Mediterranean quinoa salad is a wonderfully healthy side dish or meatless main meal. Tender quinoa is tossed with fresh basil pesto, artichokes, Kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes. Filling and flavorful!
If you are following a gluten free diet, quinoa has a texture and flavor similar to that of bulgur wheat. I often use it in this Tabbouleh. It’s also high in protein, fiber and magnesium. (This post was originally posted on February 13th, 2013 and has been updated to contain nutritional information. As an Amazon Affiliate, I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
How to cook Quinoa.
If you can make rice, you can make quinoa! The 2 to 1 ratio of water to quinoa is the same as rice. Bring 3 cups salted, cold water and 1 1/2 cups quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. When the water boils, reduce heat to low and cover. The quinoa will take about 15 to 20 minutes and will be light, fluffy and tender. Turn off heat and leave lid on another couple of minutes. This will yield about 4 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa which is just about what you need for this recipe.
What makes this salad “Mediterranean”
I have to admit, I love all the flavors of the Mediterranean. We grow basil year round, so I love to make pesto and add it to salad dressing, pizza, pasta salads and bruschetta.
This salad also has Kalamata olive and Feta cheese from Greece. Artichokes are typically grown in France and Italy. Of course tomatoes and bell peppers are a garden staple and grown throughout the Mediterranean! The addition of the pine nuts is also distinctly Mediterranean. If you have difficulty finding pine nuts, feel free to omit them or add another nut.
Some of the items used in this post are available at my Amazon Affiliate Store
- 4 cups cooked quinoa*
- 1/3 cup homemade or store-bought pesto
- 1 12 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts drained
- 8 ounce Greek feta cheese crumbled
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives sliced
- 1/2 cup diced purple onion
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts
- Juice of half a lemon
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- For Quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup quinoa rinsed
- 3 cups cold water
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Bring water, rinsed quinoa and salt to a boil over a medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is light and fluffy. Turn of heat and cover for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Make the quinoa several hours ahead of time and chill until needed.
- Toss gently with pesto to coat, add remaining ingredients, toss. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice