This Mediterranean quinoa salad is nourishing and full of flavor and fresh vegetables. Tossed in a refreshing and tangy lemon herb dressing, this salad is a crowd-pleaser and perfect on its own or as a side. Make it for potlucks, picnics, barbeques, or work tomorrow.
If you’re looking for a salad that’s not only filling and hearty but also tastes great the next day (because let’s be honest, most of us don’t have the time to make three meals a day even if we wanted to), this Mediterranean quinoa salad will amaze you. It’s nourishing and packed with Mediterranean flavor – hello cherry tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, kalamata olives, red onions, and so much more.
The fresh herbs boost the flavor while the lemon herb dressing adds tanginess and more flavor. This salad has become a staple in my kitchen and one I find myself coming back to again and again.
How to Cook the Quinoa
The quinoa creates the base of this Mediterranean quinoa salad. It’s easy, filling, and tastes great with almost anything. It’s convenient to make a big batch and add to salads, soups, bowls, and other dishes.
While I love quinoa today, it took a while for me to get it right. When I first started cooking quinoa, it would always overcook (not enough water) or come out too watery. It was only after a few times of making it did I realize the temperature I was cooking it at was too high or I wasn’t cooking it long enough.
So if you’re new to cooking quinoa, here are a few pointers:
- Always rinse the quinoa with water for a couple minutes. Rinsing the quinoa removes its natural coating (called saponin) which makes it taste bitter or appear soapy.
- Make sure you’re adding enough water when cooking. One cup of uncooked quinoa requires two cups of water.
- You want to bring the water and quinoa to a boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for a good 15-20 minutes before turning off the heat.
- Before you store the quinoa, be sure to let it completely cool down.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with a Lemon Herb Dressing
The lemon herb dressing for this Mediterranean quinoa salad takes a few minutes to make. It’s made with easy ingredients (lemon, mint, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper). It’s so delicious I use it for a variety of my salads and bowls. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days so I usually double up on the ingredients and make extras.
Make ahead and store for later
This salad is a great candidate for weekday lunches and easy make-ahead dinners as it tastes great the next day. Serve chilled or slightly warm. I enjoy prepping the grains ahead of time so it’s quick to pull together.
If you do decide to prep this in advance, be sure to hold off on adding the avocado and dressing until it’s time to eat to avoid brown avocado and a mushy texture.
This salad can be stored in a glass air-tight container for a few days.
More salad recipes
- Pesto Pasta Salad
- Strawberry Arugula Salad
- Tomato Heirloom Salad
- Italian Potato Salad
- Kale Citrus Salad
- Citrus Avocado Salad
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup snap peas, chopped
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup diced red pepper
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- Prepare the dressing. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix.
- Prepare the salad. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, vegetables, and remaining ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss the salad. Serve immediately.