Ultimate Greek Quinoa Salad
Scrumptious Greek salad with quinoa cooked with tomato and roasted bell pepper sofrito dressed in delicious Greek dressing, with crunchy romaine, kale, and cucumber.
Not just any Greek salad. This Greek Quinoa salad is quinoa-forward with bold Mediterranean flavor packed quinoa tomato sofrito, healthy greens, crunchy vegetables and a 2 minute Greek Dressing. Loaded with flavor, is complete lite meal, gluten free and vegan. A bowl so good for you and healthy, it will become regular on your weeknight menu.
I call this my Modern take on Greek Salad which is inspired from Panera Bread's Greek Quinoa Salad with Feta. If you like more-than-just-greens for salad, this is calling your name.
So, what do you say? let's make this bold and delicious Mediterranean quinoa salad. Shall we?
Panera bread inspired me to try this Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa Sofrito. (not a paid content) I was so impressed when I tried a simple Greek greens and cucumber salad topped with yummy quinoa tomato sofrito and sliced almonds. Every bite was magical. Specially for a savory person like me this salad was so satisfying and better than a Green salad. I carried that inspiration home and decided to make my own Quinoa Tomato Sofrito. I also did some changes in salad to make it healthier, more flavorful and approachable for every day homemade food.
I can tell you the end salad exceed my expectations. It has been regular on our weekday menu ever since. Panera's version Greek salad with quinoa tomato sofrito blend, romaine, kale, cucumbers, olives tossed in Greek dressing, topped with feta and almonds. Once I made the quinoa they way make it. (of course added my spices touch too). I was so sold with flavor of quinoa, that I felt feta is not needed in this salad. You are more-than welcome if you like to add some feta but I like this wholesome salad without cheese. This also keeps it healthier. But more importantly, it does not need cheese. Quinoa, olives, Greek dressing all making loaded with flavor.
Star Quinoa tomato Sofrito (to-die-for delicious)
Making quinoa and tomato sofrito is super easy. Quinoa is heart of this salad. So, I highly recommend spedning these 10 minutes to make sofrito.
Since salad already had ton of flavor from quinoa. I decided to keep dressing very simple. If you like flavor of oregano (I'm a fan) with olive oil, garlic, touch of lemon (or vinegar) and seasonings. This Greek dressing (recipe in notes) will be on your every bowl of greens. I often have a jar in my refrigerator. When I'm time pressed, this dressing goes in everything from bowl of green salad to chicken marinade. Do you remember my Chicken Souvlaki? That chicken kabob recipe was so flavorful with dose of this dressing/marinade.
Greens for Greek Salad:
This salad brings lot of greens and nutrients to the table. I used a blend of baby kale, romaine lettuce for greens. Worth a mention, cucumber also adds crunch and greenery. The red bell peppers are sweet, juicy and the red color is full of antioxidants.
This reminds me, Greek salads are not new on blog. I have collection of all kind of green-loaded or even pasta Greek salad. Even one with quinoa, Quinoa Tabbouleh that has very different quinoa flavor. If you are Mediterranean flavor fan, I recommend trying a few more:
How to Make (ahead) Quinoa Salad
I love any salad that I can make ahead. Like I said, Greek dressing for this is already a refrigerator staple in our home. I also make quinoa sofrito up-to 2 days in advance. One weeknight or weekend, when I prepping for dinner. I leave quinoa to boil or cook in Instant Pot in 4 minutes. Leave cooked quinoa aside to absorb moisture.
Next, saute it with quick blend of spices, tomato and roasted red pepper. That's it. Quinoa Sofrito is ready to use. Refrigerated will stay good for 2-3 days.
When ready to assemble quinoa salad, add greens in bowl, cucumber, olives, bell pepper, Greek dressing and top with cooled quinoa sofrito and sliced almonds.
Honestly, this Greek Salad is not a side salad. A filling healthy lunch or delicious lite dinner with side of some grilled chicken.
Oh, and don't under-estimate this quinoa sofrito. It is super delicious on it's own. You can even serve it as healthy/filling side without greens. It even tastes scrumptious in lite clear soups like Panera Bread's Miso Soup Bowl (hint hint).
That's all for today's recipe. these pictures are now making me hungry for lunch. You guys have a wonderful day. I hope you get chance to try this amazing, healthy and nutritious Greek Quinoa Salad. I'll see you soon with another delicious find.
Ultimate Greek Quinoa Salad
- 1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Cooking method I use is listed in notes.
- 2. Quinoa Tomato Sofrito: Heat a tsp oil in a saute pan, add 1 tsp of garlic, chili flakes and cumin and cook 30 seconds. Now, add onion and cook until soft.
- 3. Add diced tomatoes and bell pepper with 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until water has been absorbed and tomatoes are soft and mixed up with peppers. Add in quinoa and saute for 1 minutes to soak flavor. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove and set aside to cool completely.
- 4. Greek Dressing - Mix all dressing ingredients in a small container with lid. Place lid tight and shake well t make vinaigrette. Set aside until ready to use.
- 5. Salad: To assemble salad, in a wide salad bowl, add greens, cucumber, olives, bell pepper. Pour in half of dressing and toss to combine. Top with qunioa, almonds, pine nuts (if using). Serve remaining dressing on side. Enjoy!
Quinoa Cooking Method:: Rinse quinoa, add to a pot with 1 cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, then simmer for 12 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
For Greek Salad Dressing: 1/2 tsp Oregano 1/4 Cup Olive Oil 3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar 1 tsp Garlic 4-5 cloves, grated. Mix all dressing ingredients in a small container with lid. Place lid tight and shake well t make vinaigrette. Set aside until ready to use.
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