Greek Quinoa Salad

Despite current economic woes, the Greeks got a lot of things right: 

 

1. Democracy
 Thank you, ancient Athens. Thousands of years later, and it’s still a good idea. 
2. Yogurt
 
Once you go Greek, you’ll never go back. 
I go through so much of this creamy, protein-rich delight that I’m considering turning our oven into an incubator and making my own.
3. Architecture
 Trivia time. Who can name the style of the center column?
(Leave your guess as a post comment below for kudos!)

3. The Island of Santorini 
Postcard-worthy image from my trip last May. Enough said.

4. Salad
 Feta, olive, tomato, red onion, and cucumber throw a serious culinary party.
Which brings me to today’s recipe: GREEK QUINOA SALAD.
As previously confessed, I enjoy reliving memories from trips abroad or envisioning new escapes through the food I prepare. This fresh, healthy salad took me right back to a little sidewalk café in Athens where my travel buddies and I enjoyed lunch our first day.
 
Our smiles were even bigger after tasting the Greek salad.

My version of Greek salad is protein-packed, healthy, and easy to prepare. While the addition of quinoa is a departure from the traditional version, it turns what would otherwise be a meal starter into a complete, filling entree. I’ve been bringing it to work for lunch all week, and more than one co-worker has offered to swap me their PB&J for my Greek-inspired grub.
 
 Bright, beautiful ingredients.

P.S. If you’ve never made quinoa or think it is “for health nuts only,” I beg you to reconsider. Both a whole grain and a complete protein, it’s a satisfying, versatile ingredient. Look for it at reasonable prices in your grocery store’s bulk foods section.

And an announcement……

Dear readers, I’d love to hear from you! Bring on your questions, comments, and suggestions. Try a recipe and love it? Hate it? Have ideas for what I should make next? Bring it!

I’m also excited to introduce QUESTION OF THE DAY. Leave your answer as a comment in each post. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

TODAY’S QUESTION OF THE DAY:

What is one of your most memorable meals from a trip?
And a bonus question: Have you ever tried to recreate it?
Greek Quinoa Salad
Athens, here I come…
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 c. uncooked quinoa (makes 3 c. once prepared)
  • 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 c. red onion, chopped
  • 4 T. (about 1 oz.) sliced black olives
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 4 oz. feta cheese
  • 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 T. red wine vinegar
  • 3 T. fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
  • 1/2 T. lemon zest (about 1/2 medium lemon)
  • 1/2 T. freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
 
With tomatoes this tempting, how can it NOT be tasty?
Directions
  1. Prepare quinoa: 
    • Place quinoa in a sieve or strainer, then rinse under cool water for about two minutes, swishing the quinoa with your hand. This removes any of the outer coating that can leave a bitter taste.
    • Place quinoa and bay leaf in a medium sauce pan. Add chicken or vegetable broth, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. 
    • Remove from heat completely and let stand, covered, for 5 additional minutes. Discard bay leaf and fluff quinoa with fork. Cool completely.
  2. Place cooled quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Stir in chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, olives, garlic. Gently stir in feta and parsley (I found that a large spoon works great for this).
  3. In a small bowl, combine red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour over salad and carefully stir in to coat salad. Season with black pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
 Opa!