District Dish: Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Most people have probably tasted quinoa, and probably even know how to pronounce it (“keen-wah”). People may like it because it’s a healthy whole grain and cooks in just 20 minutes. But are you quinoa-savvy? Here are a few facts about quinoa nutrition.

Quinoa is a quick-cooking, gluten-free pseudo whole grain (it’s cooked like a whole grain but is the seed of a beet relative). Quinoa grows in a rainbow of colors, but the most commonly available are red quinoa, black quinoa, and white quinoa.

Quinoa is nutritionally renowned for its protein content and while it does have a decent amount, it’s the type of protein that is impressive. Quinoa has the perfect balance of all nine amino acids essential for human nutrition. This type of complete protein is rarely found in plant foods, though common in meats. Quinoa also offers a good dose of fiber and iron. There are 111 calories in each 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa.

There are some foods that just seem to be powerhouse foods – packed with nutrition and flavor!  Quinoa is definitely one of those foods.  As a bonus, it is gluten free so people with a gluten allergy or intolerance can enjoy it as well.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

A protein packed salad with Mediterranean flavors – quinoa, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onion, extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon and a little feta cheese combined makes a healthy salad with fresh clean ingredients.

Servings 6
Calories 145.5 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 1/2-3/4 lemon squeezed
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives pitted and sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cucumber peeled and diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. RInse quinoa for about 2 minutes, using your hands to make sure all the saponins are removed.

  2. Fill a medium pot with water, add quinoa and salt to taste and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce heat to low and cover; simmer covered 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered an additional 5 minutes without lifting the lid; then fluff with a fork and set aside in a large mixing bowl to cool.

  3. While quinoa cools, dice all the vegetables. Add the red onion, olives, cucumber, tomatoes to the cooled quinoa, and squeeze 1/2 lemon over it.

  4. Drizzle the olive oil over the quinoa, then add feta, salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Taste for salt and adjust as needed, add more lemon juice if needed.

Recipe Notes

Makes over 6 1/4 cups.

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