Caprese Quinoa

Caprese Quinoa


I saw this recipe on How Sweet Eats (if you’re not reading Jessica’s blog, you really should be!), and knew I had to make it immediately. Granted, I think that about most of the things she posts, but for some reason I just couldn’t get this out of my head. So I made it. And I am convinced, yet again, that you can never go wrong with the pairing of fresh mozzarella and basil. I love it!


I made this for lunch for Mike and I on the Saturday before the 4th of July. I liked it so much that I made it again the following day for our church picnic. I pointed it out to my friends as we walked through the buffet line and said “try this, I made it.” (Does anyone else do that?).  Good thing I did because with everything else disappearing around it, this caprese quinoa was still sitting on the table virtually untouched. Someone told me later, “I would have tried it, but I had no idea what it was.” Please make this beautiful salad, force your friends to eat it, and educate the people around you on the wonders of quinoa. They won’t be sorry.

Caprese Quinoa

Caprese Quinoa

Yield: Makes about 3 cups


1 cup uncooked quinoa
16 oz container of grape tomatoes, quartered
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
10 large basil leaves, cut into ribbons
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Basil Oil (recipe below)

Homemade Basil Oil
1 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped


Prepare quinoa according to directions on box (which is most likely: 2 cups water + 1 cup quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes). Let cool, then add tomatoes, cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of basil oil over top and mix gently. Serve immediately or refrigerate to allow flavors time to blend.

For the Basil Oil: Blend oil and basil leaves in a food processor until mixed, 30-60 seconds. Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, just until bubbles appear around the edges. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and press on the basil leaves to release all the oil. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

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  1. I love her blog, it tempts me daily! Love this recipe, simply good.

  2. This looks delicious! I love/hate when a recipe sticks in my head and I can't make it until I go to the grocery store…I usually try to give myself a few days, but I always break down and make a trip to the store anyways.

    I love quinoa and the idea of mixing in tomatoes and mozzarella…how can you not swoon?

  3. I only recently discovered quinoa and loved it. This looks like a great way to have it. I'm off down the shops!

  4. what a perfect, healthy summer salad!

  5. Quinoa is awesome! I love how you've paired it with the caprese ingredients. Thank you for sharing this and the homemade basil oil too. Delicious!

  6. This looks perfect for lunch or dinner!

  7. I sure think it looks good!

  8. This is my idea of good cooking. Excellent ingredients excellently prepared.

  9. We love quinoa, I just always find myself in a rut and not knowing how to prepare it differently. Thank you for sharing this “find” with us!

    And you're right about people being strange about quinoa. Even my very best friend won't try it. 🙁 Guess if I take it to our next potluck and nobody eats it, that's just more leftovers for us!!

  10. So funny, I already had this on our menu plan for the week. Can't wait!!

  11. This looks beyond delish and refreshing!

  12. Hmmm – looks so delicious Megan. And perfect for summer.

  13. Genius! This is something both me and my husband would die for.

  14. woah, that looks AMAZING. I will FOR SURE be trying this!

  15. I gotta try this! I'm going to a party next weekend and I'll force the crowd to eat it! 😉

  16. Pingback: Caprese Quinoa Salad and a Visit From The Fairy Hobmother!

  17. Yum! I make something like this but it does not have cheese and it also has red onlions, cucumber, parsley and a few other things. I love quinoa.

  18. I made this this weekend. It was awesome! My opinion? It was better right away than the next day. This goes against the conventional wisdom of “letting the flavors marry” but it is what it is. Now! What else to do with quinoa?

    • So glad you liked it! I have another quinoa recipe on here that you might like, plus I’ve also used it as a substitute for rice with stir-fry or something similar. 🙂

  19. Pingback: Caprese Quinoa « Angela Valenti

  20. Looks great! All it needs is some crumbled ground beef or salad shrimp.

  21. Any suggestions for a healthier (lower calorie, I mean) substitute for the Basil Oil?

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