Today’s recipe is a Zesty Quinoa Salad with Greek flavors and a lemon vinaigrette. It’s gluten-free and is a healthy versatile dish that is easy to make ahead of time. Read on for all the details.
Picnic season is here. Potlucks, grill night, get-togethers, beach/pool days, etc. I love a good cold salad recipe to bring along or make ahead so that we can enjoy getting outside or hanging out with friends and this zesty quinoa salad is perfect. I mean, who wants to stand over a hot stove/oven for ages when it’s hot outside? With this, there’s no worry about that, plus, it’s really easy to make an extra large batch for a large crowd.
This quinoa salad is very similar to the pasta salads that are really popular this time of year. However, it is gluten free and the quinoa changes it up enough to make it stand out from the crowd of pasta dishes.
We use the ingredients that you would find in a typical “Greek salad” in a restaurant–cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and feta. These are flavors we really love together and who doesn’t enjoy a good Greek salad? But we did skip the red onion, which is also a traditional ingredient in Greek salad. I sometimes find it a little overpowering on salads so I usually skip it. Or, I’ll soak it in the vinegar/lemon mix for at least 10 minutes before mixing it into the salad. You can decide what option works best for you.
Zesty Vinaigrette Dressing
After mixing the quinoa and main salad ingredients, we use a vinaigrette with lemon and fresh oregano from our garden. This really packs a nice additional flavor punch which led to us calling this a Zesty Quinoa Salad. The flavors really do pop!
We planted the oregano last year and tried it out on our Greek pizza and loved it (I told you we loved Greek flavors). Since our oregano came back this year we’ve been enjoying it in things like chimichurri and it was perfect for our zesty vinaigrette. We’re looking for more recipes to use it in and we’ll probably be testing out this recipe for broiled tomatoes with feta and fresh oregano.
We are big fans of feta and do not follow a vegan diet, however, it would be really easy to skip the feta or put it in a separate bowl on the side if you are looking for a vegan, gluten-free crowd-pleaser or for something for those that have dietary restrictions. I have always been a fan of grilled meat, but due to issues now where I can’t have beef or pork, it’s nice to have some other options to enjoy.
Zesty Greek Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
A cold quinoa salad with the typical toppings for a greek salad mixed in with a lemon vinaigrette. Perfect cold salad side for picnics or grill nights.
For the vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 shallot
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp oregano fresh chopped
For the salad
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 2 cups cucumber chopped
- 4 oz feta crumbled
- 1 cup olives sliced
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa cooked according to directions
Cook quinoa according to package instructions or follow our Instant Pot quinoa instructions.
Place shallot in lemon juice and vinegar while waiting for quinoa to cook or at least 10 minutes.
Add the rest of the dressing ingredients to shallot/lemon/vinegar mixture and whisk.
Once quinoa is cooked, let cool slightly, then mix in dressing and all salad ingredients and stir.
Chill for at least an hour or overnight.