Quinoa salads are one of my go-to meals during the summer months when I want something lighter. This quinoa salad brings together one of my favorite grains with one of my favorite chopped salads: a Greek-style cucumber tomato salad.
Quinoa works great for salads because it holds its shape and the taste is mild enough that it can go well with any salad veggie you use. It’s also a good source of protein and fiber so it helps to make the salad more filling.
To make this salad, cook about ¾ cup of dried quinoa to get 3 cups of cooked quinoa. To make sure that I made enough, I went ahead and cooked a full cup of dried quinoa and then used the leftovers for another meal.
Be sure to rinse quinoa before you cook it. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that can have a slightly bitter or soapy taste. A thorough rinse will remove the coating.
After you cook the quinoa you need to chill it in the fridge before you add it to the salad. If you add it while it’s still hot the veggies will start to get mushy. If you want to prep it ahead of time, cook it the night before or the morning of the day you plan to make the salad and then store it in the fridge.
Cucumber Tomato Salad
I like to make chopped salads with the fresh produce that I get from farmer’s markets during the summer months. Chop up cucumber, tomato, red bell pepper, and red onion. Add some kalamata olives that you’ve chopped in half. I’ll buy a 14 oz. can of olives and use about half of it.
Chopped salads take a little longer with the prep time because you have to cut everything up, but it’s worth it to have the mix of vegetables every time you take a bite.
Next, it’s time to make a simple Greek dressing that you can toss with the salad.
Homemade salad dressings taste so much better than store bought and they’re really simple to make. Keeping some basic healthy pantry staples on hand will allow you to make a quick salad dressing at home any time.
This dressing includes olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. You can also use one minced garlic clove in place of the garlic powder. Fresh garlic will give it a stronger garlic flavor if that’s what you’re looking for.
Add all the ingredients to a jar or any container with a tight-fitting lid and shake it until everything is combined. You can also whisk everything together in a medium-sized bowl.
Once everything is prepped the assembly goes fast. Simply add the chopped veggies and salad dressing to the quinoa and gently mix until everything is well combined.
Now you have a delicious quinoa salad for a light healthy meal!
Quinoa salads also keep really well for leftovers, which makes it a great option for weekend meal preps.
Go ahead and try this Greek quinoa salad. You may have a new summer meal to add to your rotation.
Greek Quinoa Salad
- 3 cup cooked quinoa, chilled (use about 3/4 cup dried quinoa to make this amount)
- 2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives, cut in half
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, more to taste
- Cook the quinoa according to package direction. Once the quinoa has cooled a bit, put in the fridge to chill.
- Chop the cucumber, tomatoes, red bell pepper, red onion, and kalamata olives.
- Make the salad dressing: add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine everything well. If you don't have a jar, whisk everything in a medium-sized bowl.
- In a large bowl, add the chopped veggies to the quinoa. Pour the salad dressing over the quinoa and veggies and gently mix everything until well combined.