May 11, 2011

Recipe - Greek Quinoa Salad

I always try to set aside Sundays to be my day of grocery shopping and pre-cooking a few things to use throughout the week. It just makes the rest of the week that much easier for me. After I got home from Whole Foods last Sunday, I set out to make a big salad that I could munch on all week. I knew I needed to revisit that package of quinoa in the back of my cupboard. I love eating quinoa but hadn't had much success cooking it before. I just didn't know what to do with it and it tasted bitter when I prepared it. Yuck!

This time, I rinsed the ever-loving crap out of it, and it made a HUGE difference. No bitterness this time! (You will need a mesh strainer to do this properly, or you can rinse it in a pot and awkwardly position your hand against the rim, trying to pour out the water while not letting the microscopic quinoa escape... like I do!) Then I combined it with some veggies and a delectable Greek dressing inspired by the one posted here. It gave the perfect tang to the salad due to the magic ingredient: red wine vinegar! I'd always thought it was lemon that gave Greek dressing its zip, but alas I was wrong - not one drop of lemon juice in this dish.

I was super happy with the result and ate this salad for lunch over some fresh spinach and avocado slices or alone as a snack. I did include one nightshade veggie (red bell pepper) because I couldn't handle the idea of not having something red in my salad and it holds up way better than tomato. Feel free to omit it and you'll have a truly Superhero dish. Or, if you're not following the Superhero plan, add in all the tomatoes and peppers you'd like!

Johnny was surprisingly a big fan of this salad, he actually ate TWO BOWLS of it throughout the week! This is an accomplishment as he doesn't usually eat leftovers at all. Score one for quinoa!
Doesn't it just scream SPRING?!

Greek Quinoa Salad
Serves 8

1 cup dried quinoa
2 cups water
1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 green onions, white and light green parts only, diced
1 large handful of basil, minced
1 15oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed


1/4 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

After you've thoroughly rinsed the quinoa, place it in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The quinoa is done when it is fairly translucent, and it is light and fluffy. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once cooled, transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and add the cucumber, red pepper, onions, and garbanzo beans. In a small container with a tight fitting lid (I use an old, cleaned out salsa jar), combine all the dressing ingredients and shake vigorously until well blended. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Just before serving, add in the basil and mix. (The basil will darken as it sits, so try to add it just prior to serving if you care about that sort of thing!)

Nutrition Info per serving: Calories 238; Total Fat 10.8; Saturated Fat 1.5g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 479mg; Carbohydrates 30.8g; Dietary Fiber 4.9g; Sugars 1.3g; Protein 6.5g; Vitamin A 18%; Vitamin C 69%; Calcium 4%; Iron 17%


  1. Ooh, I LOVE the idea of a Greek Quinoa Salad. Now that warm weather is finally here, I am looking forward to making lots of cold dishes like this one!

  2. Thanks Jess! As much as I love butternut squash and kale I am definitely ready to transition out of hot meals, too. Summer food rules!

  3. This sounds great! Remind me if you're ever in Phoenix that this place called St. Francis has a fantastic quinoa salad! (They also have burgers and meat-things for the boys. :) )

  4. I eat quinoa a lot, and I have found that the perfect thing to rinse it in is one of those reusable coffee filters that come with every coffee pot. Most people have at least one of those bad boys kickin' around in a junk drawer somewhere, and they are the perfect size for rinsing one cup of quiona.

  5. Woah, Anonymous, you just blew my mind! What a great idea, I will totally try that out next time I cook quinoa. Thanks for the tip!