I’ve been cooking with quinoa quite a bit lately. I love it’s slightly nutty flavor and quinoa’s somewhat crunchy texture. It seems to be a perfect backdrop to add my favorite vegetables and my favorite flavors to. My family enjoys quinoa also, we eat it quite often instead of pasta or rice as a side dish.
This recipe for Mediterranean Quinoa Salad was a huge hit with my family the other night. My husband and I were trying to eat light that evening, so this salad was perfect as our main dish. My kids loved it served on the side with their chicken. I thought I’d enjoy a bit the next day for lunch, but my kids surprised me and finished it off!
I roasted a pint of plum tomatoes and a whole head of garlic. If you haven’t ever roasted tomatoes before, you simply must try it. The tomatoes are so flavorful when roasted, not that they aren’t before they’re roasted, it’s just that they “pop” with flavor even more. The tomatoes become a little dry on the outside and incredibly juicy on the inside. I like to roast tomatoes and keep them in the fridge to use mixed in with pasta or even to eat by themselves.
Roasting garlic is easy as well and you can read my earlier post on How To Roast Garlic here.
After the roasting, I simply combined the freshly roasted tomatoes with the creamy roasted garlic and added them to the already cooked quinoa. Then I added chopped kalamata olives, fresh spinach, feta and of course, olive oil. The kalamata olives give the salad a sweet, rich…mediterranean flavor.
The salad was prepared in less than 20 minutes.
3/4 cup rinsed quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pint of cherry or plum tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup pitted, chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
To roast the cherry or plum tomatoes: Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and dry the tomatoes and place on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. When the tomatoes have cooled a bit, slice them in half.
To roast the garlic: Chop off the head of the garlic. Peel away a few of the “skins” off the garlic. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on top of the garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and seal tightly. Place wrapped garlic on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree F oven for about 35 minutes.
To prepare the quinoa: Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cool running water. Place in a small pot and add the water and salt. Bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, about 12 to 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
To mix the salad together: After the quinoa has cooked and cooled a bit, place into a large bowl. Add in the tomatoes and scoop the garlic out of each clove (The garlic should be soft and easy to remove) Next, add the spinach and olives and mix well.
Add the olive oil, sprinkle with the pepper and add the feta. Mix just a bit to combine.