Recipe: Zesty Quinoa Salad

zesty-quinoa-salad Good morning + happy Monday! How was your weekend? I hope all the moms had a wonderful day yesterday - happy (belated) Mother's day to you all!

I was going to start off today with the usual weekly challenge post, but I really wanted to share about my weekend first, and this zesty quinoa salad was definitely a highlight!

I don't know about you guys, but I get major food cravings. Like, MAJOR! Recently, it's been greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola or chocolate chips (yum!) and anything with mint added to it (water or smoothies) or peppermint patties (my favorite candy)!

Anywho, my latest craving came roaring in-- Quinoa, I had to have quinoa! Last time I blogged about Quinoa I told you it was a grain but I've since learned it's an actual seed! Whatever it is, it's delicious, versatile, healthy, and satisfying! So when I saw this recipe on A House in the Hills (a new favorite blog), I knew I had to give it a try.

Cilantro? Cucumbers? Tomatoes? YES. Olives!? Why not? And, boy, this did not disappoint!

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

I made a few modifications to the recipe and I think all of them were for the better... Instead of 1.5 cups of olive oil, I just used one cup. In my opinion, olive oil goes a long way and I didn't want to soak the quinoa! I was also using avocado oil, which is really creamy and delicious, and you don't need a lot.

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

I also only used one shallot (which, for those of you who may not know [I didn't], I shallot is essentially a mini-onion, and watch out, when you chop it, you'll be crying like a baby! [I was!]).

The recipe called for five tablespoons of chopped shallot, but I just used three. Aaron's really sensitive to the taste of onion and garlic, so I try to use it sparingly! Along those same lines, the recipe called for three garlic cloves chopped and I used one tablespoon jarred garlic (it's just so much easier; I hate chopping garlic and getting the smell on my fingers).

The other thing I did was use apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. I KNOW. I was scared. PLEASEGOD, don't let the apple cider vinegar overpower everything, but it didn't! You couldn't taste it at all, so that was a relief! I need to invest in a good red wine vinegar for home so I don't have to make that substitution again, but just so you know, it'll be OK if you do.

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

One thing you cannot leave out of this recipe is the olives!! I know, I know... ugh, olives, who eats 'em? I'm with you - my supreme pizzas always come without olives, pleaseandthankyou, but with this, it just works. I promise!

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

Now, not to toot my own horn or anything, but when hubby started eating this, he literally gasped, "OMG. It's so good!" He's pretty picky and doesn't like anything too exotic or with a lot of fresh herbs (he often says my recipes have too much flavor [yea, I know!? he's weird]), but for whatever reason, this was a winner!

Quinoa Recipe: Cilantro, Cucumber and Olives Quinoa Salad // Healthy Quinoa Recipe // Summer Quinoa Salad // Savory Quinoa

The recipe has about 8-9 servings and I averaged a serving size as about a cup. Even though the nutrition facts don't look great initially (that's a lot of fat and a lot of carbs!) it's all healthy! Sometimes I think we focus too much on calorie count and not nutritional value, and in this case, nutrition definitely wins out!

  • Calories: 485
  • Total Fat: 32 g (Sat: 4g, Mono: 22g, Poly: 4g)
  • Carbs: 44g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 8 g

You can easily pop this recipe into MyFitnessPal using this link or the one from A House in the Hills and make modifications based on how you decide to make this dish... Please let me know if you try this out, I promise it won't disappoint! It's the perfect summer salad and I'm actually eating it for lunch today! I can't wait to dig in!

Do you like quinoa? 

What's food cravings have you had lately?

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Easy summer quinoa salad with cilantro and kalamata olives!
Ingredients
  • Salad:
  • 3 cups quinoa
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1.2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cups kalamata olives, also halved
  • 1.5 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, jarred
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Cook 1 cup dry quinoa in 2 cups water to render approximately 3 cups cooked quinoa*
  2. Meanwhile, half olives and cherry tomatoes and finely chop the shallot.
  3. Allow the quinoa to cool, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together lemon juice, olive oil, shallot, cilantro and parsley.
  5. Combine chopped items and liquid mixture all together with the cooled quinoa.
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve later! It's good anytime! :)
  7. *Once the quinoa and water start to boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover for approximately 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.)