Eat: Kitchen Sink Quinoa Salad

Looking for a super healthy, filling, quick, and EASY salad for a weeknight dinner or fast lunch? This is one of my absolute favorite summer meals. It fills you up without feeling heavy, you can make the quinoa ahead of time and just toss everything in a big bowl, and it uses up all the vegetable leftovers I start accumulating mid-week.

healthy kitchen-sink summer quinoa salad recipe via barley & birch

I’ve included the full recipe with a honey dressing, but most of the time I prefer just the balsamic reduction (and it’s a little less sugar).  I’ve listed some of my favorite summer veggies in the salad, but you can add ANYTHING. Another good variation is roasted beets, celery, kalamata olives, and romaine with a sprinkling of feta cheese and oregano.

A note on balsamic reductions – they take about 5 minutes and you don’t have to do a thing, just let it simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. However, if you’re looking for warp speed prep time, you can buy a balsamic glaze at pretty much any grocery store and call it a day.

healthy kitchen-sink summer quinoa salad recipe via barley & birch

Much like our list of DIY popsicle ideas, or these mini peanut butter and Rice Krispie hamburger treats, this salad is a great “starter” dish to try with young cooks new to the kitchen. Grab the kiddos for a little chopping and stirring, and you’ll have a huge colorful salad in no time!

Simple salads like these that use ingredients you can harvest from your own garden are a great way to get kids excited about growing! For helpful tips and activity ideas to introduce them to planting, visit our collection of over 50 gardening activities for kids.

Kitchen Sink Quinoa Salad Ingredients:


  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Kale (Finely Chopped)
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Yellow, Orange, Green Bell Peppers
  • Banana Peppers
  • Purple Onion


  • 8 tbs olive oil
  • 4 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey


  • Balsamic Reduction for drizzling
  • Salt & Pepper

Kitchen Sink Quinoa Salad Instructions:

  1. Cook the Quinoa

    Add quinoa to vegetable broth + water in a medium saucepan – bring to boil, cover, reduce to medium heat & let simmer until all liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and let quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.

  2. Whish together the dressing

    In a small bowl wish together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Pour into the quinoa and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Add vegetables and dress

    Toss with vegetables and drizzle with balsamic glaze/reduction.

healthy kitchen-sink summer quinoa salad recipe via barley & birch

I love serving this with a nice crunchy flatbread, or popping a couple of spoonfulls into a pita for easy lunch made with leftovers. And here’s a fun idea from The Spruce Eats: turn this into a stunning vegetarian stuffing…!

Love this simple summer salad? For more recipes featuring fresh, simple summer produce, try our homemade low-sodium quick pickles (great for teethers!) yummy low-sugar peach applesauce, or my secret family recipe for lavender lemonade.

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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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