This caprese quinoa salad is loaded with juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and plenty of fresh basil for a delicious salad! Enjoy it as a quick and easy lunch or serve it as a side dish with your favorite pasta!

Caprese Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad is a great one because it’s easy to make, and the flavors get even better after a couple of hours in the fridge. It’s a perfect make-ahead recipe. It’s hearty enough to be enjoyed for a quick and easy lunch, but it also makes a great side dish to your favorite pasta recipe! Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, so I love finding new ways to use it. It contains all the essential amino acids and it’s a good source of protein and fiber.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Quinoa– Quinoa is technically a seed but it cooks like a grain. You could substitute orzo pasta for the quinoa in this recipe.
  • Tomatoes– I used cherry tomatoes but you can use any kind of tomato you like. For slicing tomatoes, chop into 1″ chunks.
  • Mozzarella– I used mozzarella pearls but you could also use fresh mozzarella chopped into pieces.
  • Olive oil– A little high quality olive oil adds richness and flavor.
  • Basil– Fresh basil is an essential component to get the caprese salad flavor. Do not substitute with dried basil.
  • Balsamic glaze– Balsamic glaze is a thick, sweet, and tangy sauce made from balsamic vinegar. It’s made by simmering balsamic vinegar until it reduces and thickens to a syrupy consistency.

How to Make Balsamic Glaze from Balsamic Vinegar

  1. Add the vinegar to the saucepan and cook over medium heat. Bring the balsamic vinegar to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Continue to simmer the vinegar for about 15-20 minutes or until it has reduced by about half and reached a syrupy consistency. You can test the consistency by dipping a spoon into the glaze; it should coat the back of the spoon.
  3. Once the glaze has reached your desired consistency and sweetness, remove it from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

How to Make Caprese Quinoa Salad

Tips & Tricks

  • I love making quinoa in a rice cooker or Instant Pot. You get perfectly fluffy quinoa every time and it’s more hands off.
  • I get the balsamic glaze from Trader Joe’s and it’s great! I’ve also gotten balsamic glaze at Kroger, Publix, and Wegmans.
  • I used mozzarella pearls since they’re perfectly sized for this salad, but you can use a ball of fresh mozzarella, just chop it into small pieces. Do not substitute for shredded mozzarella which doesn’t have the right texture.
  • You can add greens to this salad if you like. Try serving it over spinach or mixed greens.

Other Quinoa Salad Recipes

If you enjoy this salad, be sure to check out my quinoa and edamame salad, which is loaded with vegetables and plant-based protein. This southwestern quinoa salad is also a great way to add a rainbow of vegetables to your plate. And this butternut squash and quinoa salad is perfect for fall!

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Caprese Quinoa Salad

Caprese Quinoa Salad

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 45 cups 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This caprese quinoa salad is loaded with juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and plenty of fresh basil for a delicious salad! Enjoy it as a quick and easy lunch or serve it as a side dish with your favorite pasta!


Units Scale
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup mozzarella pearls
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions on the stovetop, or cook your quinoa in a rice cooker or Instant Pot.
  2. Let the quinoa cool, fluff it with a fork, and then transfer it to a large bowl.
  3. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, and olive oil and toss to combine.
  4. Top with fresh basil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.


If you don’t have balsamic glaze, use 1-2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar instead.

Keywords: Caprese Quinoa Salad