You are in for an easy tasty Mediterranean quinoa salad recipe that can be served both warm or cold and as a main dish or side dish! A healthy spin on the famous Mediterranean diet, this easy quinoa salad (vegan in red wine dressing) is the perfect blend of quinoa, chickpeas, and vegetables tossed in a flavorful dressing. It is gluten-free and plant-based!
The Mediterranean style inspired Quinoa Salad
This Mediterranean quinoa salad is a simple summer staple – an incredible dish that takes as little as 10 minutes to prepare with zesty Greek flavors! To save time, just make the quinoa ahead of time. I promise you, this easy salad is life changing! Even if you don’t have time to prep the quinoa in advance you are still winning because it’s a 30 minute meal even with cooking the whole grains!
Mediterranean quinoa salad recipe ingredients
Quinoa– Quinoa is a whole food grain with no gluten (no bloat!). It is also a protein-rich grain with twice as much fiber as other grains. It is also a great source of minerals such as iron, lysine, magnesium, manganese and B vitamins.
Spinach– Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins like folate, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It is also rich in potassium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Spinach aids in healthy fetal development and growth in infants, has neurological benefits, improves eyesight, and keeps the liver functioning by stimulating the production of glycogen.
Chickpeas– Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a legume and wonderful source of vegan protein. They have a buttery, nutty flavor with a creamy texture that adds incredible flavor to this healthy quinoa salad recipe! They help support digestion and aid to lower cholesterol.
Tomatoes– High in vitamin C, potassium, folate, vitamin K and the antioxidant lycopene. Tomatoes also aid to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and improving skin health.
Persian Cucumbers– Cucumber are packed with fiber and are mostly water which helps flush out the system and aid in digestion. They protect the brain, reduce cancer, fight inflammation and contain antioxidants. Cucumbers are rich in B vitamins, which help to reduce stress.
Olives– Use green or black olives in this Mediterranean quinoa salad. They are full of healthy Monounsaturated Fats and add mouth-watering salty flavor and silky texture.
Parsley– Parsley adds just the right touch of herbs to flavor this salad. It is a powerful plant rich in Vitamin K, to help blood clotting and Vitamins A and C for antioxidants and to boost the immune system.
Red onions– contains sulfur compounds that protect the body from ulcers and many forms of cancers. They also provide good bacteria to protect the urinary tract and are rich in antioxidants.
Red vinegar and lemon Mediterranean salad dressing ingredients– extra virgin olive oil, lemon, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey or agave, oregano, salt, black pepper
How to make and assemble the salad
First, cook the quinoa according to the package directions (see below for best quinoa recipe tips). Chop and prepare all of the vegetables. In a small bowl, whisk together the salad dressing ingredients.
Assemble the salad in a large serving platter. Add the quinoa, spinach, chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, olives, and parsley. Pour the Mediterranean salad dressing recipe on top. Using a large spoon, mix the salad to combine and coat with the dressing. Serve right away or chill and serve within the same day for the best texture.
Quinoa salad variations
Mediterranean quinoa salads come with a base of quinoa combined with a fresh leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and legumes. But you can try these other quinoa salad variations and use this dressing.
- Add cooked white fish, grilled chicken, or white beans in place of chickpeas.
- Toss in ¾ cup of feta cheese.
- Use black olives in place of green olives – I know my kids prefer it that way! But my husband and I love it with either.
- Use fresh chopped kale with the stem removed in place of spinach.
best quinoa salad recipe tips
- Don’t overcook the quinoa. Quinoa works best when it is not overcooked. You want it to hold form and not become mushy. It is ready when the rings just start to show. How to cook quinoa? Add one cup of dry quinoa to 2 cups of water and bring the water to a boil. Right when it starts to boil turn the heat down to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork. Let it set covered for 10 minutes to steam and fluff with a fork again until it is ready to use.
- Make the quinoa ahead of time. I like to cook a large batch of quinoa or rice and keep it in the refrigerator for the week for quick meals. This saves valuable time and makes this Mediterranean quinoa salad from start to finish in as little as 10 minutes!
- Chop the vegetables small. Chop the onions and Persian cucumbers into small pieces. This makes the texture absolutely delightful without large chunks.
About Mediterranean diet food
The Mediterranean diet has rave reviews for its health benefits. It is a diet inspired by the ways people in Greece, Southern Italy and Spain ate in the early 1940’s and 1950’s. The Mediterranean diet is a diet (or I like to call it “lifestyle”) that includes eating high amounts of whole foods such as olive oil, legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and moderate amounts of wine, cheese and consuming meat from fish. The health benefits of eating these foods include a decrease in heart disease, cancer and diabetes risk and an increase in cognitive ability.
Frequently Asked Questions
How healthy is quinoa salad?
This Mediterranean quinoa salad recipe is incredibly healthy and good for you! It is loaded with plant based amino proteins. Quinoa has all the basic proteins the body needs to refuel and build lean muscles. It is a cholesterol free food, low sugar, and loaded with fresh vegetables and healthy fats to keep you full and to promote weight loss.
What is a quinoa salad made of?
Our quinoa salad is made of a blend of cooked quinoa whole grains, spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, green olives, fresh parsley, and the best Mediterranean salad dressing.
Is quinoa Mediterranean?
Mediterranean eating is plant centered diet and whole grains that are minimally processed. Quinoa is a whole grain plant that is minimally processed, and is part of a Mediterranean diet.
How do you make plain quinoa taste better?
To make plain quinoa taste better add it into salads with dressing or cook it with chicken or vegetable broth in place of water.
More healthy quinoa and salad recipes
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