Super Working Moms’ Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
I guess you can say I joined the bandwagon early during the quinoa craze. A girlfriend of mine made a quinoa salad for a baby shower that I thought was to die for. The salad included quinoa (and that great texture that this grain provides), cranberries, walnuts, green beans, garlic and green onions with a balsamic vinaigrette–“white” balsamic, that is! Turns out my friend’s mother tried variations of the recipe too, and insistently whispered in my ear at the baby shower that WHITE balsamic was the best vinegar to use since it didn’t turn the quinoa an unappetizing brown color.
The quality that I like best about this recipe was first, the texture of the quinoa. Nutty, chewy and filling. I also like the balance of the sweet cranberries with the light tartness of the balsamic.
Since tasting and trying out that recipe myself, I decided to put another twist on a quinoa salad that aligns with my love for Mediterranean food. It still has that great texture and tang but features Mediterranean ingredients such as low-fat feta cheese, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, red peppers and green onions with a lemon and extra virgin olive oil dressing. You can make it for dinner and serve it warm, and then eat it cold the next day for a healthy and filling lunch at work. Yum! After all, quinoa is considered a super protein food and you deserve super ’cause you’re a SUPER working mom.
The ingredients for the Super Working Mom’s Mediterranean Quinoa Salad are:
- Two cups of quinoa, any type
- Four cups of water
- 1 cup of reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
- 15 cherry tomatoes
- One cucumber, peeled, sliced lengthwise and quartered
- 1 medium red pepper
- 4 green onions finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of chopped kalamata olives
- Juice of 1 medium lemon and zest of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
First, boil the water, add the quinoa to the pot and stir. Turn the heat down to medium-low and place a lid on top. Cook the quinoa for about 12- 15 minutes. When the water is completely dissipated, turn the heat off and let the quinoa sit and cool without the lid. Fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, chop the green onions, red pepper, cucumber and olives, and slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
Next, make the dressing in a bowl by whisking together the olive oil and lemon juice with oregano, salt and pepper until emulsified. Add the lemon zest for an extra lemony kick.
When the quinoa has cooled and is no longer warm to the touch, add all of the ingredients and toss together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve this in place of your starch side dish for a high-protein dinner to serve your family, and save the left-over salad just for you to savor the next day at work. You know, ’cause anything that is SUPER is okay by me.