Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa

Charred summer zucchini and yellow squash pair with quinoa, basil, and mint, for a delicious, gluten-free salad.  This is oil-free vegan recipe is packed with healthy protein and the flavors of summer.

MEDIUM         Servings: 4       Ready In: 25 minutes

Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa - Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Grill Salad

Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa - Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Grill Salad


1 cup quinoa
2 small zucchini
2 small summer squash
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chiffonade
2 tbsp. fresh mint, chiffonade
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

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Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa - Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Grill Salad


Gather ingredients.  Heat a large grill pan or outdoor grill to high heat.

To cook the quinoa: Place quinoa in a medium pot. Cover and heat over medium heat to toast. 
Quinoa will turn golden and start to "pop" after about 5-7 minutes of toasting. 
When the quinoa has toasted, add 2 cups of water, cover, and bring to a boil. 
Reduce to a simmer and cook until quinoa is done, about 10-12 minutes. 
When the quinoa is done, remove from heat and fluff to steam off any excess liquid. 
Let cool for about 5-10 minutes. 
While the quinoa cooks, you can char your vegetables and make your dressing.

To char the vegetables:  Remove the stems of the zucchini and squash. Slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick planks. 
Place squash in a single layer on the preheated grill, no oil needed. Char 3-4 minutes. 
When the squash has charred on one side, flip and cook another 2-3 minutes, until charred on the second side. 
When the squash is done charring, remove and keep in a warm place near the grill. 
Repeat the grilling with the remaining squash and zucchini. 

To make the dressing: Zest the lemon and place in a large bowl.  
Juice the lemon into the bowl with the lemon zest. 
Chiffonade the basil and mint. Place in the bowl with the lemon. 
Add the salt and pepper. 

To make the salad: When the squash are done charring, cut into bite-sized pieces, about 1/2-inch thick. 
In the large bowl with the lemon zest and juice, add the cooked quinoa, charred zucchini and squash, fresh basil, and fresh mint. 
Stir well to combine. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chef's Tips: Let the market guide you on the different vegetables and fresh herbs to try in this salad.  Grilled onions, bell peppers, and steamed pea pods would all be great vegetables to try.  Fresh herbs like chives, parsley, purple basil, and marjoram would all make interesting variations from the basil and mint.

Yield: 8 cups

Step-by-Step Photos:

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving (1/4 recipe, about 2 cups)

Calories 197.28
Calories From Fat (14%) 28.08
% Daily Value
Total Fat 3.21g 5%
Saturated Fat 0.45g 2%
Omega-3 Fatty Acids g
Omega-6 Fatty Acids g
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 159.87mg 7%
Potassium 822.75mg 24%
Total Carbohydrates 37.09g 12%
Fiber 6.74g 27%
Sugar 4.61g
Protein 8.94g 18%
Calcium 51.67mg 5%
Iron 64.9mg 361%
Vitamin A 707.74IU 14%
Vitamin C 20.82mg 35%

Zucchini come in both yellow and green. The yellow ones might look like squash, but learn why they are different. Plant-based Chef Katie Simmons shares her healthy cooking ideas, plus a link to a vegan, oil-free Charred Zucchini Quinoa Salad. More at: