Summer Quinoa Bowl with Grilled Salmon and Basil Vinaigrette

June 23, 2016 | | | |

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Summer-Quinoa-Bowl-with-Grilled-Salmon-and-Basil-Vinaigrette-4I’m setting a wedding attendance personal best this week, people! Yours truly has already crushed two nuptial celebrations in the past five days, and I’m heading out to Southampton for wedding #3 in a few hours. I wish there was someone here to chest bump. (Meghan and Mrs. Pat: If you’re reading this, HI! I can’t wait to chest bump see you!)

If you’re wondering how the one-week wedding trifecta is possible, there was a Monday ceremony in the mix. My friend Phoebe, who has always embraced the “you do you” mentality with gusto, did a Summer Solstice/Full Moon lovefest in Maine, complete with prayer crystals, a lobster boil on the beach, and a yantra-themed wedding cake. (It was carrot, in case you enjoy cake details as much as I do.) ‘Twas hands down the most magical Monday of my life.

Summer-Quinoa-Bowl-with-Grilled-Salmon-and-Basil-VinaigretteTruth be told, I had some serious anxiety going into Wedding Week 2016. So much travel, and outfit coordination, and boozing, and cake! (For better or worse, I always eat the wedding cake. Even when it’s shitty, which let’s be real, it usually is.) Given that I’m such a delicate flower, I was worried about how my bod would handle the mawwiage triple threat. I mostly feared that I would go into the grand finale a hot mess, which would be disastrous given that I’m actually in the wedding. I imagine dirt napping at the rehearsal and/or ruining your bestie’s photos is frowned upon…

Summer-Quinoa-Bowl-with-Grilled-Salmon-and-Basil-Vinaigrette-2However, I’m pleased to report that I’m holding up surprisingly well. Sure, there were a few minor mishaps—I’m currently rocking the world’s most awkward sunburn, and someone mistakenly took my gate-checked bag in Bangor on Monday afternoon, leaving me without wedding attire or makeup—but overall, this whirlwind week has been much less painful than anticipated. I could definitely use a good beauty sleep or two, but as they say, I’ll sleep when I’m dead (read: Sunday).

My stamina may be attributable to wedding-induced adrenaline, but I choose to believe it’s at least partially due to the fact that I’ve been double fisting green smoothies and eating a version of this Summer Quinoa Bowl with Grilled Salmon and Basil Vinaigrette for the past 48-hours.

Summer-Quinoa-Bowl-with-Grilled-Salmon-and-Basil-Vinaigrette-3This is basically a bowl of smart and pretty, friends. The salmon and avocado are packed with brain-enhancing/mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, tomatoes and corn provide a (much-needed) antioxidant boost, and, as you know, quinoa absolutely kills it on the protein and vitamin/mineral fronts. Plus, the bowl happens to be every bit as delicious as it is nutritious. A smorgasbord of summer flavors and textures topped off with my go-to sweet and tangy basil vinaigrette, it’s feel good food at its finest. (You may want to double the vinaigrette to use on everything from meat and fish to salads and eggs. It will keep for about a week in the fridge.)

Better still, assembling this bowl is 100% idiotproof. Prep the fish/vegetables and whip up the vinaigrette while the quinoa cooks, then just throw everything on the grill for a few minutes, and you’ll be good to go. It shouldn’t take you more than 40 minutes max from start to finish, I promise.

Summer-Quinoa-Bowl-with-Grilled-Salmon-and-Basil-Vinaigrette-5Needless to say, if salmon isn’t your jam, feel free to sub your favorite firm fish (halibut, mahi mahi, or tuna would all be great), or top your bowl with some herb shrimp, marinated flank steak, or grilled chicken. You can also use any whole grain you like in place of quinoa, or keep it super tight with cauliflower rice. You know I like it when you get creative.

Summer Quinoa Bowl with Grilled Salmon and Basil Vinaigrette

Author - Serena Wolf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa rinsed and drained
  • cups water
  • 4 6- to 8-ounce skinless salmon filets
  • 2 ears sweet corn shucked
  • 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado thinly sliced (or cubed)

For the basil vinaigrette:

  • 2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover the saucepan with a lid, and cook for 14 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Let the quinoa rest, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Whip up your basil vinaigrette. Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor, and blend until well combined. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Continue blending until very smooth. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if necessary. Transfer to a bowl or serving vessel and refrigerate until ready to use. (You’ll have about 1 cup vinaigrette)
  • Pre-heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the salmon, corn, and tomatoes. Pat the salmon dry with paper towels. Brush both sides of each filet with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Brush the corn all over with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Thread the cherry tomatoes onto metal or bamboo skewers. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Time to grill! To grill the corn: Place the shucked corn directly on the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally until the kernels are a vibrant yellow and charred in places. Let cool slightly, then use a sharp knife to slice the kernels from the cob. To grill the salmon: Place the salmon on the grill, skinned side up, and cook for about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the filets and cook for 4-5 minutes more, until cooked through and easily flaked with a fork.
  • To grill the tomatoes: Place the tomato skewers on the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning every minute or so, until the tomatoes are softened slightly and charred in spots.
  • Assemble your bowls. Divide to the quinoa among 4 bowls. Add a salmon filet and one quarter each of the corn, tomatoes, and avocado to each bowl. Serve the bowls drizzled with plenty of basil vinaigrette.

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  1. Kay Battista on June 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    omg…what did you do without your dress and makeup!?

    • Serena Wolf on June 23, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Luckily, my stepmom had some random things hanging in her closet from last summer (my family wasn’t actually there), and I scrounged up some mascara and chapstick. Wasn’t my best look, but it “worked.” 😉

      • Kay Battista on June 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm

        phew. That is nerve wracking!

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