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. I’ve used them in other dishes. They add good crunch and zesty flavor and they’re a pretty color too.
QUINOA SALAD WITH ROASTED VEGGIES – HOW TO MAKE IT
- The idea here is to choose delicate vegetables that don’t need a lot of time in the oven.
- I chose thin asparagus, baby carrots, tender stem broccoli and zucchini.
- This is a great dish for improvisation. Use your favorite veggies or whatever looks good at the market.
- Sugar snap peas, baby brussels sprouts and spring onions would work well here, too.
The vegetables can be roasted a few hours ahead of time. They’ll be delicious at room temperature.
To roast the veggies, toss them with a little olive oil, season them with salt and pepper, and cook in a 400ºF oven for 20-25 minutes, until they are just tender but still have their bright color and some crunch.
The dressing, made from olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, adds a bright tasty splash to the quinoa that goes beautifully with the delicate fresh flavors of the vegetables.
To assemble this salad, put the cooked quinoa, pickled onions, olives and chopped arugula (if using) in a big bowl and toss with dressing. Then top with roasted veggies.
And toss again.
Transfer the mixture to a platter and sprinkle generously with feta.
This quinoa salad is delicious warm or at room temperature.
WANT TO DO SOME OF THE PREP WORK AHEAD? Here’s what you can prepare up to a day in advance:
- Cook the quinoa and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before eating.
- Make the dressing and store it, covered, in the fridge. Bring to room temp before using.
- Make the pickled onions, drain them and store them, covered, in the fridge.
- Slice the olives and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge.
- Chop the feta and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to make the salad, all you have left to do is roast the vegetables, chop the arugula (if using) and toss everything together
Here are a few facts worth knowing 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
IN THE MOOD FOR MORE HEARTY SALADS WITH LOTS OF VEGETABLES? Here a few of my favorites:
- 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.
Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables and Feta
A hearty roasted vegetable quinoa salad that makes a good vegetarian lunch or a lovely side dish for barbecues, picnics, potlucks or parties. Easily made vegan by omitting the feta cheese.
- Prep Time: 25 min
- Cook Time: 25 min
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4-5 1x
- Category: Side dish, Salad
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: Mediterannean
- 1 cup raw quinoa, rinsed
For the Quick Pickled Onions:
- 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For The Vegetables:
- 1 bunch of thin asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 bunch of tender stem broccoli (broccolini)
- 1 small bunch slender young carrots, peeled and trimmed.*
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For The Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- several grinds of fresh ground black pepper
- 3–4 handfuls of arugula roughly chopped (about one cup, packed), optional
- 3/4 cup of pitted green olives, sliced or quartered
- 2 ounces (or more, to taste) of good quality feta cheese, roughly chopped or crumbled (1/2 cup)
Equipment: One or two rimmed baking sheets (veggies need to spread out in a single layer)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Cook the Quinoa: cook per package instructions, adding a pinch or two of salt to the water. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl to cool, so it doesn’t overcook in the hot pot.
Make The Quick Pickled Red Onions: Place the sliced onions in a heat-proof bowl. In a small saucepan bring the vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot liquid over the onions and let them steep and cool for 15-20 minutes. Drain and add to the bowl with the quinoa.
Roast The Vegetables: Toss the vegetables with 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Spread them out in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Roast in the top and bottom shelves of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender but still retaining some of their crunch, switching the position of the trays after 15 minutes.
Assemble the Salad: To the large bowl with the quinoa and onions, add the olives and arugula (if using). Toss with the dressing. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add the roasted vegetables and toss again. Transfer the salad to a platter and top with feta. Serve warm or at room temperature.
MAKE IT DAIRY FREE/VEGAN: Omit the feta. Still delicious! Garnish with lemon zest or whole green olives, if you like.
SUBSTITUTIONS: If you can’t find baby carrots, you can use regular carrots but look for slim ones. If they’re fatter than 1/2-inch in diameter, slice them in half lengthwise so they cook through in the same amount of time as the other vegetables.
PREP AHEAD: Cook the quinoa up to a day ahead and store in the fridge, covered. Bring to room temp before eating. Prepare the pickled red onions up to a day ahead and store, covered in the fridge. Slice the olives and store in a baggy in the fridge. Make the dressing up to a day ahead and store, covered, in the fridge. Bring to room temp before using.
Keywords: quinoa salad with vegetables, quinoa with roasted vegetables and feta