A dear friend of mine recently came across a manager’s special for red quinoa and bought the store out. She is gluten free and loves the natural proteins that quinoa provides her body. However, she was NOT in love with the red quinoa when she made it.
So, she gifted a bag to me and said, “Work your magic.” Well, thank you for the vote of confidence, but to make a dish that pleased a person who had a less than pleasant experience with a food, is a daunting task.
So, onto the quinoa. The first thing I know about quinoa, any variety, is that it is extremely bland and if made with just water, is not at all appealing. I love quinoa, but only when it is amped up with flavors.
So I took a look around my kitchen and noted that I had many Greek ingredients around my house that were just begging to be used up–the parsley was not going to last much longer, nor would the roasted red peppers I had leftover from a previous meal. Perfect, Greek food is loaded with flavors that lend especially well to grains.
So that was my inspiration and in a short time I had created this salad which I loved:
But now the moment of truth…..I needed to wow my friend, so that she could put the remainder of her red quinoa to work.
The next day, I brought her the salad to lunch and she very much enjoyed it!! That was true success.
So try this salad out for a healthy lunch, hearty vegetarian dinner, or as a side to some grilled chicken. And feel free to use any variety of quinoa you prefer–they will all work with the Greek flavor profile.
- 1 cup dried quinoa
- 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 large roasted red pepper, diced
- ¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ½ cup feta cheese (omit to keep dairy free)
- 1 large English cucumber, diced
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 minced garlic glove
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Cook the quinoa in the chicken broth, according to the package instructions. It is usually about 20 minutes of simmering, after it comes to a boil. Allow quinoa to cool.
- In the meantime, prepare the dressing by blending the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Once quinoa is cooled to room temperature, pour the dressing over the cooked quinoa and add the remaining ingredients.