Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I discovered this recipe many years ago, except the recipe called for orzo instead of quinoa. I’ve made this salad countless times with orzo and have tweaked it a bit here and there according to my tastes. The big quinoa kick hit recently and so I decided I really wanted to try my hand at a quinoa salad. ┬áThere’s also a new restaurant here in Dallas called Start that has a “Best Ever Quinoa Salad.” It’s a very tasty salad, but unfortunately the last two times I’ve gotten it they just didn’t clean the parsley well enough and I had grit in my salad. There’s seriously nothing worse than getting a sandy, gritty feeling in your mouth. So, I decided I could make this salad at home and likely make it at half the cost! :)

While this salad does require a lot of knife work, it’s well worth the effort. This does make a very large amount, so be prepared for plenty of leftovers. Alternately, it’s a great dish to take to a potluck! As mentioned before, the original recipe I found years ago called for orzo and so you can easily sub one for the other. Just use one 16oz. package of orzo instead of 1 cup quinoa. I tend to double the dressing recipe if I use orzo because I like it nice and coated, but with the quinoa I like less dressing.

I actually used red and orange bell peppers today as I didn’t have any yellow. Honestly, just use whatever you have and switch things around to your taste! The original recipe didn’t call for tomatoes, but I like tomatoes. :) It also called for white wine vinegar, but I love red wine vinegar. So have fun with the recipe and feel free to tweak to your tastes! This salad is also really good with grilled chicken if you want something more substantial as a main dish.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Yields: Approximately 10- 1 cup servings

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water (or vegetable stock)
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup red cherub tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup yellow sunburst tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup curly-leaf parsley, chopped
6 oz. container crumbled feta (I like to use the one with Mediterranean herbs or tomato/basil.)

Dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Prepare quinoa with the 2 cups water according to package directions and set aside to cool. (This typically involves rinsing the quinoa under water, then combining with water, bringing up to a boil, reducing to medium heat and cooking until water has evaporated – approx. 15 minutes.)

2. Combine all dressing ingredients and set aside.

3. Combine prepared quinoa, dressing and chopped vegetables/herbs/cheese in a large bowl and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt, though, as the feta is salty! Hope you enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Nutritional Information:
Serving Size: 1 cup; Calories: 235; Fat: 15.1g; Saturated Fat: 1.6g; Cholesterol: 1.8mg; Sodium: 368mg; Carbs: 17.8g; Dietary Fiber: 2.5g; Sugars 2.2g; Protein: 7.5g

*Please note the nutritional information is only an estimate.*