Easy and tasty quinoa salad

Quinoa salad with grilled vegetables, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers

A quinoa dish to die for. This dish is is like a Mediterranean summer on a plate and is perfect as a side for BBQs or as a main for any meal of the day – it’s filling alright.

The flavors in this dish comes from the grilled vegetables, the salty olives and feta cheese, should you choose to include it, while the tomatoes and cucumbers add a nice freshness and lightness to balance it all out.  A definite must try. I’m sure it’ll change your world!

Quinoa is a super-grain; packed with protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, many B vitamins, such as riboflavin (B2) and B6 as well as so much more goodness. It’s relatively simple to cook – almost like cooking rice – so it should be manageable for anyone.

quinoa and grilled vegetables make a great combo

— makes 2 portions —

Ingredients for quinoa salad with grilled vegetables, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (see recipe below)
  • 1 red pablano or romano pepper (pointy tips) or 1 a bell pepper, cut into 1.5cm (~ 1 in) squares
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1 cm thick (1/3 inch) slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1 cm thick (1/3 inch) slices
  • 5 Kalamata olives (any other olives will do), pitted and roughly chopped/torn into 4
  • 1 med tomato, chopped into 2 cm (2/3 inch) cubes
  • 1 med cucumber, chopped into 2 cm (2/3 inch) cubes
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 50 g (2 oz) feta cheese (optional), crumbled with your hands

Instructions for Quinoa salad

If making for a BBQ

For a BBQ dish, you can pre-cook the quinoa at home and bring it along with the rest of the ingredients with you for a freshly cooked dish. Follow the steps below, but cook the veggies on the grill.

Step 1: Grill the vegetables

To save time, start with getting the vegetables in the oven and while they bake you can prepare everything else. Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F on the grill setting. Brush some olive oil on the peppers and zucchini. Eggplant will take up a lot of oil – and it should, so I like to add a nice pool of oil to a plate and wipe each side of every eggplant slices in it to ensure it get evenly coated. Put the vegetables on a baking tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle some salt over them and bake in the upper most part of the oven (under the grill) until they are soft and cooked though and have taken on some nice color. Should take roughly 15 min on one side and flip to bake for another 5 – 10 min on the other side. You can let them burn a bit to add a nice flavor to the salad.

Step 2: Cook the quinoa if not already prepared in advanced

While the veggies are baking, you can cook the quinoa (recipe on the next page) and prepare the other ingredients as it simmers away.

Step 3: Bring together the salad

When the veggies are ready, roughly chop them up. Mix together the chopped grilled veggies and all the remaining ingredients with the quinoa and a drizzle of olive oil. Taste and adjust salt and pepper according to your liking. You can add some oregano and feta cheese if you like to lift the flavors.

Perfect and fluffy quinoa

Ingredients for Quinoa

(Makes 3 cups quinoa)

1 cup quinoa
2 cup low sodium chicken stock or water with 1 vegetable bullion cube or about 1 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil

Instructions for cooking quinoa – the professional way

This way helps remove some bitterness from the quinoa and produces more fluffy and less clumpy results.

Step 1: Rinse

Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer with cold water. Make sure to rub and gently massage the grains with your hands and drain well after rinsing.

Step 2: Lightly toast

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa ans stir it around for about 1 minute, allowing the water to evaporate.

Step 3: Bring water/stock to boil and cook quinoa

Stir in the stock or water and bullion or water and salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Steam and fluff

Remove the pot from the burner and let it sit for 5 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, and serve.

Instructions for cooking quinoa – the “ain’t nobody got time for that” way

Step 1: Cook

In a pot add the quinoa, stock or water and bullion or water and salt and bring to a boil on high heat. Turn heat down, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Steam and fluff

Remove the pot from the burner and let it sit for 5 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, and serve.

If you want more quinoa recipes – let us know, or if you tried out this recipe, let us know how you liked it. Leave a comment below.

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Posted in Dairy free recipes, Gluten free recipes, Main dish recipes, Recipes, Salad recipes, Vegan recipes, Vegetarian recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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