This Mediterranean quinoa salad recipe is hearty, healthy, and packed with fresh flavor! Serve it as a side dish, or enjoy it as a meal on its own.
With Labor Day right around the corner, I thought that it’d be the perfect time to share this Mediterranean quinoa salad recipe. If you have a cookout or picnic coming up this weekend, this quinoa salad would be a delicious addition to the menu. It could easily pass as a side dish, but it’s so hearty and flavorful that it could be the main event, too. And if you happen to have leftovers, you’re in luck! This quinoa salad keeps well if you make it ahead of time, so it’s a great recipe to meal prep for healthy lunches throughout the week.
Over the years, I’ve shared lots of quinoa salad recipes on the blog, but I’m especially smitten with this one. A host of late summer veggies and herbs pack it with fresh flavor, and a simple Italian dressing makes it nice and bright. I hope you love it too!
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Mediterranean quinoa salad recipe:
- Quinoa, of course! 1 cup dry quinoa yields 3 cups cooked. Find my go-to method for how to cook quinoa here.
- Roasted cherry tomatoes – They add rich savory flavor and yummy chewy texture to this salad. You’ll need to roast them for a couple of hours on low heat, until they shrivel around the edges, so be sure to plan ahead.
- Persian cucumbers – For crunch!
- Red onion – For sharp depth of flavor.
- Feta cheese – I love its creamy texture and tangy flavor in this quinoa salad recipe, but feel free to skip it if you’re vegan.
- Kalamata olives – I’m an olive convert! For years, I avoided olives, but their briny, salty flavor takes this salad to a whole new level.
- Toasted pine nuts and roasted chickpeas – They add protein, nutty flavor, and lots of crunch.
- Arugula and mixed herbs – They make this salad nice and fresh! I like to use a variety of leafy herbs here, such as mint, parsley, oregano, thyme, and/or basil.
- Italian dressing – Bright, tangy, and flecked with (more) herbs, it ties the whole salad together!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Quinoa Salad Variations
This healthy quinoa salad recipe is delicious as-written, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play with it! Have fun customizing it based on what you’re craving or what you have on hand. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Make it vegan. Skip the cheese! Add a few extra olives or roasted tomatoes to amp up the savory flavor, and serve the salad with sliced avocado, a big scoop of hummus, or dollops of vegan pesto.
- Switch the grain. Instead of quinoa, use farro or Israeli couscous. It won’t be a quinoa salad anymore, but it’ll still taste delicious.
- Swap the dressing. Replace the Italian dressing with Greek salad dressing or lemon vinaigrette.
- Mix up the veggies. Substitute chopped spinach or massaged kale for the arugula, or skip the greens entirely. Instead, stir in a cup of roasted broccoli or 1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers.
- Try a different cheese. Don’t like feta? Crumbled goat cheese would be great here too.
Let me know what variations you try!
Best Quinoa Salad Recipe Tips
- Cook the quinoa ahead of time. The quinoa should be cool or at room temperature when you toss this salad together. If it’s too warm, it’ll wilt the arugula and fresh herbs. Instead of cooking it when you’re ready to assemble the salad, cook it at least an hour and up to 2 days in advance. And while you’re at it, roast the tomatoes! They’ll need to bake for 2.5-3 hours to get really tart and chewy.
- Pack it for lunch. This Mediterranean quinoa salad is a fantastic make-ahead lunch! It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days, so make a big batch for lunches all week. For the best flavor, store some of the fresh herbs separately and scatter them on right before you eat. I also recommend seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and/or an extra squeeze of lemon juice after this salad has spent a few days in the fridge. Check out this post for more of my best meal prep tips and this one for more healthy lunch ideas!
- Or enjoy it for dinner. Serve this quinoa salad recipe as a side dish with classic cookout fare like veggie burgers, black bean burgers, portobello mushroom burgers, or BBQ jackfruit sandwiches. It’s also a lovely vegetarian main dish. Round out the meal with grilled veggie skewers, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, or sautéed yellow squash.
More Favorite Hearty Salads
If you love this easy, healthy quinoa salad recipe, try one of these hearty salads next:
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs
This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad recipe is SO healthy and delicious! Packed with roasted tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs, it’s a perfect meal prep lunch or dinner side dish. For speedy assembly, roast the tomatoes in advance.
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 recipe Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 cup sliced Persian cucumbers
- 1 cup mixed basil & mint
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ¾ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 recipe Italian Dressing, plus 2 additional garlic cloves, grated
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinches of red pepper flakes
- 1 cup roasted chickpeas
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, roasted tomatoes, arugula, cucumbers, herbs, feta, olives, onion, and pine nuts.
Toss to combine, then drizzle with the dressing and toss again. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes, and toss again. Top with the roasted chickpeas and serve.
Make this recipe vegan by omitting the cheese.
Link to the original: Original Source Link