Fresh, vibrant and bursting with flavor, this quick and easy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is sure to become a regular on your weekly dinner menu. Perfect for those nights you are looking for a quick and easy side dish that could easily become the lunch for tomorrow. Ready in under 10 minutes with meal planning (or about 20 minutes without it), you are going to be be blown away by the amount of flavor you are able to produce in such a short time. Best part, this salad is just as good the next day!
I distinctly remember the first time I tried feta cheese. I ordered a Greek Salad (no olives) from a restaurant while I was in college. I usually would have asked for it without the cheese because I had never tried feta and thought it might be gross. But I was with a friend and she assured me she would eat my feta cheese if I didn't love it. Well needless to say, I declared it the best cheese in the world. I still think it's one of the best things ever. And it really makes this Mediterranean quinoa salad something to swoon over.
Now a days, buy sheep's milk feta cheese. It doesn't seem to upset Dave's stomach as much, and I love it because it's still feta. We don't eat much cheese since Dave got sick, as it's not the best thing for healing his gut. But he's been reintroducing some foods in his diet (including quinoa this weekend what!) and he has been tolerating very small amounts of cheese. If he wasn't allergic to tree nuts, I probably would try to make vegan feta cheese with almonds as the base. If you are vegan, I suggest you try this raw vegan feta cheese recipe.
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To celebrate with my Valentine this weekend, we had dinner with my parents, my sister and her boyfriend on Saturday night. It was nice to dress up and get out of the house for a bit, even though it was so chilly. Dave ordered the salmon and declared it “not that bad”. Now I'm going to try to force feed him salmon like once a week. He just doesn't know this yet. On Valentine's Day, I made Dave some epic heart shaped red velvet pancakes, because you know the way to a mans heart is food right? Good thing I love him, I almost kept those babies for myself!
Quick rant about dinner on Saturday, so we went to a nice restaurant, my salmon was “on a bed of quinoa, butternut squash and kale with a red pepper vinaigrette”. I was stoked because I love all those veggies. There was probably like 5 chunks of butternut squash and even less kale. I was so disappointed on the amount of veggies. Since I usually get a salad, I guess I never realize this but I was so upset on how unbalanced my plate was. Lots of quinoa, lots of protein, but not many veggies. If you are in my nutrition program you know how much this bothers me :( <– rant over!
Unlike that quinoa dish I had for dinner, this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is packed with veggies. Zucchini, roasted red bell peppers, artichokes and tomatoes. Oh and lots of fresh and dried herbs for flavor! Don't underestimate the power of fresh and dried herbs. They take a dish from blah to BOOM in 2 seconds flat and are my favorite way to add flavor to a dish.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Recipe Tips
The recipe below reflects that I already had quinoa cooked. On Sunday night, I make a big batch of grains as well as a large batch of roasted veggies. During the week, I use these pre-cooked items to make dinner take 10 minutes or less. If you are interested in meal planning and meal prepping, I offer meal plans with directions on how to meal prep specifically for fat loss. You can get meal plans here!
If you don't meal plan, you will need to make quinoa. To make quinoa, you will need to first rinse it to remove the coating on the seeds that makes it bitter. After rinsing, use double the water to quinoa (for this recipe I would use 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water). Cook covered on medium to medium high for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and let remaining water evaporate. Fluff with a fork.
Quick and Easy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 can chickpeas - rinsed and drained
- 2 zucchini squash - sliced into half moons
- 2 roasted red pepper - chopped
- 1/2 can artichokes in water - drained and chopped
- 1 tbs. dried oregano
- 3/4 -1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 lemon - juiced
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4--1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese - vegans can omit or use almond feta cheese
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves - chopped
- In a large skillet, spray it with non-stick spray (I use coconut oil), and cook the zucchini 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes.
- While zucchini is cooking, rinse and drain the chickpeas. Let sit in fresh water for 2-3 minutes.
- While chickpeas are soaking, chop the rest of the veggies.
- In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, rinsed chickpeas, veggies, oregano, salt, lemon juice, garlic powder, crumbled feta and chopped mint.
- Stir well and serve over salad greens or with additional veggies. You could also top with your choice of protein.
- Serves 4 as main dish, 6-8 as side dish
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What about you?
- Have you ever been upset at the lack of veggies at dinner when you go out to eat?
- Do you love feta cheese?
- Can you spell Mediterranean without spell check? I can't (insert crying emoji). Rebecca I thought of you throughout this post!