Fresh Balsamic Summer Salad

Sometimes preparing dinner is just plain too much, especially during the hot summer months. Who wants to spend time in front of a stove or heat their thoroughly a/c’ed kitchen with their oven? I most definitely don’t. I am always on the hunt for a delicious dinner that doesn’t require a ton of prep or for me to stand in a stifling kitchen while the temperature outside soars to unbearable numbers.

This fresh balsamic summer salad is the ticket! It can easily be eaten alone, or paired with some grilled chicken or steak. I also like to eat the leftovers with rotisserie chicken for lunch. The best part about this particular salad is it is versatile. You can change the strawberries and raspberries for blueberries and blackberries. Or turn it into more of a fall salad and add in dried cranberries and chopped Granny Smith apples.

Add in spinach or kale, or any dark green you’d like. Or leave the green out and add in roasted asparagus or Brussels sprouts. Whatever your favorites are, they most likely will be amazing in this particular salad.

Fresh Balsamic Summer Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Cool Time: 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 659 kcal


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 4 cups chicken stock low sodium
  • tbsp butter unsalted
  • 2 large shallots
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups baby spinach coursely chopped
  • 2 cups walnuts chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries fresh
  • 1 cup raspberries fresh
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice fresh
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


Ahead of Time

  • In a large sauce pot add in the chicken stock and butter. Allow to come to a boil and then add in the couscous and the quinoa. Allow to simmer for 10min or so until the quinoa and couscous has puffed up and the liquid is mostly gone. Let stand to allow the grains to finish absorbing the liquid. Once finished cooking, allow to cool in the refrigerator.
  • In a small sauce pot, add in 1 tbsp of olive oil and the diced shallots in. Allow to sauté for a few minutes to let the shallots to slightly brown. Then add in the balsamic vinegar and whisk while it reduces and becomes thick. Takes about 10 minutes. When the balsamic vinegar has reduced to about ⅗ a cup, let cool and place in refrigerator until it is completely cooled.

When Meal Will Be Served

  • In a large bowl, add in the quinoa/couscous into the bottom. Then add in the spinach, walnuts, strawberries, and raspberries. Zest one large lemon into the bowl as well. Then juice the lemon over the top of the contents in the bowl. Drizzle with the 2 tbsp of olive oil and toss the contents lightly.
  • Then pour the balsamic vinegar over the top and toss again. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to a week. Perfect alone or with grilled chicken or steak.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 659kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 19gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 259mgPotassium: 758mgFiber: 8gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 985IUVitamin C: 29mgCalcium: 99mgIron: 4mg
Keyword balsamic, couscous, quinoa, summer dish, summer salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

If you want to make this gluten free, double the quinoa and omit the couscous. With exception of the butter and chicken stock, this recipe is perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Swap out the butter for an unflavored oil such as avocado oil. Exchange the chicken stock for vegetable stock or water.

This recipe, dare I say, is even more tasty after it has sat in the refrigerator overnight. While it is a recipe that needs to be prepared ahead of time, it is super easy and doesn’t keep you in the kitchen hovering over hot sauce pots for a long time.

Hope y’all are having an amazing week. Stay safe, be kind, and hug your loved ones.

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