Lately, Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy and I can’t get enough of those Greek-style pasta salads they sell at the grocery deli.
All those bright, crisp flavors of lemon, tomato, cucumber, and fresh herbs are so perfect and irresistible during the warm weather months.
So this weekend I decided to do my own homemade Greek-style salad, but I boosted the nutrition level by using quinoa instead of white pasta.
It’s a very quick and easy, tasty little dish.
Also this weekend: Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy and I got out and enjoyed summer by trying out a drive-in movie theater.
I’d never been to a drive-in, so this felt like a little retro blast-from-the-past adventure.
Plus, dogs were allowed at this theater, so Calvin was able to tag along.
The night was clear and not too warm, so – aside from a few pesky mosquitos – we had a great time watching a movie under the stars.
There was even something unexpected: a gorgeous sunset before the movie began.
We also went miniature golfing at a new place that turned out to be the “Pebble Beach” of miniature golf courses.
The place was gorgeously landscaped with gardens, brooks, waterfalls, and towering windmills.
I’m not going to share my score at this time – it was not nearly as impressive as the course.
Here is everything you’ll need to make your Greek Tomato-Feta Quinoa Salad.
Begin by preparing the quinoa.
Quinoa is a superfood that’s as easy to prepare as packaged pasta. It’s full of protein, dietary fiber, and nutrients like iron (which prevents fatigue and keeps the immune system strong).
Here’s how easy it is:
Step 1: Boil two cups of water in a saucepan and add a bit of salt.
Step 2: Add one cup of quinoa and reduce to a simmer.
Step 3: Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes.
You’ll see it’s done when the spiral-shaped germ becomes visible around each grain.
That’s all there is to it!
While the quinoa is cooking away, begin prepping the veggies.
Grab some cherry tomatoes and cut them into bite-sized slices.
Next, grab an orange bell pepper and, holding it upright on the cutting board, slice down each side of the stem, creating four quarters.
This makes it easy to discard the stem and seeds.
Then dice up the bell pepper.
Next, chop the ends off a cucumber and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
Cut it in half lengthwise and place one half flat-side-down on the cutting board for stability.
Then dice up the cucumber.
Grab some fresh parsley and chop off a handful of the parsley leaves.
Then pile up the leaves and run your knife in every direction, chopping up the parsley.
Chop up some fresh chives using kitchen shears (or a sharp knife if you don’t have shears).
Finally, prepare the lemon vinaigrette.
Squeeze the juice from one lemon.
Since I don’t have a special lemon squeezer tool, I just rotate a fork through each half of the lemon, helping me squeeze out every last drop of juice.
Then add the lemon juice, along with some water, some dried oregano, and a bit of honey, to a bowl.
Season with a bit of salt and pepper and whisk until everything is combined.
Then grab some extra virgin olive oil and slowly whisk some of the oil in with the vinaigrette.
Since the olive oil in this recipe is used as a finishing oil (rather than being used during cooking), the flavor of the oil is key here. So a high quality extra virgin olive oil is best for this recipe.
After the cooked quinoa has cooled to room temperature, combine everything into one tasty salad.
Toss the quinoa and the chopped veggies into a large container.
Add plenty of feta cheese crumbles, the chopped herbs, and the lemon vinaigrette.
Then stir until everything is well coated in the vinaigrette.
You can serve this salad at room temperature or store it in an airtight container in the fridge and serve it chilled.
It’s a light, bright, fresh-tasting dish.
The nutty quinoa is coated with the olive oil and lemon dressing and complemented by crunchy cucumber, sweet tomatoes, and zesty fresh chives.
The array of vivid colors make the salad very appealing to look at.
But all the bright shades also indicate the multitude of different vitamins and nutrients found in this dish.
That’s what I love most about Greek flavors – they make healthy, high nutrition foods oh-so-appealing to eat!
The best part, of course: the rich, salty crumbled feta cheese throughout. Yum!
Prep: 8 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Yield: 6 side servings
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- ½ orange bell pepper, diced
- ½ cucumber, diced
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
- 3 tablespoons chives, chopped
- 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, and season with salt. Add the quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes. The quinoa is cooked when the spiral germ becomes visible around the grains.
- Meanwhile, prepare the lemon vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, water, honey, and dried oregano until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper and whisk again.
- In a large container, add the cooked quinoa, diced pepper, diced cucumber, feta, chopped chives, chopped parsley, and the lemon vinaigrette. Stir until well combined. Carefully fold in tomatoes.
- Serve at room temperature or store in an airtight container in the fridge and serve chilled.