This healthy Greek Quinoa Salad is an easy-to-make, protein-packed, crowd-pleasing recipe filled with Mediterranean flavors.
This light and refreshing quinoa salad starts with perfectly cooked Instant Pot Quinoa, then is dressed to perfection with briny olives, sweet tomatoes, salty feta, and a Homemade Greek Dressing.
Quinoa is a staple at my house, as it cooks up fast, is loaded with protein and fiber, and can be served in endless ways.
While I love to use quinoa in place of rice or to make Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili and Quinoa Burgers, my favorite way to enjoy quinoa happens to be in a salad, like Quinoa Spinach Salad, Mexican Quinoa Salad, and this Greek Quinoa Salad.
From the salty feta to the sweet roasted peppers to the briny olives to the tangy dressing, the quinoa is dressed to perfection to create an insanely flavorful quinoa salad.
why you will love this quinoa salad
- Nutritious. This quinoa salad is high in plant-based protein, full of fiber, low in fat, and features tons of nutrients.
- Perfect for Potlucks. This flavorful Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is always a crowd-pleasing dish. It also happens to travel well and can be made several days in advance, making it perfect for entertaining.
- Great for Meal-Prep. I often make a big batch of this Greek Quinoa Salad on a Sunday and enjoy lunch for the week. Not only is it nutritious and keeps me full for hours, but it also packs well and can be enjoyed both cold or at room temperature.
- Allergy-Friendly. This salad is gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, and soy-free, and can easily be made dairy-free by leaving out the feta.
Notes on Ingredients
- Quinoa: This recipe can be made with white quinoa, red quinoa, or multi-colored quinoa. While this recipe walks you through how to prepare dry quinoa, you can also throw this salad together quickly using leftover chilled quinoa.
- Greek Dressing: The dressing is made with red wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, dried herbs, and capers. It is tangy, vibrant, and fresh. Don't be intimidated by the capers! Because the dressing is blended, the capers will not overwhelm the dressing, instead, they just add a nice briny flavor.
- Feta: The addition of feta cheese is optional. While crumbled feta adds a nice salty, creamy flavor, feel free to omit it to keep this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
- Olives: I strongly recommend using Kalamative olives, rather than Spanish olives or black olives, as they impart the most authentic Greek flavor to the salad.
- Cucumber & Tomatoes: Cucumbers and tomatoes add a nice fresh touch to the quinoa salad. I recommend using a seedless or English cucumber and grape or cherry tomatoes for the best texture and flavor. Keep in mind that if using a regular cucumber or vine-ripened tomatoes, you will want to remove the seeds from them to keep the salad from becoming watered-down.
- Parsley: Use flat-leaf or curly parsley to impart fresh flavor to the salad.
- Optional Additions: Feel free to use your imagination and pick and choose any vegetables and herbs you like for this Quinoa Salad. I love to also add roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts for an additional Mediterranean flavor. Diced red onions, pickled red onions, or Giardiniera.
How to Make Greek Quinoa Salad
Step One: Prepare Quinoa
To cook the quinoa, you can opt to simmer it on the stovetop or use my method for Instant Pot Quinoa. I prefer using the instant pot method, as it is a bit faster and hands-off, but I have included instructions in the recipe card for both methods.
- Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse really well. Don't skip this step. Rinsing the quinoa will rid it of its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter.
- Simmer the quinoa on the stove until tender and fluffy or prepare quinoa using the Instant Pot.
- Once the quinoa has cooked, fluff it with a fork, to separate the grains. Fluffing the quinoa with a fork will help to keep the quinoa and keep it light and fluffy.
- Set it aside and allow the quinoa to cool slightly while you prepare the dressing.
Step Two: Prepare Greek Dressing
While you can use a store-bought Greek dressing, this recipe for homemade Greek dressing comes together in minutes and is much more flavorful.
- Place the red wine vinegar, capers, garlic, olive oil, and seasonings into a blender or mini food processor and blend or process until well combined and the capers are broken down.
Step Three: Dress Quinoa
Before the quinoa is cooled fully, I like to dress it with a portion of the Greek dressing. The slightly warm quinoa will absorb the dressing immediately, flavoring the quinoa from the inside out.
- Once the quinoa is cooled slightly, pour half of the dressing over the quinoa and toss to coat.
- At this point, allow the quinoa to cool fully to room temperature, or transfer it to the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before adding the remaining ingredients.
Step Four: Assemble Greek Quinoa Salad
As soon as the quinoa is at room temperature, you can add in the remaining dressing, herbs, cheese,
- Once the quinoa is cooled, add in the remaining dressing, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers.
- Toss everything together until the ingredients are well distributed throughout the quinoa.
- At this point, it is best to cover the quinoa salad and chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- When ready to serve, give the salad a good stir and then sprinkle with feta cheese if using.
This Greek Quinoa Salad can be assembled and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I love dividing the salad into individual serving dishes for quick lunches perfect for on-the-go or workdays.
- Vegan-Friendly: Leave the feta cheese off this Greek Quinoa Salad, and it becomes dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
- Add More Protein: To really amp up the protein in this Quinoa Salad, add diced-up Greek Chicken or canned, rinsed chickpeas to the salad.
- Change up the Dressing: Instead of dressing this quinoa salad with homemade Greek dressing, keep it simple and dress the salad with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and a good pinch of salt.
More Hearty & Flavorful Salad Recipes
If you enjoyed this simple Greek Quinoa Salad, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Greek Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup dried quinoa
- water for cooking quinoa see instructions
For the Quinoa Salad
- 1 large roasted red pepper diced
- ¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1 large English cucumber diced
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup artichoke hearts chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup feta cheese optional
For the Greek Dressing
- 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
- 1 tablespoon capers
Stovetop Quinoa Instructions
- Combine the quinoa and salt with 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Place a lid on the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered for 10 more minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Instant Pot Quinoa
- Combine the quinoa and salt with 1 cup of water in the inner pot of the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for 1 minute. Allow the pressure to release naturally on its own for at least 10 minutes. Open the pressure cooker and fluff with a fork.
- While the quinoa is cooling, prepare the dressing by placing the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper into a blender or food processor and blending until the capers are broken down and well combined.
- Once the quinoa is cooled slightly (about 10 minutes), pour half the dressing over the cooked quinoa and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Once the quinoa has reached room temperature, pour the remaining salad dressing over the quinoa. Add in the cucumbers, feta, olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, roasted peppers, and parsley. Toss together until everything is well distributed.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to come together.