Quinoa with Tomatoes, Cucumber, Parsley and Mint
I’M BACK!!!! I’m back from vacation and back to reality! Yay 🙁 I love vacations (I mean really, who doesn’t love a good vacation). I love playing and bonding with family and friends, exploring new places, as well as having a break from the routine of life, and the routine of cooking and cleaning! Vacations are great until they end, and then you have to leave paradise and get back to reality! YUCK! The one and only thing I love about returning from vacation is getting back to my kitchen and cooking and eating healthy again. The first thing I made up when we returned was my favorite kale salad, (of course) and this summer quinoa salad. I ate this up for lunch and felt like myself again!
This is the perfect healthy summer salad! It’s chock-full of fresh herbs, cucumbers and tomatoes, which are at their ripest in the summer months. I used heirloom tomatoes for this recipe, and let me tell you, this salad was BURSTING FULL OF FLAVOR! I might even say that it was a bit better the next day when all of the flavors had a chance to meld together!
Zoe and I ate this salad along with my kale salad, as a pre-vacation cleanse, as well as a post-vacation cleanse. We were on a quinoa and kale cleanse, you might say! We were even rebels and mixed the kale salad in with the quinoa salad! Oh yeah, living on the edge! Eli on the other hand ate some pasta! He’s not the biggest fan of quinoa, but that’s ok, I’ll break him into quinoa at some point, I hope!
This is the perfect salad for a summer lunch, side dish for dinner, as well as the quintessential salad to bring to your next potluck or picnic. It’s easy to whip up, and can be made a day ahead! Awesome!
I paired this salad for dinner one night with some avocado toast topped with an heirloom tomato, and it was pure perfection. Easy peasy meatless meal!
quinoa with tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and mint:
recipe adapted from Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook Ina Garten Make it Ahead
- 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed – I love this brand of quinoa from Ancient Harvest, as it’s pre-rinsed.
- 2 teaspoons fine kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (approx 1 large bunch) – I used about 3/4 cup
- 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 large bunch) – I used about 3/4 cup
- 6 scallions, thinly sliced – white and green parts only
- 1 cucumber or 6 small Persian cucumbers, unpeeled, seeded and medium diced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved, or 3-4 medium heirloom tomatoes cut into small chunks- I used heirloom tomatoes
- 8-ounces feta cheese
Bring the 1 cup well rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a small sauce pan.
Once the quinoa has come to a boil, give it a stir, cover it and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook the quinoa until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Note: If you’re using another brand of quinoa, please check the package for cooking instructions as they all vary.
The quinoa is done when it’s tender and you can see the little quinoa curlicues.
While the quinoa is cooking, squeeze the 1/4 cup lemon juice and chop up the parsley, mint, scallions, cucumber & tomatoes.
In a small bowl mix together the cooked quinoa, the 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil and the 1 teaspoon salt.
Put the chopped parsley, mint, scallions, cucumber & tomatoes into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt and some ground pepper to taste, and toss to combine.
Add the quinoa mixture to the chopped veggies and mix well.
Taste the salad and add more salt and pepper to taste. If serving up right away then add a bit of feta cheese to taste. I’ve had this salad without feta and it was great!
Serve the salad at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold. I usually make this up ahead and serve it cold, and then add the feta cheese to taste right before serving.
MAKE AHEAD: If you’re making this salad up ahead of time, I would recommend preparing the salad without the feta, and then folding it in right before you serve it up!
Cover the salad and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Feel free to play around with this combination and add some diced red peppers, green beans and chicken if you’re craving some meat!
Let me know what tweaks and combinations you come up with!