This easy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is super quick to make and full of traditional coastal Mediterranean flavors and veggies!
Good morning friends!
I think I mentioned my quarantine quinoa purchase that sat untouched a couple of times before. I still feel like I haven’t made a dent 1 cup of uncooked quinoa makes approximately one billion cups of cooked quinoa.
Okay, I’m exaggerating. One cup of uncooked quinoa makes three cups of cooked quinoa, but that’s kind of a lot of quinoa. Am I right? So, I’m on a mission to use it all in new and interesting ways. One thing my in-laws make with their quinoa is a Mediterranean salad, so I thought I’d try that out too!
The fun thing about this recipe is that it’s easy and super easy to customize to your taste preferences.
How to Make Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
So, the first thing you need to do is cook your quinoa. My number one tip for amping up the flavor is broth instead of water to cook the quinoa. Quinoa is like a sponge that will absorb all the taste of the broth as it cooks. Of course, water will work, too, if you are out of broth, but I highly recommend giving the broth a whirl. If you are concerned about the sodium in broth, even unsalted will amp up the flavor.
You’ll want to cook the quinoa enough ahead it has time to cool before making the rest of the salad. I desperately stuck mine in the freezer to cool it off fast. But, in general, if you cook it and stick it in the fridge, you need about an hour for it to cool.
Once the quinoa is chilled, it’s time to start adding all your mix-ins!
Veggie Prep Notes
Roasted Red Peppers – I got these jarred at Trader Joe’s. I used a whole jar!
Marinated Artichoke Hearts – I prefer to add marinated artichoke hearts because they add flavor and oil to the salad without me adding any additional oil.
Parsley – I used curly parsley. I removed the leaves from the stems and finely diced the leaves. You could also use Italian Parsley. You could also food process your Parsley and leave the stems in if you want. I’m not too fond of the stems, so I left them out. Mr. Hungry likes a lot of Parsley, but I didn’t want this to be full-blown quinoa tabbouleh.
Chickpeas – I used canned, rinsed, and drained.
Feta – Just regular feta crumbles.
Red Onion – I sliced mine for some variation in size and texture in the final salad. You could dice this as well if you’d like!
Kalamata Olives – These babies have giant pits, so I grabbed a jar of pitted and already sliced kalamata olives.
Final Steps – Taste and Adjust
After you have your quinoa and desired veggies together, it’s time to add some flavor. I chose a SUPER simple blend of lemon juice, sumac, and salt. The sumac is KEY. If you aren’t familiar with it, sumac is a bright red (see below) coarse, tart, lemony spice popular in Middle Eastern food. We are lucky enough to get it by the truckload when Mr. Hungry’s uncle comes from Michigan, but you can find it at the regular grocery store. Although, it will likely cost less at an international foods grocery store or a small Middle Eastern grocery store.
You can adjust the flavor by adding more lemon juice, sumac, and salt until you reach your desired intensity level.
Swaps & Substitutions
For my version, I chose to use the following:
- Roasted Red Peppers
- Marinated Artichoke Hearts
- Red Onion
- Kalamata Olives
You could also add in or swap:
- Chopped Cucumber
- Chopped Zucchini
- Chopped Bell Pepper (red or green)
- Artichoke hearts in water
- Black Olives
- Green Olives
- Green Onions
- Great Northern Beans or White Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Havarti or provolone diced
Drizzle in a bit of tzatziki sauce if you want to make it creamy!
Let me know if you try it!
What to Serve With Mediterranean Quinoa Salad:
MORE FUN THINGS TO DO WITH QUINOA:
- Quinoa “Mac” and Cheese
- Spicy Quinoa Skillet
- Quinoa Enchilada Skillet
- Quinoa Breakfast Bars
- Carrot Cake Quinoa Muffins
- Mini Pizza Quinoa Quiches
- Spanakopita quinoa casserole
- Kung pao quinoa casserole
- Creamy chicken casserole
- Chicken quinoa soup
- 18+ Healthy Quinoa Recipes
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- 1 medium size pot with lid
- 1 colander
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water or broth
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped about 4 pepper halves
- 6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
- 1 bunch parsley leaves, no stems about 1/2 cup, diced
- 1 cup chickpeas I used canned, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced or black olives
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1-2 tsps sumac
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Cook your quinoa according to package directions. (1 cup dry = 3 cups cooked.) Typically the directions are to rinse quinoa and then combine it in a medium-size pot with a lid with 2 cups of water or broth. I always use broth. The quinoa tastes so much better that way! Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the quinoa is light and fluffy. Let cool, then refrigerate for 1 hour.1 cup uncooked quinoa, 2 cups water or broth
- Chop and prepare veggies and chickpeas. See instructions in the blog post above for more detailed information. Add veggies, cheese, and chickpeas to quinoa.1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped, 6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, quartered, 1 bunch parsley leaves, no stems, 1/2 cup feta cheese, 1/2 small red onion, sliced, 1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced, 1 cup chickpeas
- Add the juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lemon, salt, and sumac to the quinoa mixture, then toss to stir. Adjust salt and lemon as desired, and dig in!1 lemon, juiced, 1-2 tsps sumac, 1/4 tsp sea salt