Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa Salad

Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa – Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Grill Salad Recipe

Medium |  Servings: 6  |  Ready In: 25 minutes |  Yield: 8 cups

Charred summer zucchini and yellow squash pair with quinoa, basil, and mint, for a delicious, gluten-free salad.  This is oil-free vegan recipe is packed with healthy protein and the flavors of summer. Enjoy with Sweet Potato Fries, Sweet Corn Succotash and Ultimate Portabella Burgers for a delicious summer barbecue.


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 summer squash
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chiffonade
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

How it’s Done:

To toast and cook the quinoa: Place the quinoa in a dry pot. Cover and toast over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5-7 minutes.  When the quinoa has toasted, add 2 cups of water, cover, and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook until quinoa is done, about 10-12 minutes.
When the quinoa is done, remove from heat and fluff to steam off any excess liquid.   Let cool for about 5-10 minutes.

While the quinoa cooks, you can char your vegetables and make your dressing.

To char the zucchini and summer squash:  Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the stems of the zucchini and squash. Slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick planks.  Place the squash in a single layer on the preheated grill, no oil needed. Char 3-4 minutes.
When the squash has charred on one side, flip and cook another 2-3 minutes, until charred on the second side.
When the squash is done charring, remove and keep in a warm place near the grill.  Repeat the grilling with the remaining squash and zucchini.

To make the Lemon Tahini Basil Mint dressing: Zest and juice the lemon into a large bowl.  Add the tahini.  Use a fork to whisk the juice and tahini together.  Add the basil, mint, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.
Chiffonade the basil and mint. Place in the bowl with the lemon.
Add the salt and pepper.

To make the Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa Salad: When the squash are done charring, cut into bite-sized pieces, about 1/2-inch thick.  In the large bowl with the Lemon Tahini dressing, add the cooked quinoa and charred zucchini and squash.  Stir well to combine.  Taste to adjust seasoning and serve.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 cups

A quick oil-free dressing comes together with tahini and fresh lemon

Chef Katie’s Tips:

Seasonal Variations: Let the market guide you on the different vegetables and fresh herbs to try in this salad.  Grilled onions, bell peppers, and steamed pea pods would all be great vegetables to try.  Fresh herbs like chives, parsley, purple basil, and marjoram would all make interesting variations from the basil and mint.

What is Tahini?: Tahini is ground sesame seed paste. It usually is made from roasted sunflower seeds – the roasted adds more flavor so choose this over “raw”.  Check for a tahini with no added oil and minimal added salt.

Grill Pan: A good-quality cast-iron grill pan makes this easy to prepare this recipe any time of year.  You don’t need to use any oil as long as you pre-heat the pan before charring the squash.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Servings 6.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 155
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4 g 6 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 105 mg 4 %
Potassium 449 mg 13 %
Total Carbohydrate 25 g 8 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 15 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 6 g 11 %
Vitamin A 16 %
Vitamin C 21 %
Calcium 3 %
Iron 16 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Watch to Learn More:

Shopping and Gear List

  • Nature’s Earthly Choice Organic Quinoa, 32 Ounce
  • LiOR Tahini, All Natural 100% Pure Ground Sesame, 16 Ounce Jar
  • Calphalon Contemporary Hard-Anodized Aluminum Nonstick Cookware, Square Grill Pan, 11-inch, Black


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