Extend summer with this colorful, hearty Summer Corn & Quinoa Caprese Salad packed with veggies, protein, and flavor!
Summer is not over yet, my friends! There’s still sunshine and outdoor summer adventures to be enjoyed, and I intend to make the most of every minute before the crisp fall air breezes in!
It’s nearing 100 degrees in the Rose City today and while many of my friends are running the larger-than-life annual Hood to Coast Relay (yay, runner friends! You are all amazing!!), I’m working in town attending various wine, beer, and food festivities (check my Instagram for the latest).
This job can take its toll on a 42-year-old body. My super fast 30-something metabolism that I totally took for granted is no longer, and I find myself at the gym or out in nature working out 3-6 times a week in order to not be the unhealthy 500 pounds that I likely could be otherwise with this job.
Food and wine writing over 40 is not for the faint of heart.
So when I’m not feasting on amazingly decadent food, wine, and beer for work, I like to try to balance my meals at home with healthier fare that is still hearty and filling. This salad does the trick – and, it helps us soak up every last bit of summer in a bowl of fresh, tasty goodness.
Summer Corn & Quinoa Caprese Salad
This is one of many salads that came together based on what I had in my refrigerator and pantry at the time. Those are often the best creations, aren’t they? I love using what we have, throwing it all together, and seeing what sticks.
This is one that sticks, my friends, and it is DELICIOUS!!
All of the ingredients in this salad are items we tend to have in abundance and need to use up, or items I usually have in my pantry as a staple.
I always have spinach to use up because we buy it in large batches (I could grow my own, I know, but I don’t), and I use it up in salads like this, in sauces, in smoothies, and sauté some up for breakfast.
Quinoa is one of the ancient grains I almost always have stocked in my pantry because it’s so great to toss into salads or side dishes for some grain-free protein.
And being summer, we have an abundance of tomatoes right now – last week, two different neighbors dropped off bags full of their fresh tomatoes! Thanks, neighbors! – and I just love, love, LOVE summer corn. It’s so sweet and I adore the texture corn adds to any dish.
You might notice that lately I’ve had a thing for creating twists on the classic Caprese salad (like my Melon & Prosciutto Caprese Salad and my Pesto Caprese Tartines). Being mostly dairy-free, I only have cheese on the rare occasion that it’s served at events, but I can’t resist the incredible combo of mozzarella + tomatoes + basil. What IS it about that combo that is so tempting and addictive? So I just take my enzymes and try to limit my personal intake of mozzarella to a couple of bites, while watching everyone else around me fully enjoy the combos :)
Bon Appetit, friends! Hope you enjoy very last bit of summer – whether out there adventuring, or on a plate with this recipe!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups spinach leaves either chopped or torn
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup cooked corn kernels either 1 cup frozen kernels, cooked; or kernels from about 2-3 cooked corn on the cobs
- 1/2 cup sliced mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- Cook corn - fresh or frozen - and set aside.
- Allow quinoa and corn to cool at room temperature before adding to the salad.
- In a small bowl, combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
- Slowly pour olive oil + balsamic vinegar dressing over salad and mix gently.
- Salt and pepper to taste, as needed.