This Blackberry Feta Crispy Quinoa Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is a super springy, texture-filled salad! It’s topped with a delicious, fresh basil vinaigrette, and it makes a lovely light lunch or dinner side! The crispy quinoa adds crunch and texture, the blackberries add a little sweetness, and the feta adds that salty creaminess. Absolutely delish!
This salad is a salad I could eat nonstop, every day, forever. It’s SO good omg. And super springy too! The combination of flavors is just perfect and so fresh.
And an even bigger compliment about this salad, is coming from my brother (who actually hates fruit in salad), said that this was one of the best salads he had ever eaten in his life. I was actually shocked when he said that because he never ever will get anywhere close to a salad with fruit!
If you’re another fruit-in-salad-hater, just trust me on this one! It’s insane.
The basil vinaigrette is soooo good and something that is always on repeat in my kitchen during the summertime.
It’s just fresh basil, shallot, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s super simple but incredibly flavorful and fresh! I like to put it on green salads (obviously), but it’s also amazing on caprese salad. Give me all of the mozzarella, tomatoes, balsamic, AND basil vinaigrette in the summer. So good!
And quite possibly my FAVORITE part of this salad – crispy quinoa! You guys have been freaking out over these crispy quinoa chickpea bowls ever since I posted them in January, with good reason! Crispy quinoa is such a game changer.
If you’ve never had it, you basically just fry up cooked quinoa in a skillet with a little olive oil, and press it down so that it really crisps up. The key is – don’t touch it! I know you’ll want to give it a stir, but this is when the magic happens. You have to let it be for a few minutes, and then just keep repeating the process until all of it is crispy and golden!
This salad definitely meets all the marks for me. We’ve got greens, sweet blackberries, CRUNCH in the form of crispy quinoa, something creamy and salty in the form of feta cheese, and a super bright and flavorful basil vinaigrette. YES PLEASE.
The other wonderful thing about this salad, is that it lends itself really well to adding whatever protein you want! Chicken or salmon would be delicious here.
The salad is pretty delicate, so I’d recommend serving it right away.
If you wanted to meal prep it, just keep all of the ingredients separate, and toss everything together when you’re ready to eat!
Also! If blackberries aren’t looking good at the store or farmers market, strawberries would be equally delicious here! Strawberries and basil is actually one of my favorite flavor combos – ever. Exhibit A. Those toasts are one of the best and most simple things to come out of my kitchen.
Blackberry Feta Crispy Quinoa Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
This Blackberry Feta Crispy Quinoa Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is a super springy, texture-filled salad! It's topped with a delicious, fresh basil vinaigrette, and it makes a lovely light lunch or dinner side! The crispy quinoa adds crunch and texture, the blackberries add a little sweetness, and the feta adds that salty creaminess. Absolutely delish! #salad #vegetarian #summer #spring #blackberry #basil
For the salad
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa*
- 5-6 cups salad greens (I used a mixture of arugula and spring mix)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1 cup blackberries
- torn fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
For the vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the salad
For the quinoa, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the quinoa in a single layer and press down to flatten it into the pan. Cook for 2 minutes (don't touch!), then toss it around, and press it down into the pan again. Cook for another 2 minutes, then toss it around, and repeat 1-2 more times until quinoa is crispy and golden. Set aside to cool.
Add the salad greens to a large mixing bowl and top with the cooled quinoa, feta, blackberries, and a handful of torn fresh basil leaves. Season with a few pinches of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss. Serve immediately with extra vinaigrette!
For the basil vinaigrette
To a food processor or blender, add the basil, shallot, lemon, white wine vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days!
*1/2 cup uncooked quinoa yields about 1 1/2 cups cooked! Leftover quinoa works best, because there's less steam and moisture in it, which means crispier quinoa! If you make it fresh, just be sure to stir and get as much steam out of it before you crisp it up in the pan!