This garden fresh Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Feta and Lemon-Herb Dressing makes a protein-rich summertime meal-in-a-bowl! Combine quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives and fresh basil for a healthy lunch or a side dish for dinner.
This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with fresh garden tomatoes and feta will take you to the sun-drenched beaches of the Greek Islands. It has all the flavours of the Mediterranean in one healthy quinoa salad.
Summer produce is abundant now. Gardens and farm markets are overflowing with cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, fresh herbs and so much more. And what better way to beat the heat than with a nutritious salad made with garden veggies?
I make this vegetarian Mediterranean quinoa salad every summer to take advantage of our usual bumper crop of tomatoes, cucumbers and basil. I add Greek touches with salty Kalamata olives and feta cheese. Topped off with a lemon-herb vinaigrette, this salad makes a tasty summertime meal-in-a-bowl.
This Garden Fresh Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Feta is an ideal salad to take on a picnic, a camping trip, or to a potluck. With no lettuce to wilt, and no mayonnaise to worry about spoiling, it's a salad that will stay fresh, packed up for your next adventure.
It's a salad I've been making for years, with variations depending on what I have on hand. Think of it as a back-pocket salad--one that you can use to round out almost any meal. Need a lunch idea? This salad packs easily (try it in a Mason jar) and it totally satisfies.
Ready to gather ingredients? Here's what you'll need to make this Greek-inspired quinoa salad.
- quinoa: Rinse it thoroughly first in a fine-mesh colander. This step removes the naturally occurring saponins on the outside of the grains which can be bitter.
- cherry tomatoes: or other tomatoes, chopped
- cucumber: seeded and chopped
- red onion: or green onion, if you prefer
- Kalamata olives: pitted and sliced
- feta cheese: crumbled
- fresh basil leaves: chiffonade cut
For the dressing, you'll need
- olive oil, a lemon, white wine or champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, dried thyme and oregano, a garlic clove, salt.
Quinoa is a healthy seed with a complete protein rarely found in plant foods. It's gluten-free and it's an excellent source of iron and fiber, making it a great choice for vegetarian diets.
I make this Red Quinoa Tabouli with Pomegranate and this Nourishing Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Pears in the fall and winter, but today I'm sharing this summer-fresh quinoa salad with you.
Step by Step Instructions
- First, rinse the quinoa.
- While the standard proportions for cooking quinoa are 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, I always have more success when I use a little less water. 1 cup of quinoa will yield 3 cups of cooked quinoa. In this recipe, you'll only need 2 cups, so use ⅔ cup of dry quinoa and 1 ⅓ cups of water.
- Combine it with water and salt in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer gently until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, keep it covered and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then spread out on a baking sheet or tray to cool completely.
- Chop the veggies.
- Combine the Lemon-Herb dressing ingredients in a blender.
- Toss all ingredients together in a bowl.
- Chill until serving time.
While this recipe is best eaten on the day it's made, it will stay fresh for 2 - 3 days when kept covered in the fridge. Basil bruises easily, so add it just before serving.
Make it your own!
Add chopped cooked chicken (or shredded rotisserie chicken).
Keep it vegetarian by adding canned and rinsed chickpeas.
Add spinach or arugula leaves.
Top with cubed or sliced avocado.
Keep it paleo by leaving out the feta cheese.
This Mediterranean quinoa salad is delicious with either of the following dishes.
More quinoa salad ideas
in the fall, you'll love Nourishing Quinoa Salad with Cranberries and Pears or Red Quinoa Tabouli with Pomegranate
Garden Fresh Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- ⅔ cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- 1 ⅓ cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 4 - 6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut, for garnish
Lemon Herb Vinaigrette Ingredients
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil, extra virgin
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 clove garlic , finely minced, or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 pinch sea salt
- First, cook the quinoa. While the standard proportions for cooking quinoa are 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, I ALWAYS have more success when I use a little less water. 1 cup of quinoa will yield 3 cups of cooked quinoa. In this recipe, you'll only need 2 cups, so use ⅔ cup of dry quinoa and 1 ⅓ cups of water. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh colander, then combine with water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer gently until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, keep it covered and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then spread out on a baking sheet or tray to cool completely.
- Combine the Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette ingredients in a blender.
- Chop or slice the tomatoes, cucumber, olives and red onion .
- In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta cheese and red onion.
- Toss with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette and garnish with fresh basil.
- Add chopped cooked chicken (or shredded rotisserie chicken).
- Keep it vegetarian by adding chickpeas.
- Add spinach or arugula leaves.
- Top with cubed or sliced avocado.
- Keep it paleo by leaving out the feta cheese.
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