Our summer is full of picnics, BBQ’s, and this year iftars. We have spent many of our days on the run and having fun! Potluck salads where I grew up were either a) pasta salad b) cold bean salad c) jello “salad”.  (If someone can explain to me why it’s called a jello salad I would really appreciate it).  I totally drew a blank when I tried to think of a potluck salad to share…so I made one up! Strawberries just came in season here last week.  We had snow until mid-May (yuck) and it didn’t get much warmer until June. I also used quinoa because it’s gluten-free, but you could use couscous or another grain. I had gotten some from the farmer’s market but was sad to find they weren’t very sweet so time for plan B – strawberry dressing!

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

I just cleaned and removed the tops of 2 cups of strawberries and sent them through my food processor, and then the most important step – straining.  My least favorite part of strawberries are the little seeds that inevitably get stuck in my teeth only to be discovered after they’ve wedged their way into my gums.  Ugh hate that! Technically you don’t have to strain the strawberry puree but I think you should.

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

It couldn’t be much easier, just whisk in some balsamic vinegar, I added about 3 TBSP and tasted it.  If you like vinegar, add some more.  If you like just a little, well then stop right there.  You can add a little drizzle of olive oil too – I think it helps make a thinner consistency for the dressing.  I have to admit I would have eaten this dressing with a spoon.  Ok, I did eat this dressing with a spoon, but just a little. I might have mopped some of it up with bread too. And drizzled it on some cheese….

Strawberry Salad

But, back to the salad.  You know those mason jar salads that are (or were) all the rage on Pinterest?  I took my inspiration from that, and my Desserts in Jars experience. I think this is a perfect potluck salad because it’s portable, easy to eat, and already portioned.  Also you can chill the jars on ice in a big bowl – how cute would that be? All I know is they were really good, they held up over the course of several days without turning mushy.  One small problem is these are little jars and so it was a little tough to mix the salad.  You could instead either use a bigger jar or pour the salad out onto a plate before eating it.

Quinoa Strawberry Salad in Jars

Strawberry Balsamic Quinoa Salad on #TheSaladBar


    Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
  • 2 cups topped and hulled strawberries
  • 3 Tbsp+ balsamic dressing
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp honey (as needed)
  • Salad
  • Cooked Quinoa
  • Strawberries
  • Pistachios
  • Pea Pods
  • Feta Cheese
  • Mason Jars - size you like!


    Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
  • Clean strawberries, by rinsing, removing tops and cores. Place in a blender or food processor and pulse until a liquid.
  • Strain strawberry juice to remove the seeds.
  • Whisk in balsamic vinegar, adjusting to your taste.
  • Add olive oil to thin out the dressing.
  • If your strawberries are not very sweet, you can also whisk in 1-2 tsp of honey to sweeten it just a bit.
  • Salad Assembly
  • In the bottom of the mason jar, first add some of the salad dressing. For a 1 cup mason jar, I added 3 tsp of salad dressing.
  • Next add the pistachios.
  • Followed by the pea pods.
  • The next layer should be the cooked quinoa.
  • Finally add the feta cheese and strawberries to the top.
  • Seal the jar and serve!

These cute little salads are gluten-free and the perfect size for a side salad. Did I mention my kids didn’t even balk at eating them? What’s not to love?!

Strawberry Quinoa Salad with Balsamic Dressing