Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I recently moved from Manhattan to Astoria in Queens, home of NYC’s largest Greek population. With all that is involved in moving, I haven’t had time to cook much lately. Now that I’m finally settled in and have stocked my new fridge, I wanted to create something inspired by summer and my new home. I came up with this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, which is light, summery, and flavored with delicious Mediterranean herbs.

IMG_2810

Since this salad is lettuceless, it will stay in the fridge for a few days and the flavors will only intensity. Eat atop a toasted whole wheat pita for lunch or as a side dish to grilled chicken or fish at your next summer BBQ. I promise that the big flavors and low calorie content will not disappoint!

Makes 4 Servings

 Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa

2 cup waterIMG_2825

2 cucumbers, chopped

½ small red onion, diced

2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped finely

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped finely

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon salt

Whole wheat pita bread (optional)

Directions:

*If you want to eat the salad with pita bread, I suggest preheating the oven to 350 for warm and toasty bread.

  • Combine 1 cup quinoa and two cups water in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and let cook for about 15 minutes. All the water should be dissolved after 15 minutes. Check the instructions on your quinoa packet to see if it needs more and less time to cook.
  • While quinoa is cooking, chop cucumber, onion, dill, and mint and place in large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate small bow, combine the Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, pepper, and salt and mix with a spoon or whisk. Mixture will be very salty to taste, but it will even out when all the ingredients are added.
  • If eating with pita bread, toast the pita in the oven for 5-7 minutes. You can also use a toaster or toaster oven.
  • Add cooked quinoa, cucumbers, onions, dill, mint, and Greek yogurt mixture to a large bowl and mix together. Chill for a few hours or serve warm. Dish out in a bowl or on top of pita bread!

 Nutrition Notes:

  • Quinoa is the only plant-based source of complete protein, which means it is easily absorbed by the body like animal protein.
  • A ¼ cup dry quinoa (yields 1 cup cooked) has 5g of protein, 12% the daily value of fiber, and 10% the daily value of iron.
  • Quinoa is a gluten free grain, and 1 cup of cooked quinoa contains only 170 calories!
  • Using fresh herbs, like mint and dill, add big flavor and reduce the amount of salt that is required to create a tasty dish. Not to mention that mint and dill have been thought to aid in digestion.

 

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