The Best Quinoa Salad

The Best Quinoa Salad

Hi Friends!!!

Happy Sunday, Happy Father’s Day!! I feel like this was our first real weekend of summer, so nice out and it’s calling for 27 today, YASS! Perfect weather for a BBQ and some Drinks!!! Mojitos, Sangria, Caesars, Bourbon Lemonade, Apricot Bourbon Sours, so many choices!!! One of each? OK! Maybe you’ll need to gift dad some Tylenol too lol🤣!

So, what are you guys cooking up today? Steak, Chicken, Burgers? Well, I have the perfect side dish for you!! The Best Quinoa Salad, filled with veggies, olives, sundried tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs🍅🥒🌶️. SO good and so healthy! The vinaigrette is real simple with only 3 ingredients. Lemon juice (+ zest)🍋, Olive Oil, Garlic & Salt + Pepper, does it get easier than that??? It makes a pretty big salad so plenty of left overs for this week’s meal prep #winning!
Quinoa is soo good for you, high fiber, high protein, 8 grams of protein per cup actually! It has a bunch of other health benefits if you want to read about here. I love making salads with hearty grains as they are so filling on their own! Faro, Barley, Brown Rice, all delicious in salads!

If you’re not too familiar with Quinoa, it’s really easy to cook. Basically, the same technique as cooking rice. You use a 2:1 Ratio, so 1 Cup Quinoa for 2 Cups liquid. We are using 1¼ cups dried Quinoa so 2½ cups water. Quinoa has a natural coating on it that needs to be rinsed before cooking. If you don’t rinse it, it can have a bitter/soapy taste to it. Add a few grains of quinoa to your strainer before adding it all to make sure the holes aren’t to big. That happened to me once and all my quinoa went through the strainer #fail🙄! I use this fine mesh strainer to rinse mine. You can use the cooking directions on the package but if you buy it in bulk and don’t have any directions just follow these easy steps.

  1. Rinse the Quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add 1 ¼ cups rinsed and drained Quinoa. Then add 2 ½ cups water + ½ tsp salt. 
  3. Put the lid on and bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

At this point, you could enjoy the Quinoa as is but we’re going to make a salad so we need to cool it completely. To speed up the process, I line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread all the quinoa in an even layer. It will cool much faster in a thin layer than in the pot. While you wait for your Quinoa to cool, you can prep the veggies and make the vinaigrette.
   For the Salad:

  • 1 Bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Large Cucumber, seeded, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 Green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes (in oil), remove them from oil, remove excess oil on paper towel and chop them into bite size pieces.
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh herbs, chopped. I used a mix of basil, cilantro and mint. You could also use parsley.

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1/4 cup Freshly squeezed lemon juice. (You’re going to use some zest from this lemon so zest the lemon before cutting it up to juice it. This microplane is what I use for zesting and it is one of my most used kitchen tools!!)
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove (also grated on the microplane)
  • Salt + Pepper

Just a little side note, can we talk organic for a minute! So, listen, I live in small town, in eastern Canada, where we basically have 5 months of “warmer” weather (if we’re lucky) which means we don’t have fresh fruits and veggies growing all year long! During these 5 months, I take full advantage of my local farmers market, with local organic farmers and buy allll the seasonal fruits and veggies that I can. But when winter comes, and there is 40 cm of snow, and I only have my local supermarket, well, I do what I can🤷🏻‍♀️! Some fruits and veggies are worth splurging on and some are perfectly fine to buy non-organic. Like a pineapple for example, you won’t be eating the skin where all the pesticides are so save your money and buy organic strawberries instead, they are the fruit with the most pesticides did you know that! Anyways, I’m going to like a few articles talking about “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Clean Fifteen” so you can read about if you want and if you don’t want to, well don’t🤭.  All this to talk about the lemon in the vinaigrette lol, since we’re using the zest, and all the pesticides are in the skin of the citrus, I buy organic for this. If I’m making a batch of Minty Bourbon Lemonade, and I’m just using the juice, I won’t bother buying organic.

So moving on, in a large bowl, add your cooled Quinoa, all the veggies and the vinaigrette. Mix everything together so all the salad is covered with all the vinaigrette. Then add the chopped herbs and mix again. You could also add crumbled feta, yum!! Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper! (The olive and sundried tomatoes add saltiness so taste before adding extra salt!)

Serve immediately or store in fridge for later. If you find that the salad has dried up a little the next day, just freshen it up with some more olive oil and lemon juice.
This is really one of my go to salads, it is perfect for BBQ’s, picnics, weekday lunches, so versatile. Another one of my faves is this Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad, sooo good! Did you try it?

Ok, a few other things before you go make this yummy salad, I worked on rhubarb recipes this weekend!!! Rhubarb Bread and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp… oh my gosh you guys, they are sooo GOOD🤯🤤🤤! Going to share the recipes soon!!!

Happy Father’s Day again to all the Dad’s!!! My Dad is up in heaven but I’m thinking about him today❤️!! Max also wants to say Happy Father’s Day to his daddy, Guillaume, you’re the best and we love you so very much🐶😘!! We’ll have an Apricot Bourbon Sour ready for you when you get back from work!

Enjoy you Sunday guys, Cheers!

XO Nat

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The Best Quinoa Salad

  • Author: Natalie
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings
  • Category: dinner, lunch

Description

This simple and fresh recipe, is seriously The Best Quinoa Salad. Filled with fresh veggies, salty olives, sweet and tangy sundried tomatoes, lots of fresh herbs and a lemony vinaigrette that has only 3 ingredients! Make this salad as a side dish for a BBQ, make ahead for weekday lunches, so good!! It makes a big batch so perfect for leftovers!


Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1-2 Tsp Lemon Zest, grated on microplane*
  • 1/4 cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Garlic Clove, grated on microplane
  • Salt + pepper

For the Salad:

  • 1 1/4 cups dry Quinoa, rinsed, cooked and cooled
  • 1 Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 Large Cucumber, seeded, peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup sliced Black Olives
  • 1/2 Cup Sundried Tomatoes in oil, chopped (drain them on paper towel to removed excess oil)
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh herbs such as Basil, Cilantro, Mint or Parsley (I used a combo of Mint, Basil and Cilantro).

Instructions

For the vinaigrette:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a mason jar, shake. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.

For the salad:

  1. Rinse the Quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Add Quinoa to medium saucepan with 2 1/2 cups water, put the lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Once the Quinoa is cooked, spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet to cool.
  3. Chop all the veggies into bite size pieces.
  4. Add the cooled Quinoa to a large bowl. Add the chopped veggies and the vinaigrette, mix thoroughly.
  5. Chop the fresh herbs and add to the salad. Mix everything together, adjust seasoning to taste.
  6. Serve immediately or store in the fridge to enjoy later.

Notes

*I use a microplane to zest the lemon and grate the garlic clove. I linked the microplane I use in the blog post and I really recommend it. It is one of my most used tools. Grating garlic, zesting fruit, grating parm over pasta, grating nutmeg.
**You could also add some crumbled feta to this salad, maybe like 1/2 cup!

Keywords: quinoa, salad, healthy, dinner, lunch, quinoa salad

 



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