mediterranean quinoa salad {recipe}

Today I am sharing one of my very favorite recipes with you.  I love myself some quinoa.  It’s high in protein, filled with fiber, quick-cooking, gluten-free and super tasty.  This recipe combines so many flavorful ingredients with the quinoa and is absolutely delicious.  It’s the perfect picnic dish (I brought it to a BBQ in the park last weekend and it was devoured), as it tastes great with any grilled meat.  It would be a great addition to a shower brunch/ lunch buffet, or for any summer menu.  I like to make double and bring leftovers for lunch in the summer.  On a hot day, it’s filling enough on it’s own for a light dinner when served with a mesclun salad.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

2 cups uncooked quinoa

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 1 tsp. zest & 2 Tbs. juice)

½ Tbs. parsley, chopped

1 Tbs. shallots, minced

1 tsp. sherry vinegar

½ tsp. salt (or more to taste)

1 cup (about 10oz) grape tomatoes, halved

½ English cucumber (seedless), chopped

¾ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped

12oz roasted red peppers, chopped (strained of liquid)

¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

Fresh-ground pepper, to taste

1.            Rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear (don’t skip this step – quinoa has a bitter outer layer that you need to rinse off).  Place quinoa and broth in medium saucepan and bring to boil.  Once boiling, cover and reduce heat.  Simmer 15 minutes, or until liquid absorbs into quinoa.  Fluff quinoa with a fork.  Transfer to a medium bowl and cool to room temperature.

2.            Combine olive oil through salt in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.  Add in quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and peppers; toss to combine.  Add in feta, if using.  Can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

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