This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad uses some of the classic ingredients of that region. It is typical to have olives, chickpeas, and feta cheese in quinoa salad, but you can use other ingredients (sweet potatoes, olives, turnips, avocados) as well.
This recipe will quickly become a staple in your kitchen. This recipe is ideal for lunch, potlucks, or as a side dish. Quinoa salads are great because they contain so much protein. In this way, it can be used for vegetarian diets or as a meat substitute.
Additionally, it is gluten-free, so it is perfect for those following a gluten-free diet. Even though quinoa usually is grouped with grains, it is technically a seed. Unlike most grains, it contains a lot more protein. Also, it cooks much faster. Keeping quinoa on hand is going to be one of the best things you can do if you’re looking for an inexpensive and nutritious ingredient. This delicious salad is quick and easy to make, and it’s a crowd-pleaser.
Let’s start with the quick lemon vinaigrette used in this salad recipe. Place ½ a cup of olive oil in a bowl. Add in 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, two cloves of garlic, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, one teaspoon of kosher salt, and half teaspoon of black pepper, give them a good whisk until emulsified. Alternatively, you can place all the ingredients in a mason jar, place the lid on and shake well.
Now, let’s start making the salad. Place a cup of quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and give it a good rinse under cold water. Pour it into a saucepan and add in 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 12 to 13 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Let the pot sit on the counter for about 10 minutes after removing it from the heat. Let it cool and fluff it with a fork.
Once the quinoa has cooled down, transfer all 3 cups of quinoa to a large salad bowl. Add in a cup of sliced cherry tomatoes, ¾ of a cup of chopped kalamata olives, two chopped Persian cucumbers (you can cut them in half and then dice them), one can of drained and rinsed chickpeas, half a cup of chopped red onion and a cup of chopped fresh parsley.
Add olive oil to your vegetables in a bowl. Stir everything together, making sure it is well combined.
Finally, drizzle it with the lemon vinaigrette you made earlier. You can use half of the vinaigrette or adjust the amount to suit your taste. Give it a gentle toss and top it off with crumbled Kalleh feta cheese, or you can make the dressing with cumin powder, a pinch of salt, and add a lot of cilantro/parsley on top and serve yourself a refreshing salad.
Quinoa can be prepared ahead and kept in the refrigerator, then added to any salad.
You can also add chopped mint leaves to your salad if you like.