Put this delicious pesto zucchini quinoa salad recipe on your meal-prep menu for the week! It’s vegan, gluten free, and so easy to make.

Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad - Daisybeet

Pesto is one of those foods that I could eat every day. It’s such a versatile sauce. I love it on pizza, pasta, toast, and even with eggs! This homemade vegan pesto pairs perfectly with the zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, and quinoa in this recipe.

How to make vegan pesto

This pesto is totally plant-based, but still packs that classic cheesy flavor thanks to nutritional yeast! Nutritional yeast is a food product sold in flakes or powder. It is a great source of plant-based protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B12. It has a cheesy, umami flavor that is great to flavor vegan recipes.

  • Add lemon juice, garlic, basil, arugula, salt, pine nuts, olive oil, cold water, and nutritional yeast to a food processor or high speed blender.
  • Blend until well combined, but still a little chunky for texture.
  • Stop to scrape down the sides during blending. The whole process will take just a few minutes!
Vegan Pesto in Food Processor - Daisybeet

What’s in this pesto zucchini quinoa salad?

This quinoa salad is so easy to make! All you need are 10 ingredients (not including salt, pepper, and water) and about 30 minutes to get this on the table.

  • Quinoa
  • Zucchini
  • Summer squash
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Arugula
  • Garlic
  • Lemon
  • Pine nuts
  • Olive oil
Pesto zucchini quinoa salad - Daisybeet

I enjoyed this quinoa salad over greens for lunch and topped with a piece of fish for dinner. It is a versatile recipe that tastes amazing both warm and cold. Grain salads are one of my favorite recipes to meal prep, and this one is definitely a winner!

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Pesto zucchini quinoa salad - Daisybeet

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Pesto Zucchini Quinoa Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Put this delicious pesto zucchini quinoa salad recipe on your meal-prep menu for the week! It’s vegan, gluten free, and so easy to make.

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4 as a side 1x
  • Category: side dish


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1/2 cup uncooked)
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into half-moon slices
  • 1 large summer squash, cut into half-moon slices
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced

Vegan Pesto

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh basil
  • 1 large handful baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cold water


  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place zucchini and summer squash slices on baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until fork tender and starting to brown.
  3. Cook quinoa according to package instructions while zucchini and squash roast.
  4. Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend for a few minutes until smooth but a little chunky. Pause to scrape down the edges with a spatula if necessary.
  5. Combine quinoa, zucchini/squash, sun dried tomatoes, and about 1/2 cup of the pesto in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine until everything is well coated. 
  6. Serve warm or place in a container and refrigerate for later.


  • You can just add 2 cups of basil, instead of 1 cup basil/1 cup arugula in the pesto for similar results.
  • Stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • You will probably have leftover pesto – it freezes well, if you don’t plan to use it within a few days!

Keywords: quinoa salad, pesto, vegan, vegan pesto, zucchini

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