Zesty quinoa salad made with tri-color quinoa, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, green bell pepper, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, fresh mint leaves and a delicious summery dressing that brings all ingredients together. This salad is great for both weekday dinners and parties, pot-lucks, picnincs and family gatherings.
This quinoa salad is by far one of the most exciting salads that I've tasted. It's bright and zesty. It's exciting and lively. It makes it a great accompaniment for grilled or roasted meat, poultry and seafood. Though, it doesn't mean that this salad can't be enjoyed on its own. It's just as delicious as the slightly less zesty Mediterranean quinoa salad.
To get that wonderful zesty and cheerful taste I combined lime juice with lime zest, fresh mint and red hot pepper flakes. Add a little bit of fresh garlic and it's a winning combination, if just a little too bright for my taste. To subdue the brightness just a touch I added a tiny amount of sugar which gave me just what I was looking for.
In this recipe I chose to use tri-color quinoa - white, red and black. Red and black variety of quinoa have a richer flavor that matches the zesty dressing. I also like the denser texture and more crunch of black and red quinoa which complements the crunch of the radishes, cucumbers and green bell peppers and makes this salad even more enjoyable.
While this quinoa salad can be enjoyed as soon as you make it, it only gets better with time. Make it a few hours in advance and let stand at room temperature. This will allow the flavors to blend and the quinoa will have the time to soak in the tasty juices. After that, it's best to refrigerate this salad to keep it fresh. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- 1 cup quinoa (tri-color, uncooked)
- 1 tomato (cut in 8 wedges then cut crosswise)
- 1 baby cucumber (cut in thin slices)
- 6 radishes (quartered)
- 1/3 red onion (chopped)
- 1/2 green bell pepper (cut in 3/8" strips then cut crosswise in 1" pieces)
- 1 green onion (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese (broken into small pieces)
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives (pitted and halved)
For the zesty dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 limes)
- lime zest from two limes
- 1 clove garlic (pressed)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp white sugar
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- Prepare the quinoa as instructed on the package and let cool to room temperature.
- To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well blended and the sugar and salt are dissolved.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa with the vegetables. Add the dressing and toss. Taste and adjust for salt if needed. Serve immediately or cover and let stand at room temperature a few hours before serving.