Quinoa is a grain-like crop first domesticated for its edible seeds 3000 to 4000 years ago in the Andean region of South America. Because it’s a good source of protein, dietary fiber, magnesium, and iron, quinoa has made a comeback in recent years. Aside from the health benefits, quinoa tastes nice, too—mildly nutty and seedy. This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad makes an excellent way to dress up this pseudocereal. And because it’s served cold, the light salad makes a nice antidote to summer’s heat!
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Ingredients for salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup diced red peppers
- 1/2 cup diced green peppers
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (or halved cherry/grape tomatoes)
- 1/2 cup cucumbers
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup diced scallions
- 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
- 3 ounces feta cheese
- 4 ounces bottled or homemade Greek-style salad dressing
Ingredients for optional homemade dressing
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 t minced garlic
- 1/2 t basil
- 1/2 t oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. (Tip: Use chicken stock instead of water for added flavor.) Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl and let cool.
While quinoa cools, chop peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, and olives.
After quinoa has reached room temperature, stir in all chopped ingredients. Add the crumbled feta cheese and the pine nuts.
If you’re making your own dressing, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
Pour dressing (bottled or homemade) over quinoa mixture and toss well.
Cover the salad and allow to flavor in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Serve cold.