This Mediterranean Quinoa Vegetable Salad is a delicious celebration of vegetables with tangy flavors of lemon and garlic. An easy potluck dish, it appeals to everyone, regardless of diet, because it is beautiful, flavorful, gluten-free and vegan. I garnish with lots of fresh vegetables for eye appeal.
Quinoa has a nutty flavor of its own, so the simple vinaigrette I've put in the recipe can be all the dressing you need. We think the salad is a real hit with our Baba Ghanoush Salad Dressing, though! It adds creaminess, flavor and tang without taking anything away from the flavors of the other vegetables. It would also be great with this Tahini-Garlic Dressing.
You can adjust the types and quantities of vegetables according to what you like and have on hand. The olives add huge amounts of flavor, the peas have their beautiful green color and smooth texture, and the bell peppers and broccoli stem provide lots of crunch. These ingredients get stirred into the quinoa salad itself, and then I add colorful toppings.
Top the salad with more vegetables of your choice. Cucumbers, in particular, fare better if they are arranged on top, where they are less likely to get soggy. And everything else is there to tempt people to eat up!
Should I rinse or soak quinoa?
Quinoa, unlike grains or beans, shouldn't be soaked before cooking. This is because soaking releases bitter compounds from the seeds. It should, however be rinsed. Unless, of course, your brand says not to rinse. If you buy Costco's product as I have recently, it says not to rinse, and I've been very happy with it.
Potluck vs At-Home
This recipe as written makes a large amount, good for a potluck or for a good amount of leftovers. If you are making this for your family and not sure how quickly leftovers will be eaten, start with 1 cup of quinoa and adjust other amounts accordingly.
If you have a chance to make the recipe, leave me a comment and let me know!
Other salads and dressings you may enjoy:
Baba Ghanoush Dip and Salad Dressing
Tangy Ginger-Almond Asian Slaw
Creamy Avocado-Lime Guac Dressing
Kitchen items used in this recipe
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Mediterranean Quinoa Vegetable Salad
For the salad
- 1 ½ cups Quinoa
- 3 cups water for cooking the quinoa
- 1 cup peas
- ½ cup red onion thinly sliced
- ¾ cup cup black or Kalamata olives chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped, or ½ red and ½ orange (save a section for the top)
- ½ cucumber sliced thinly
- 1 small head broccoli top cut into florets and steamed to fork-tenderness, stem peeled and chopped to stir into salad
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste see note
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Fresh dill minced, and sprigs for garnish
Lemon Vinaigrette dressing
- ⅓ cup good olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Rinse quinoa and drain thoroughly, unless your quinoa says that no rinsing is needed.
- In a saucepan with a cover, bring the 3 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered until all water is absorbed.
- Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature.
- For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette. Stir into quinoa and mix well. Stir the chopped vegetables into the quinoa: olives, broccoli stem, bell peppers, onions, peas and minced dill. Stir again and adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Arrange the sliced vegetables on top of the quinoa, garnish and serve! Keeps refrigerated for about 3 days, after which the salad can get a little soggy.
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This salad looks so perfect and it's absolutely beautiful. I love Kalamata olives too!
Erika, thank you! I think the Kalamata olives are one of the key flavors in this dish, I agree with you.
Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef
Such a BEAUTIFUL dish and I love that you make your own dressing too! Your photos are top-notch! 😍
Angela, it's a really fun salad to take to a potluck because I will get at least one "Oh, wow!" from someone, and it really doesn't take that long to decorate. Thanks for that comment about the photo, it means a lot.
Hello. I nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award. Congratulations! https://wp.me/paDAQH-hr
Hello FREE, I am so humbled that you would nominate me for this award! It's one of the best things about the blogging community, that we support one another in this way. Thank you! I will be working on this very soon, and thank you again.