Mediterranean Quinoa Salad:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional for added flavor)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the quinoa under cold water to remove any bitter coating. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan with a lid, and let the quinoa simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the water is absorbed. The quinoa is done when it becomes translucent and the germ ring around the seed becomes visible. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let it cool to room temperature.
While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the vegetables. Wash and dice the cucumber, halve the cherry tomatoes, dice the red bell pepper, and thinly slice the red onion. Also, pit and halve the Kalamata olives and chop the fresh parsley.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, diced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, diced red bell pepper, sliced red onion, halved Kalamata olives, and chopped parsley. Toss everything together gently to mix the ingredients evenly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. This will be the dressing for the salad.
Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and toss until everything is well coated with the dressing. Make sure all the ingredients are combined thoroughly.
If desired, sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese on top of the salad for added flavor and creaminess.
Serve the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad immediately, or refrigerate it for a few hours to let the flavors meld together and serve it chilled.
This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is not only delicious but also packed with fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats, making it a perfect choice for a balanced and nutritious meal. Enjoy!