Mediterranean Quinoa Salad – Vegan + Gluten Free

Salad season is upon us! Through the late spring and summer, I love nothing more than a delicious and unique salad with or as dinner. Anyone out there who doesn’t have central A/C understands the desire to leave the oven off as much as possible as the mercury rises. Luckily, I have a pretty decent collection of go-to salads for summer weeknight meals that also double as great dishes to bring along to barbecues. Today’s recipe is one I’ve made a few times now, and its already proved its versatility. I’ve eaten it as a dip with hummus + pita chips, as a side salad, as a main course with chicken, and for breakfast with a fried egg and avocado — you truly can do so many things with this one salad.

So whats in it? Nothing fancy really. With the tomato, cucumber and an abundance of parsley stealing most of the show in this one, the quinoa rounds the salad out nicely, adding some bulk and substance to it.

This recipe requires no pre-mixing of a dressing. I added the lemon and olive oil straight to the bowl, but if thats not your style, you could certainly mix it in a separate bowl. I personally love to add olive oil straight to a recipe because it helps me eye ball the right quantity. I find it pretty annoying to make a dressing, pour it over and realize you didn’t make enough. Certainly for most dressings it is necessary to premix, but here it is not, so why create an extra step?

The quantities of the ingredients are ballpark figures as there is no harm in adding more or less of the different ingredients depending on your own taste. If you love tomatoes, go crazy with tomatoes! If you love cucumber, chop up an entire cucumber! Thanks to the heartiness of parsley, this salad keeps well for 2 or 3 days. I personally haven’t let it stay in the fridge any longer than that, and probably wouldn’t advise it.

So keep on scrolling down for the delicious details on this plant-based goodness and get ready to serve this along side any of your weeknight dinners, or make a ahead for taking along as a work lunch!

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Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 cup tomatos, diced (I used 1/2 package of grape tomatoes quartered)
  • 1 packed cup parsley, chopped (about 3/4 of one standard sized bunch)
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup green onion, sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon (or 1/4 cup of lemon juice)
  • +/- 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 dashes of paprika

Directions:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package then remove from heat and let cool for at least 15 minutes, occasionally stirring to release steam.
  2. While the quinoa cools, dice your tomatoes and cucumber, slice the scallions and chop the parsley.
  3. Place the veggies into a mixing bowl, add the cooled quinoa and lightly mix.
  4. Squeeze the lemon juice onto the quinoa + veggie mixture and add a generous amount of olive oil.
  5. Add sea salt, black pepper, and paprika and mix well until veggies are evenly coated.
  6. Taste and add more lemon, olive oil or seasonings as desired.
  7. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Quick tip: If you’re crunched for time, you can speed the cooling the quinoa by placing it into the fridge of freezer. Additionally, you could use pre-made quinoa to truly make this a 5-minute recipe.
Substitutions: If you don’t love lemon juice you could use apple cider vinegar instead, but  then I would suggest serving and eating immediately. You could also sub red onions for the scallions. If you want to make this Paleo or Whole30 friendly, simply omit the quinoa and it will still be a delicious and fragrant salad.
Thanks for taking the time to check this out! As always, I truly enjoy your feedback. If you give this a try, let me know what you think. You can always comment below or share to your instagram and tag @mindingmysoul!
Happy, Healthy Living! – Megan