Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

Posted on 30 May 2011 | 4 comments | share this

This salad was inspired by a trip to the Kitsilano farmers’ market on Sunday morning. We came home with an armload of lovely cherry tomatoes, red and orange peppers, cucumber and fresh mint and were in need of a quick lunch before heading out for the afternoon. This salad is very simple and comes together quickly for a grain salad. It has a beautiful fresh flavour with the herbs and lemon juice and can be easily adapted to whatever you have on hand or to what’s in season.

In this part of the world it is still much too cool for summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. Thankfully there are growers using greenhouses to get a jump on some of these crops. While I prefer to eat field ripened vegetables when I can, at this time of year it is nice to have a little more variety with the help of greenhouse growing. I couldn’t resist these beautiful cherry tomatoes from Celyddon Farm, as well as their peppers and cucumbers.

This salad keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days and is perfect for picnics or to have on hand for lunches or snacks. It is also nice as a side dish with grilled chicken or lamb. When tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are not in season, I like to add roasted vegetables like squash or yams, onions and sprinkle on some toasted pumpkin seeds.  Other tasty options are spinach, arugula, zucchini, broccoli, sauteed kale, beans, nuts or seeds. You could also experiment with different nut oils like hazelnut or walnut or other citrus like orange.

I also love a nice goat or sheep feta crumbled over the top for a bit of creamy richness. If you are not going to eat all of the salad right away, I would suggest adding the mint when you serve it as it doesn’t keep very well and tends to brown.

Happy cooking!

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes and Fresh Herbs

This salad was inspired by a recipe from InspireHealth, an integrated cancer care centre where I teach cooking classes on occasion. Use whatever herbs you have or like and whatever vegetables are in season. In the winter months I like to use roasted squash/yams, roasted red onion and toasted pumpkin seeds. Other great additions are zucchini, sauteed kale, broccoli, nuts, seeds or beans. This salad also keeps well in the fridge for a quick lunch or snack.

Serves 3-4

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed well and drained

1 1/2 cups water

3 – 4 green onions or a handful of chives, finely chopped

1 bunch fresh parsley or cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 an English cucumber, diced

1 small bell pepper, diced

1 pint of cherry tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 small lemon, juiced

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small clove garlic, pressed or finely minced

Salt and pepper to taste


Optional:

1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped

Feta cheese, crumbled and sprinkled over salad

Place the rinsed quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and cover with a lid. Bring up to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking with the lid on until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit for 5 – 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, finely chop the green onions, parsley/cilantro, bell pepper and cucumber and place in a large bowl. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. If using large tomatoes, chop into bite sized pieces and add to the bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

When the quinoa is cool, add to the large bowl with the herbs and veggies.  Pour over the dressing and stir to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning. You may like to add a bit more lemon juice, olive oil or salt and pepper. If using, sprinkle each serving with feta and mint.

Note: If you are not going to eat all of the salad the first day, leave the mint out as it tends to brown. Feel free to rip some up fresh when you serve the salad.


Comments

  • Hi Melissa,

    Just wanted to let you know that you have a lovely blog. This salad of yours looks so vibrant and so full of nutrition. I would be thrilled to follow you 🙂

  • Hi Nishi,

    Thank you. Yes this salad certainly is packed with nutrition and lots of great flavour.

    Enjoy.

  • beautiful shots!! we are on the same wavelength!

  • KMS- I love your site and photos. Your quinoa salad looks fantastic, can’t wait for cherries to be in season here to try it out.

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