Cold quinoa salad with cantaloupe and goat cheese.

Cold Quinoa Salad with Cantaloupe and Goat Cheese

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Refreshing and satisfying, this Cold Quinoa Salad with Cantaloupe and Goat Cheese is the perfect combination of flavors and textures to tantalize your taste buds and keep you cool on a hot day. Packed with wholesome ingredients, it’s a delightful blend of sweet and savory, making it a crowd-pleaser for picnics, barbecues, or simply enjoying as a quick and healthy meal.

Cold Quinoa Salad with Cantaloupe and Goat Cheese in a Polish Pottery serving bowl.
Perfect summer salad for potlucks, picnics, or as a light main dish.

This recipe is inspired by an Eating Well salad recipe. I love the combination of flavors with cantaloupe, goat cheese, and pistachios.

If you love goat cheese as much as I do, you will also like this Springy Strawberry Salad recipe.

Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Quinoa

Pronounced KEEN-wah, quinoa is both a nourishing carbohydrate and an impressive protein source. A mere 1/2 cup serving of quinoa yields 4 grams of protein. Beyond this, quinoa houses all 9 essential amino acids, is high in antioxidants and fiber, and even showcases anti-inflammatory attributes.

Basically, quinoa is the real-deal superfood. For this recipe, you will need to make the quinoa and chill in the fridge until cold. See tips below on cooking the best quinoa.

Looking for more Quinoa Recipes? You’ll love this Carrot Cake Quinoa. It’s all the healthy ingredients of carrot cake mixed with quinoa and a delicious dressing.

Quinoa Salad with Cantaloupe and goat cheese ingredients.
Throw these ingredients together for a refreshing summer side dish.

Cantaloupe & Cucumber

To go along with the superfood quinoa, we have the super fruit: Cantaloupe. This baby is loaded with vitamins A & C, along with potassium.

How to Choose a Cantaloupe

Choose a ready-to-eat ripe one by selecting one that is a creamy yellow orange, with little green on the skin. Like a watermelon, it should feel heavier than it looks. Cantaloupe should smell sweet and slightly musky. If you can’t find a ripe one at the store, let it sit on your counter a few days until ripe.

Cucumbers, like cantaloupe, are high in water content. Peel the skin and scrape out the cucumber seeds for this summery salad.

Refreshing cold quinoa salad with cantaloupe and goat  cheese topped with pistachios
All the summer vibes rolled into a delicious salad. Try this cold Quinoa Salad with cantaloupe, cucumber, and goat cheese.

Goat Cheese

One of my favorites, goat cheese is made out of goat’s milk, as opposed to cow’s milk. Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s, since it’s lower in lactose. If you struggle with dairy digestion, goat milk products may be a good alternative.

Not a goat cheese fan? Feta or mozzarella cheese would also be tasty in this recipe.

If you like goat cheese, you’ll love this bite-size Goat Cheese Balls appetizer recipe.

Mint

Fresh mint brings a bit more sweetness to this dish, along with a touch of color.

Pistachios

These green gems bring the crunch to this Quinoa Salad with Cantaloupe and Goat Cheese.

Dressing

Homemade dressings are super easy to make. Put all the ingredients into a mason jar with lid and give it a shake. Another option is whisking it up in a bowl.

Quinoa Salad dressing ingredients.
Put these ingredients into a small bowl and whisk for a light and delicious dressing.

Here is what you will need for this dressing recipe:

  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Dijon
  • Honey
  • Ginger, Salt & Pepper

If you like this summery salad, you’ll love Lemon Dill Potato Salad.

How to Make Quinoa Salad with Cantaloupe and Goat Cheese

Once the quinoa is cooked, it’s easy to throw this salad together. Here is what to do:

  1. Make quinoa, chill in fridge (see quinoa tips below).
  2. Prepare dressing.
  3. Mix together all ingredients, except nuts.
  4. Dress and toss.
  5. Chill until ready to eat.
  6. Top with pistachios and enjoy.

Tips for Fluffy Tasty Quinoa

I spent years, eating soggy tasteless quinoa. Don’t let this happen to you. Here are a few tips…

Rinse

Quinoa has a compound called saponin, which has a bitter taste. If you don’t rinse it, the quinoa will taste unpleasantly bitter. And you’ll vow never to eat quinoa again! (How sad.) Rinse the quinoa in a sieve with cool water for several minutes toremove the bitter taste.

Ratio of Quinoa vs. Liquid

Quinoa instructions will typically say 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water. It works best to cut the liquid slightly. In this recipe, use 3/4 cup quinoa, 1-1/2 cup liquid.

Wait to Put a Lid on It

Don’t be tempted to put the lid on right away. Keep the pot uncovered while cooking. This will prevent the quinoa from getting soggy. Quinoa may be done in more or less time depending on the size of pot you are using.

It’s easy to make quinoa. Here’s how:

  1. Bring water to a boil.
  2. Add quinoa, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Once liquid is absorbed, put a lid on it.
  4. Take it off the heat.
  5. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Fluff with a fork.

What to Serve With

This summery salad is perfect with grilled chicken: try Herby Chimichurri Chicken or Chicken Spiedini. Or try it with this Glazed Salmon recipe. It’s also great on its own as a lighter main dish.

Substitutions

Quinoa: rice, couscous, chickpeas

Goat Cheese: mozzarella, feta

Pistachios: sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts

Mint: basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley

Spoonful of quinoa salad with cantaloupe and goat cheese.
Wow your friends and tastebuds with this delightful summer salad.

More Salad & Side Dish Recipes

Carrot Cake Quinoa Salad

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon Mint Dressing

Berry & Avocado Salad

Spinach Salad with Easy Pesto Dressing

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

thyme branch

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Cold quinoa salad with cantaloupe and goat cheese.

Cold Quinoa Salad with Cantaloupe and Goat Cheese

Sara Walkenbach
Refreshingly delicious! This cold quinoa salad is the perfect summer side dish or main meal. Cantaloupe, cucumbers, goat cheese, and mint are the perfect combination of fresh in this cool salad.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time (or make quinoa a day ahead) 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 389 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups Prepared Quinoa *see note
  • 2 cups Cantaloupe small dice
  • 1 Cucumber peeled, halved lengthwise, seeds scooped out, small dice
  • 4 oz Goat Cheese crumbled
  • 1/3 cup Pistachios shelled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Mint fresh, minced
  • Salt to taste 1/2 tsp

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil extra virgin
  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice fresh
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Ginger fresh, or 1/2 tsp ground
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Prepare quinoa and refrigerate to cool off. Quinoa can be made ahead. See tips in article.
  • Make dressing by whisking all ingredients together. See aside.
  • Once quinoa is cooled, assemble salad. In a large bowl mix together quinoa, cantaloupe, cucumbers, mint, goat cheese, and pistachios.
  • Serve immediately. Can be made in advance, but add pistachios just before serving. Enjoy.

Video

Notes

Quinoa can be made a day ahead as it needs to cool down before assembling salad. I used 3/4 cup dry quinoa with 1-1/2 cups water. See tips in article above.

Nutrition

Serving: 8gCalories: 389kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 13gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 148mgPotassium: 546mgFiber: 6gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1617IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 4mg
Keyword cantaloupe and cucumbers, cold quinoa salad, salad with mint, summer side dish
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