like Provincetown. When the western sky begins to turn pink it always startles me how much it resembles a Cape Cod sunset.

I am missing the ocean- on both coasts- out here in woodsy rural Connecticut.

Victorian hydrangea in lovely vintage hues
Hydrangea near our apartment. The word gorgeous comes to mind.

Last night I discovered a garden voluptuously Victorian with vintage-toned hydrangea blossoms the size of dessert plates.

And speaking of dessert plates.

Quinoa Salad with Blueberries, Strawberries and Watermelon
Watermelon wedges with blueberries, strawberry and mint.

My favorite summer meals are picnics. Don't worry if it's too hot to bake dark chocolate brownies. Make a no-cook, sugar-free vegan dessert plate with wedges of fresh watermelon, blueberries and strawberries. Add a mint leaf. Summer fruit is simply glorious as dessert.

Light, refreshing, and fabulous.

Summer quinoa salad with strawberries and mint
A vegan quinoa salad to celebrate summer.

Karina's Quinoa Salad Recipe with Blueberries, Strawberries and Watermelon

Recipe posted July 2011.

Make the quinoa in a rice cooker and you'll keep the kitchen the cool. This time I used Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking ratio of two cups uncooked quinoa with three cups water. It turned out fluffy and perfect, and made enough to create a generous quinoa salad.

First make the quinoa:

2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups fresh water
Pinch of sea salt, to taste

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve. Place the quinoa, water, and sea salt in a large to medium rice cooker, and cover. Cook until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender. Scoop the cooked quinoa into a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Let it cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare the fruit and baby greens.


1.5 cups fresh blueberries, washed, picked over
1.5 cups fresh strawberries, washed, sliced
1.5 cups diced watermelon
6 cups baby salad greens
A handful of fresh chopped herbs: cilantro, dill, parsley and mint

For the dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh squeezed lime juice from 1-2 limes
Cracked pepper, to taste


When the quinoa has cooled, drizzle it with the extra virgin olive oil and toss well to coat, fluffing with a fork to separate the grains. Add the fresh squeezed lime juice and toss again. Season with cracked pepper, to taste. Taste test. Add more olive oil or lime as needed.

Add the blueberries to the quinoa, and toss lightly.

Distribute the baby greens on six plates. Add the quinoa and blueberries. Add the sliced strawberries and diced watermelon, and the fresh chopped herbs.

And voila! A vegan gluten-free salad worthy of July Fourth. 

Cook time: Maybe 30 minutes

Serves six.

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Vegan and easy watermelon slices with summer fruit for dessert
Refreshing. Easy. Gluten-free. Vegan.

This coming Independence Day, celebrate your independence from gluten!

Happy July Fourth!

xox Karina


  1. Your beautiful photos make me thirsty! For fruit and for summer, which has yet to arrive in Vancouver. Perhaps more summery quinoa salads will coax her out?

  2. I absolutely LOVE your hydrangea photo! It's gorgeous!

  3. This looks delicious! But even more, I love that tablecloth - anything I ate on that would make me happy!!

  4. Salad looks good, need to leave the watermelon off it as am highly allergic to it. Otherwise it looks yummy. Thanks


  5. It looks so fresh and inviting! The herbs would add so much zing to the dish as well, great job!

  6. your salad looks gorgeous. i imagine that the addition of fresh herbs(especially the mint) makes this dish even more special. the perfect hot weather meal ;)

  7. Beautiful photos, lovely recipe. I walk many mornings at Newcomb Hollow in Wellfleet and there's nothing like it. Talk about washing your worries away. Have a wonderful holiday.

  8. Thanks, Everyone. And Sue- Steve has painted many a painting in your spot! I love Wellfleet. xox Karina

  9. Your pictures are beautiful and the salad looks absolutely delicious! We've been having quite a few salads lately in our house too.

  10. I made this for dinner tonight as I had friends over and it was a huge hit. Even my kids ate the salad, thanks for posting!

  11. Karina darling, I just love your photographs. I wish I could sit on your shoulder and see your lighting set-up and camera settings. lol. What a food blogger geek I am.

    That watermelon and those strawberries just make me weep for the beauty of them. *sigh* Keep inspiring us!

    I heart your tablecloth. And am happy to see you eating limes again. Or was it just that you couldn't have lemons before? I don't know, but I'm glad to see the beautiful things around you and tasty food on your plate (as always).

    Have a wonderful summer and 4th of July.


  12. Anonymous15:05

    PS Our breakfast was a quinoa olive roasted veggie salad, a fried egg, fresh organic peaches with organic basil from the garden, and sauteed kale. I love summer foods.

    -Sea again

  13. Wow, I'm feeling more serene and blissful simply from looking at these photos! I've been having some fun with quinoa lately too, and I'm really loving it as a breakfast porridge. I have a recpie here if anyone is interested. I haven't incorporated fruit into my quinoa for salads, but now I'm gonna! Thanks!

  14. Kelly12:13

    Yum! It sounds delicious!

  15. This recipe looks unbelievable, gonna try it for sure!
    I recently wrote an article on quinoa and its health benefits, check it out!


    Mike @TheIronyou

  16. As always, your photos are breathtaking. I feel like everything you create has a touch of magic in it! This will definitely be something I want try soon.

  17. Beautiful salad. Can't wait to make it this week. I need a fun new recipe. I was diagnosed with Celiac last fall, and I've been gluten free for 10 months now. The reality that this is forever is setting in. When I'm feeling down about having to eat gluten free, your recipes and photos always cheer me up. Thanks!

  18. This recipe is OUTSTANDING! It tastes like summer in a bowl. All of my guests at our backyard bbq, gluten/dairy-free and otherwise, loved it. Your recipes are divine!

  19. what a salad idea for the 4th of July- healthy, light & festive. thank you for sharing!

  20. that looks so delicious! i love the idea of putting fresh fruit and WATERMELON with quinoa! YUMMM! i bet its delicious! thanks, Karina for a fabulous recipe!

  21. love quinoa! tucking this away for summer in Australia when I can get fresh berries!

  22. I love the sound of this! I'll be making my quinoa salad very soon!

  23. Looks so refreshing and cool! The mint I'm totally down with but the dill will be a new herb to have with something sweet. Very creative!

  24. Yum!! This looks and sounds delicious. I can't wait to try it. We've been eating a lot of watermelon lately as it's cheap and yummy this time of year and my 2 yr old is crazy for it.

  25. Denise Johnson21:09

    This salad was delicious! My husband and kids Loved it! Thank you for sharing.


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Karina - Gluten-Free Goddess xox