Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Sep 2, 2020 | Bowls, Recipes

Always looking for a good quinoa salad. In this summer heat, I just find myself wanting salads over heavy meals, and quinoa is such an elevating addition to any salad. Also happens to be one of the more beneficial grains out there to be adding to your salads.

Quinoa’s Benefits

This pseudo-grain, which is actually a seed has made its way into all supermarkets worldwide over the years, and for good reason. This little seed is a nice source of plant based protein, packing in 8 grams of protein per cup. The distinguishing factor that makes quinoa a “superfood” plant based protein is that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. These are the 9 amino acids (out of 20) that our bodies do not know how to produce on their own but desperately need to proper hormone function, enzymatic activity, structural function and a lot more crucial metabolic functions. So when we examine a protein, we are always looking to get a complete protein, i.e a protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Animal protein is one of the best ways to get these complete proteins into our bodies, but it is very difficult to find a plant based source of complete protein. Brown rice for example is not a complete protein, and often is paired with lentils to complete the missing amino acids. Most other grains are missing one or more of these 9 essentials, so quinoa is really a superstar player in comparison.

Other benefits of quinoa include its high fiber profile, its rich source of vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and folate to name a few. Another great perk of quinoa is its low glycemic index, making it an excellent source of complex carbs to keep blood sugar levels stable and provide the body with sustainable energy.

For Your Picky Eaters…

This salad has a lot of layers and components to it, which makes it a lovely summer afternoon lunch, and makes a great Shabbat afternoon side (just drop the cheese). But the other great thing about this salad is that the quinoa itself is bursting with flavor. I make a huge pot of this “yellow” quinoa each week and keep it in my fridge to add to salads, or as a side to any dinner or lunch. My picky eater loves it a) because its majorly flavorful from all the spices and b) because she loves that we change it to “yellow” quinoa. Little changes to food really get kids excited. Ask them if they want to help you turn your quinoa yellow next time you make it. You’ll be so surprised to see how excited they’ll be to try it! You can totally use the same spices to morph your rice or any other grain for that matter. It’s really one of the best tools to get your picky eaters more interested in trying. And added perk is that turmeric in general has great nutritional benefits (a really great anti-inflammatory! mood booster and immunity fighting little gem!)

Notable Products

Nothing too out of the ordinary in this salad. Every ingredient can be found in your local supermarket, but there is one ingredient that I personally like to buy on iHerb and really elevates this dish. Truth be told you can make your own Italian seasoning blend, but I love Simple Organic’s Italian Seasoning blend, and I find this spice super useful whenever I am making Italian dressing, marinating chicken, making a pasta salad or even just topping a fresh Caprese salad. So find this a worthy ingredient to have around.

If you end up making this salad, I’d love to hear how it went over with your family! Feel free to send Fresh Sabara an email, IG DM or FB message.

About Me

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I’m Liat, a certified yoga instructor and dietician in training. My goal is to help you navigate healthy living here in Israel with recipes and tips that will show you just how doable healthy eating can be without sacrificing the dishes that you love! Happy navigating fellow fresh sabras xoxo

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Servings: four

Ingredients

For the "Yellow" Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp parika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder

For Salad Assembly:
1 handful baby spinach, chopped
4-6 sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/8 cup kalimata olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup goat's feta (or goats cheese)
1 small eggplant roasted or grilled (optional)

For the Roasted Eggplant:
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil

Dressing:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp coarse salt
freshly ground pepper

Instructions

If you are including the eggplant in this salad (highly recommend), I'd suggest getting it in the oven right away so that it can roast while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Here's what I do:

1. Preheat oven to 260 degrees C
2. Combine 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp coarse salt and 1 garlic clove minced
3. Halve the eggplant and rub the spice rub on the inside of each half
4. Brush with a high smoke point oil on both skin and flesh side of each half
5. Roast in the preheated oven flesh side down for 30-40 mins
6. Allow to cool before cubing and adding to the salad

7. Make the yellow quinoa: rinse the quinoa and then place in a pot with 1 1/2 cups of water. add the spices, bring the pot to a boil, and then cover and simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa has a fluffy consistency.

8. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare and chop all the the veggies and cheese. If you are choosing to roast the eggplant, see below for roasting instructions. Set all the salad assembly toppings aside until the quinoa is ready.

9. Prepare the dressing by combining the olive oil, vinegar and spices. Whisk well to combine.

10. Once quinoa is ready, place into a medium salad bowl, top with the additional ingredients, and drizzle with the dressing. Toss and serve.
Optional: top with some fresh parsley.

You might also like…

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Let's keep this short and sweet (no pun intended;) Those of us in Israel right now are feeling major fall fomo. Why is it still 80 degrees outside, and when can we make the switch from cold coffee to hafuchs?! I made the switch already to be honest. I keep telling...

read more
Sweet Potato Thai Curry

Sweet Potato Thai Curry

That fall season is slowly creeping in here. Nights are getting chillier (and make for great running weather!), my morning coffees are slowly switching over to predominantly hot coffees, and I've been eying my sweater shelf now for a few weeks. Can't wait till I get...

read more
Taco Bar Dinner

Taco Bar Dinner

This is a favorite in my house. Everyone loves it because of the versatility involved in these "bowls." All the toppings ensure that every person has option to put together their taco bowl all while ensuring my family is getting in a punch of nutrients into their...

read more