We learned about quinoa 8 or 9 years ago when we were on a hunt for Passover-friendly alternatives to rice. I remember that it was a struggle to find quinoa in our area and we had to travel to some off-the-beaten path health food store. Health food indeed! I don’t remember what dish we made with the quinoa for that particular Seder, but from that point on, quinoa stuck with us. Heck, out of 100 blog posts (how did THAT happen?!!!) I have more blog posts with quinoa (4) than I do with chicken (0). HA!
Mediterranean Quinoa (with cucumbers, tomatoes, shallots, feta and mint)
I love how it’s simultaneously nutty and light. Love how it easily takes on whatever flavors you add to it. Use it to make burgers as well as salads. Long live flexible quinoa!
While it’s still a staple at our Passover Seder, it has also become a staple in our everyday dinner table as well. This particular dish is awesome during the summer with farm fresh ingredients. Add bell peppers or diced up summer squash… they’ll all work well in this salad. If you love feta, add more… or substitute it with another hearty and salty cheese like ricotta salata.
2 cups of quinoa. I used 1 cup of rainbow quinoa and 1 cup of white quinoa.
Toast the quinoa in the melted butter.
In a moment of delusion, I thought that I could take pictures of each vegetable being chopped…
All ingredients into the bowl! (you’ll have to believe that I cut up the other elements even though I didn’t take a picture of it)
Toss to combine (sorry for the fuzzy picture)
Serve family style…. (if you have leftovers, don’t worry. This salad is delicious on day 2 & 3!!)
Serves 10-12 as a side
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups quinoa
4 cups water (or chicken broth)
1/2 english cucumber, diced
1/2 pint red cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 pint yellow cherry Zima tomatoes, quartered
1 shallot, finely diced
6 ounces feta, cubed
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
juice from 1 lemon (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. In a heavy bottomed pot, melt butter.
2. Add quinoa and lightly toast. Stir to evenly coat all of the kernels with butter. It should start to smell like freshly popped pop corn…
3. Add water or broth and bring to a boil. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt.
4. Turn heat down to low, cover the pot and let simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.
5. While your quinoa simmers, prepare your other ingredients into a large bowl (cucumber, tomatoes, shallots and feta).
6. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Don’t over-salt it because the feta will provide some additional saltiness to the dish.
7. Combine the vegetables, cheese, cooled quinoa, mint and dressing. Toss to combine.
8. Taste and adjust for salt/pepper.
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!