Zucchini Quinoa Salad with Microgreens

zucchini, quinoa, microgreens salad in bowl
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I found myself scrapping the last specks of green off the plate, chasing the delicate little stems around with my fork.  Not wanting to miss those evasive slender shoots, I coaxed them onto the tines with my fingers.  The vibrant greens wove through the pale fluffy curls of quinoa and salty chunks of feta, their sharp grassy flavor contrasting with the mild-mannered nutty seed.

Surprisingly intense in flavor in an array of vibrant colors, microgreens are the smaller, younger version of salad greens and herbs.  Arugula, basil, cilantro and spinach are just a few of the various varieties of microgreens. microgreens in bowl Harvested young when only a few weeks old, these young seedlings are intense in both color and flavor. Unlike sprouts which are simply germinated seeds. grown in water and eaten whole, microgreens are grown in soil and cut at the root. 

Like sprouts, however, and similar to their mature, leafy green cousins, microgreens are a good source vitamins, minerals and other beneficial phytonutrients. zucchini, quinoa, microgreens salad with spoon These wonderfully tender miniature greens got their culinary start in California.  Chefs and homecooks alike immediately took to the tiny greens.  Capitalizing on their access to fresh local produce, these grassy, spicy, earthy flavors soon became a staple of California cuisine.

Despite their inherent liveliness, microgreens are rarely the star of the show.  Rather, they play a strong supporting role; a humble jumble of greens as a garnish or a flavor accent, adding beauty and dimension to a dish. zucchini, quinoa, microgreens salad with fork Pin It

That’s exactly what they do here; they tumble together with shreds of raw zucchini, mild, nutty quinoa, and creamy feta.  The diminutive stems peak through, adding a light crunchy texture and bright clean flavor. 

Fresh, nutty, creamy and satisfying, this is the kind of salad that highlights the best that Mother Nature has to offer.

RECIPE: zucchini quinoa salad with microgreens


  • 500ml/ 2 cups water
  • 180g/ 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 medium zucchini, trimmed and shredded in a food processor or grated on a box grater
  • 50g/ ¼ cup black kalamata olives, finely chopped
  • 112g/ 4 ounces feta cheese, cubed
  • 30ml/ 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 60ml/ 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • A few handfuls of microgreens, washed and dried
  • 30g/ ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the quinoa until the water runs clear and drain.
  2. Combine the drained quinoa with the 2 cups of water and salt in a heavy medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until done.
  3. Take saucepan off of heat and set aside for 5 minutes with the lid on to steam and dry out the quinoa. Pour out into a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Add the shredded zucchini, chopped black olives and feta to the quinoa.
  5. Whisk together the white wine vinegar and olive oil and pour over reserving some to toss with the microgreens.
  6. Toss microgreens with the remaining dressing and top the quinoa. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds.
  7. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed depending on how salty your feta cheese is.


Everything can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready. Toss the quinoa mixture and the microgreens with the dressing and top with the pumpkin seeds right before serving.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Copyright © 2010-2011 gourmande in the kitchen.


Have you ever tried microgreens?


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  1. says

    Oh it’s so hard to find microgreens here…I think there’s just not the culture for them, yet. But I can maybe use some pea leaves instead…Because I love quinoa with zucchini, and even more with cheese.

  2. says

    Oh…I love that second click, Sylvie..the tiny leaves look so pretty..fresh from the farm! And Quinoa is definitely a grain to stay for long in my kitchen…love this simple and healthy recipe.

  3. says

    This post is so incredibly beautiful! And using exactly the kind of fresh ingredients I love…I think a little sliced avocado would work beautifully with the feta too. Wish I could take photos like you. Gorgeous.

  4. says

    I never knew micro greens started in our own backyard. Great dish. I love the fresh flavors with the added feta creaminess.

    That third photograph is one of my top five favorites of yours. Wow-absolutely stunning. Of course I’ve already pinned it. 🙂

  5. says

    I would be scraping all the little morsels up as well… this salad had everything that I love in it!! Adding it to my collection of quinoa recipes I want to make!!
    The photos, of course, are gorgeous as always!!

    It’s always such a pleasure to read your blog!!

  6. says

    Love your absolutely stunning photography! I haven’t tried growing my own microgreens, wonder if it’s difficult. They look so pretty in this quinoa salad.

  7. says

    Sylvie, I actually picked up quinoa for the first time ever last week while at the grocery.

    I’ve never had it or cooked with it but knew it was something I should just have in the kitchen. I think I’ll try this for my first recipe.

    Maybe my photography will come just as yummy as well. 🙂

  8. says

    Such a gorgeous salad…I need to find some microgreens…so tender and beautiful. But I would be happy eating this with ordinary spring greens till then~

  9. says

    Sylivie, I am addicted to micro greens and now sunflower sprouts as well. I use them both often to top similar dishes. I recently posted a BLT Quinoa Salad topped with micro greens. Now I need to try this recipe too 🙂

    • says

      Sprouts are germinated seeds, they are soaked and grown in water and eaten root and all. Microgreens are seeds that are planted in soil and harvested at the root when very young. They can be similar in appearance and are easily interchangeable in most recipes so go ahead and use whichever you prefer here.

  10. says

    Wow – this is a stunning salad! I love to use quinoa in a dish….once I heard it was a complete protein, I started experimenting with it even more. The micro greens are dainty and colorful, just as they should be!

  11. says

    I sometimes grow a little pot of radishes and other flavorful sprouts just for the micro greens. I know I will never have the space to let then mature, so it is a fun way yo get my farmer on. GREG

  12. says

    I call these herbs .. had no idea it’s called Micro greens. Can you imagine how just few sprinkles of these micro greens can make a dish so beautiful or flavorful 🙂
    This salad looks so refreshing and I don’t blame you for scraping it till the last bit!

  13. says

    perfect! a perfect lunch for summer. and the colors of the micro greens are so vibrant. The first paragraph is so beautifully written Sylvie, its like reading through a food novel 🙂 that is a really pretty bowl you have. Is it stone?

  14. says

    I adore micro greens, and your salad looks fabulous! I like to make a “green” sandwich with cucumber slices, avocado, lettuce and micro greens. Maybe a little goat cheese too 🙂

  15. says

    Yum! I love microgreens (particularly broccoli, arugula, and pea). I usually just toss them into a simple salad with a few olive-oil fried bread crumbs…
    Quinoa with microgreens sounds really delicious. The soft nutty quinoa must be a nice compliment to the flavorful bright microgreens.

  16. says

    this salad looks incredible. I love quinoa and zucchini but have never tried microgreens (well, except sunflower ones). I’m so intrigued. I’m thinking of planting some seeds and when they grow an inch to add the greens to the salad. Thanks Sylvie!

  17. says

    So delicate and colorful! I’ve been living under a rock or cave…I haven’t seen any type of blend or offering of these microgreens in my markets. Beautiful, tasty zucchini-quinoa salad…and of course I’m swooning because of the cubes of healthy feta cheese (luv feta!).

    I’m wondering if a blend is easy to grow?

    • says

      I’ve been finding microgreens at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s recently but to answer your question – yes, they are very easy to grow at home as well.

  18. says

    what an incredible salad. i’m a sucker for anything quinoa and you’ve just loaded it up with some of my most favorite things. thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

  19. says

    I’m going to state the obvious so forgive me… Your photography is STUNNING! Honestly, in 7 years of blog surfing, your photos are by far the best I’ve ever seen! Fantastic work!

    Also, I love quinoa. I was introduced to it through a meal plan for a cleanse I went on with CLEAN and have not stopped eating it since. It’s made for micro-greens and zucchini and cucumbers! Add a little feta and oh, my! I love it!


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