It’s finally the time of year for salads… of the LOADED kind of course.
Here’s the thing, you guys know I do not do boring salads. Like if I’m going to tell you about a salad, you’d better believe it’s going to be GOOD. Salads to me need to be full of three things.
…thing one: loads of fresh veggies. They can be raw, roasted, grilled, whatever, but there needs to be LOTS of them.
…thing two: carbs. I mean, obviously. A salad without carbs is just sad if you ask me…unless it’s a Caprese, and in that case all the yummy cheese makes up for the lack of carbs, but even then, the Caprese would be much better with crusty bread. UGH… my mom, she taught to love carbs, and well, I guess I love her for that. Thanks mom! 🙂
…thing three: CHEESE. you knew that would be a must, though right? The only exception to a cheese-less salad is an Asian salad and even then, I’ve been known to sneak in some mozzarella. Cheese lovers unite! ?
Honestly, my list of “salad musts” could go on and on, but those three are deal breakers, like not interested otherwise. Other key factors would be protein of some kind, a really good dressing and something to give the salad crunch. Why am I telling you guys all this? Cause this loaded Greek salad has basically everything you could ever want in a salad, and then some. It’s PACKED with all good things, and I am obsessed.
Lately, my mind has been kind of focused on summer inspired recipes. Think light meals, easy sides for BBQ’s. Salads for picnics and ice cream galore. I mean, I know it’s still snowing here, but I feel like a lot of you must be experiencing some warmer weather? Maybe even weather nice enough for a picnic?
I’m hoping so, because like I said, fresh summer eats are on their way and it all starts with this salad.
So let me break this Loaded Greek Quinoa Salad down for you, piece by piece. You ready??
It all starts with quinoa, the base to so many great recipes. Similar to rice, but healthier and a little nuttier. Quinoa makes for such a deliciously satisfying addition to a salad. Ok, so you cook up some quinoa, then simply toss it in with all the veggies you can think of…aka the contents of my fridge at the moment I made this salad. These veggies include, but are not limited to, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, cucumber, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, radishes, fresh spinach or watercress, basil and mint.
OH and avocado, but technically avocado is a fruit. Oh wait, I think tomatoes are fruits too? Yup, just checked, tomatoes are fruits!
So you toss all those yummy veggies in with your quinoa. Next we need a simple vinaigrette. Greek olive is where it’s at. This is just some olive oil, finely diced kalamata olives, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. YUM. All my kind of flavors. Toss that all together, and then well, we’re almost done.
To put it all together, spoon a whole lot of hummus (YESSSSS) into the bottom of your salad bowl. Top with the quinoa salad…then add some crunchy chickpeas + a whole lotta feta… then EAT. I personally eat this with fresh pita or naan for scooping, but again, I love me some carbs! You can also simply eat it with a fork…but really why would you do that when you could use pita?!?
And guys this salad you see here?
LOADED, but yet SO easy! It’s perfect for late spring and summer picnics, working lunches or just a light and healthy dinner. Maybe even make it on a Sunday night and then eat it throughout the week!
And really, there’s nothing sad about this salad. Actually, it makes me super happy. Can’t get enough…hello tomatoes, olives, hummus, FETA. Yum, yum!
Loaded Greek Quinoa Salad.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup finely chopped kalamata olives
- juice from half a lemon
- pepper + crushed red pepper
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 roasted red pepper
- 2 Persian cucumbers sliced
- 1 zucchini sliced or cut into ribbons
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup oil pack sun-dried tomatoes oil drained + reserved
- 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 small bunch watercress or 2 handfuls of arugula
- 1 large hadful fresh basil + mint
- 4 radishes sliced
- 1 ounce can chickpeas drained + rinsed + toasted if desired, 14
- 1 block feta cheese crumbled
- 1 cup plain hummus
- 1 avocado sliced
- toasted pine nuts for topping
Combine all ingredients in a bowl or glass jar. Season with pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Keep any leftover dressing in the fridge.
Cook the quinoa according to package directions.
Add the cooked quinoa to a large bowl. Add the roasted red pepper, cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, watercress, basil, radishes, crumbled feta and chickpeas. Gently toss to combine. Add a little of the dressing and toss once more.
Spread the hummus in the bottom of a salad or serving bowl. Top with the quinoa salad and sliced avocado. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and mint. Enjoy!
Fist pumps for making it to Wednesday ? Now let’s have a killer end of the week!