I love a good quinoa salad. This one was inspired by a dish I had in Lisbon, Portugal. Quinoa is tossed with olives, pickled onions and lemony dressing, then topped with roasted spring vegetables and feta cheese. This is a great lunch salad for vegetable lovers and a perfect side dish for summer barbecues, picnics, potlucks and parties.
The food in Portugal was all-around spectacular with lots of fresh fish and seafood, amazing caldo verde, and a wonderful quinoa salad loaded with vegetables, that I wanted to recreate as soon as I got back home. I especially loved the surprise of the salty briny green olives and pickled onions mixed in with the quinoa.
By the way, the pickled red onions are surprisingly easy to make and they last for a couple of weeks in the fridge. They add delicious vinegary crunch to everything from burgers to enchiladas. So you might consider making a double batch.
What is Quinoa anyway?
Quinoa is a curiosity. It seems like a grain but it's not. Here are a few fun facts about quinoa:
- Quinoa is a seed, not a grain, and contains no gluten.
- Quinoa is an excellent source of high quality plant-based protein. It contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
- Quinoa is similar in calories and fiber to brown rice but contains significantly more protein, vitamins and micronutrients.
- Quinoa is a good source of vitamins and minerals, in particular: iron, thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and folate
How To Make This Quinoa Salad
This is a great dish for improvisation. Use your favorite veggies or whatever looks good at the market. I chose thin asparagus, baby carrots, tender stem broccoli and zucchini. Sugar snap peas, baby Brussels sprouts and spring onions would work well here, too.
- Make the Vinaigrette: Whisk up olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
- Cook the Quinoa: Follow the package instructions, adding a pinch or two of salt to the water. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl to cool.
- Pickle The Onions: Combine vinegar, sugar, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour over sliced red onions. Allow them to cool for 15-20 minutes while you roast the veggies.
- Roast the Vegetables: Toss the veggies with olive oil, season them with salt and pepper, and roast them at 400ºF or 20-25 minutes, until they are just tender but still have their bright color and some crunch. This can be done a few hours ahead.
- Assemble this salad: In a large bowl, toss the cooked quinoa, pickled onions, olives and chopped arugula (if using)with the vinaigrette. Top with roasted veggies and toss again. Transfer the salad to a platter and sprinkle generously with feta.
More hearty, veggie-packed salad recipes to try
- Out of This World Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Rice Salad
- Lemony Pasta with Summer Vegetables
- Thai Noodle Salad Bowls with Spicy Peanut Dressing
Here's the recipe for roasted vegetable quinoa salad with feta. If you try this recipe I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think.Print