This delicious salad is an example of how to use quinoa as a base for a healthy and nutritious salad, a side dish, or even a main dish. Quinoa is often described as an ancient grain because of how it is cooked, but in reality, it is a super-seed and it is one of few plant-based sources of complete protein. It has a wonderful nutty flavor and is a real lifesaver for those with grain-free diets or gluten intolerance.
A cup of cooked quinoa in your refrigerator will provide easy weeknight dinners when mixed with a handful of chopped vegetables and fresh herbs or whatever else you have on hand. I have to confess that I rarely measure the ingredients that I add to the cooked quinoa, but every time it turns delicious regardless! Favorite add-ons include toasted pine nuts, cooked corn, diced peppers, and scallions.
To make this a main dish, add some grilled chicken or shrimp that have been cut into bite-size pieces. This salad can be eaten at room temperature or cold, keeps well for up to four days in the refrigerator, and it is easy to pack for school or work lunches. Make a batch of this salad this weekend and enjoy it throughout the coming week!
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
(Serves # 6)
- 1 cup white organic quinoa
- 2 cups water or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ⅓ cup red onion, diced
- 1 sm. garlic clove, finely diced
- 3-4 TBSP. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp. dry oregano
- 1 – 15oz. can of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted, cut in half
- 1 sm. seedless, cucumber cut in cubes (about ½ cup)
- ½ cup baby arugula, roughly chopped
- 2 TBSP. fresh parley, finely chopped
- 4 oz. Feta (or fresh Mozzarella) cheese, crumbled (or cubed)
- — salt & pepper to taste
- 1 TBSP. fresh chives, minced
- Rinse the quinoa very well in a strainer under cold water. Put the quinoa, salt, pepper, and water into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer gently until the quinoa absorbs all the water, or about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Place into a large bowl and fluff it up with a fork to help it cool quicker.
- While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the ingredients for the rest of the salad. Soak the red onion and the garlic in the lemon juice and set aside. This helps to take the edge off.
- When the quinoa has cooled add the red onion, the garlic with the lemon juice, and mix well. Fold in the rest of the ingredients and mix gently to combine. Last, add the crumbled Feta. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and pepper and olive oil or lemon juice if needed. Sprinkle with the chives and serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving.