Loaded with the nutrients of vegetables along with a zesty and flavourful dressing, Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, is a delicious salad that can be made in under 10 minutes. Serve it on its own or a side dish for your weekend brunch. Here is how to make it.
If you like to binge on refreshing salads for a light meal, then do check these out – Chicken Cranberry Salad, Broccoli Apple Salad, Watermelon Feta Salad, Cucumber Avocado Salad, Som Tam Salad, Grilled Paneer Quinoa Salad or Ramen Noodle Salad.
About This Recipe
I often prefer light and protein-packed salad meals after a heavy dinner or especially in the summers. And therefore I like to prepare salads that are refreshing, easy to make, and are loaded with nutrients.
So, if you ask me one of my favorite salads that fulfills all these three criteria, I will name this Mediterranean Salad with Quinoa.
This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is filling and at the same time very light on the stomach. It is easy to make and made with just a few everyday ingredients, still, it is loaded with tasty Mediterranean flavors.
Even on the days when I have no mood to cook, yet want to eat something that satiates my taste palates, this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad comes to my rescue.
All you have to do is cook the quinoa and mix it with other ingredients and your delicious and healthy salad is ready.
This salad hardly takes 10 minutes to get ready, if you have ingredients ready at your kitchen counter. If you think that this salad is so easy to make, wait till you see the zesty dressing recipe, it’s even easier than that.
If you are looking for a non-vegetarian version of this Mediterranean Salad, you can even add shredded chicken or pieces of grilled chicken in this salad.
This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is,
- Have Punchy Flavours
- Light + Fresh + Bright
- Crowd Pleaser
- Great for Meal prep
- Easy to make
This is an easy salad that gets ready in just 10 minutes. The only thing that takes time is to prep for this salad, such as get the ingredients ready, chop the vegetables, boil the chickpeas, and cook the quinoa.
You can leave the ingredients which you don’t like or which are not easily available to you.
For this salad, we will need:
Quinoa – It is one of those food ingredients that is becoming very popular recently due to its nutritional benefits. High in Protein, it is a great substitute for rice too.
You can either use white quinoa or add the mixed color quinoa to this Mediterranean quinoa salad, it will lend a beautiful color and nuttier taste to the salad.
You can also use Broken Wheat and Couscous instead of Quinoa. Even these two works great in this salad recipe.
Chickpeas – Another source of protein, chickpeas add a nice soft crunch to this salad. Soak them overnight and boil until they become soft. Check out my Instant Pot Chickpeas recipe to perfectly cook these.
Veggies – For the veggies, I have used cherry tomatoes, cucumber, onion, red bell pepper, and parsley. You can even add red onion, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, carrot, corn, etc.
Add any greens of your choice such as Arugula, Spinach, Kale, Chard, Mixed Greens, etc.
You can even add diced avocados and mix it all.
Olives – Olives adds a great taste to this salad, so don’t miss on this one.
Feta Cheese – Crumbled soft feta cheese is a must in Mediterranean dishes. If you are looking for a vegan option, you can skip it.
Pine Nuts – These are a must for the crunch, but if you don’t have pine nuts, you can add walnuts or almonds to this salad.
Dressing – To make this salad full of flavor, here we have a simple dressing that is made with the combination of just 5 ingredients – extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Crushed garlic can also be added in the dressing if you like garlicky flavor in your salads.
How to make Mediterranean Quinoa Salad?
Add all the ingredients to make the salad except feta cheese and pine nuts in a bowl and mix well.
Add the dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
Top the salad with feta cheese and pine nuts just before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Quinoa is a little tricky to cook, so follow the steps mentioned below carefully for the best result.
Wash the quinoa for about 3 to 4 times, to wash the bitterness of its outer coating.
You need about 1-½ cup liquid for 1 cup quinoa. Add the washed quinoa in a pan along with water or broth. Now cover the pan and let the quinoa cook on low heat until all the liquid is absorbed.
Remove the pan from heat and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes. Now fluff it using a fork.
1 cup quinoa, fluffs up after cooking and gives you 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
Make sure you don’t overcook it, as it will not taste good in the salad. It takes about 20 minutes to cook quinoa in a pan. You can also cook it in a pressure cooker with the same water ratio.
Check out my most favorite way to cooking quinoa in Instant Pot.
It is very important to rinse Quinoa. Quinoa is actually a seed, and therefore it comes with the coating of a substance called saponin which is bitter in taste. If not rinsed properly, it might make your cooked Quinoa bitter.
But nowadays, when you buy good quality store-bought packets, Quinoa comes cleaned without this substance, which just needs rinsing. So just to be safe, wash quinoa well before using it.
I personally like to use English cucumber in this salad as it is sweeter, the skin is less waxy and it is seedless. However, you can use any cucumber that is easily available to you.
Yes, Quinoa which is a key ingredient in Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is gluten-free, making it apt if you are following a gluten-free diet. All other ingredients used in this salad are also gluten-free.
To make a vegan version of the same, substitute feta cheese with avocados for that soft texture in the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad.
If you are making it for a big crowd, and want to keep it fresh and crunchy, then you can cook the quinoa and cut the veggies and store everything in separate airtight container in the fridge.
Once you are ready to serve, mix everything well along with the dressing, and serve fresh.
You can also add on some more ingredients in this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad to make it even more filling and wholesome,
- Add some proteins like – Soft or Hard Boiled Eggs or Tofu
- Bread Croutons
- Make it with 3 beans instead of just garbanzo. Add Cannellini beans as well.
- Add roasted peppers instead of raw.
- You can add in other veggies such as Summer Squash, Eggplant, etc.
- Replace feta cheese with avocado to make this salad vegan.
- Add shredded boiled or grilled chicken or even shrimp.
- Add Arugula Leaves, Spinach, Massaged Kale, or even Fresh Basil Leaves for an added flavor.
If you have leftovers, you can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 3 days.
The beauty of this Quinoa Salad is that it tastes even better the next day. The more you keep it, the more flavourful this salad becomes.
This Mediterranean salad will remain good for 3 days. After that, the taste will differ and won’t taste as good as the fresh one.
I would not recommend you to freeze this Quinoa Vegetable Salad, as if you freeze it, the freshness and the texture will not remain the same. Instead, you can cook the quinoa and freeze it. Stir up the vegetables and feta cheese in the quinoa when you want to serve the salad.
This delicious and full of flavor Mediterranean style Quinoa Salad tastes great on its own for a light lunch or dinner.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is even great to serve as a side dish along with grilled chicken or fish, and also great for backyard parties, potluck, dinner parties, and BBQs. You can even serve it as a side with your Continental brunches.
Pro Tips By Neha
If you do not like a particular ingredient in this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, you can skip it. It won’t make a big difference.
You can even add more leafy greens such as Kale, Spinach, Arugula for extra nutrition and taste.
You can even add sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes in this salad.
This Mediterranean Salad remains fresh for long, making it apt for picnics, pot lucks and barbecues.
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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Recipe
- 2 cups Quinoa (Cooked)
- 1 cup Chickpeas (Cooked)
- ½ cup Red Bell Pepper (Cubed)
- ½ cup Cucumber (Cubed)
- ½ cup Grape Tomatoes (Cut into half)
- ½ cup Onions (Chopped)
- ½ cup Kalamata Olives (Pitted and sliced)
- 2 tbsp Parsley (Finely chopped)
- 50 g Feta Cheese
- ¼ cup Pine Nuts (Roasted)
For the Dressing
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Salt & Pepper
- Add all the ingredients to make the salad except feta cheese and pine nuts in a bowl and mix well.
- Add the dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.
- Top the salad with feta cheese and pine nuts just before serving.