Bright Mediterranean flavors are packed into this fresh and healthy quinoa salad – spinach, tomato, cucumber, feta, red onion all tossed with fresh herbs and a sweet and tangy homemade dressing. It is a perfect summer salad!
Years ago we had a blogger lunch with all of the Utah food bloggers. There were only a few of us back then and it was simple to gather around a table to discuss life and business. There was a quinoa salad at one lunch that was fairly decent but lacked a little flavor.
This was my first introduction to quinoa so I blamed it on the grain. However, it felt fresh and nourishing so I’ve been playing with my own version ever since.
A friend of mine blew my mind by introducing me to Prosecco vinegar and it’s become not only the best quinoa salad but one of my favorite summer side salads period.
How to Make Quinoa Salad Video
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is technically the seed of a plant, but it is classified as a whole grain. It is a great source of plant protein and fiber.
Ingredients for Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you will need to make this tasty summer salad and the homemade salad dressing to go with it…
- Tri Color Quinoa: You can use any quinoa that you want. I just love the way this looks in the dish.
- Spinach: Grab some fresh spinach and chop it up! It adds great color, flavor and nutrients!
- Cucumber: We prefer English cucumbers so you don’t have to peel them and they are less seedy.
- Mung Beans: This is totally optional but I love the texture of beans in a salad and they are a great source of plant protein. We like Bob’s Red Mill brand.
- Grape Tomatoes: Slice them in half to make them easier to eat.
- Italian Flat Leaf Parsley: We highly recommend fresh, but if you want to use dried, add only 2 teaspoons.
- Basil: I only recommend fresh basil.
- Feta: adds great salty flavor
- Salt and Pepper: season the salad to taste
- Red Onion: adds great flavor, texture and color
- Red Wine Vinegar: toss with the red onions while you prepare the salad so that they are pickled
- Olive Oil: the base of the dressing
- Lemon Zest and Juice: adds vibrant flavor
- Prosecco Vinegar: I’m obsessed with the flavor of this vinegar but if you can’t find, I have a list of substitutes below.
- Salt: enhances all the flavors
- Honey: adds natural sweetness to balance the acidity of the lemons and vinegar
- Garlic: adds flavor
The measurements for all these ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
What are Substitutes for Prosecco Vinegar?
If you can’t find Prosecco vinegar, some other types of vinegar will also work. Our best suggestions are champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
This recipe is very flexible and ingredients can be swapped out or added. Here are some ideas for additions:
- Bell Peppers
You could also add some protein to make a hearty meal out of this salad. Our easy grilled chicken would be delicious!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Easy: The ingredients are easy to find and the recipe is simple to make. Making quinoa couldn’t be easier and the rest is just chopping veggies!
- Fresh and flavorful: So many fresh veggies and herbs makes for such a bold and tasty salad! It’s even better if you can use veggies straight from the garden!
- Healthy: One serving of this salad recipe is less than 300 calories, high in protein and fiber and low in carbs. You won’t find a tastier way to have all those things!
- Make ahead: This is a great salad to make ahead of time. Prepare the quinoa, chop all the vegetables, and make the dressing in the morning then toss everything together just before serving.
What to Serve with It
I mentioned above that you could add a protein to this and make it a main dish. It is also great as an appetizer, side dish or light lunch. If you want to keep it as a salad on the side, here are some ideas of great main dishes to go with it:
Mediterranean quinoa salad will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days though it will get soggy as time passes. If you think you will have leftover, only add dressing to the portion that you think you will eat and then save the rest to combine later. This salad does not freeze well.
Quinoa is a fabulous grain to use in salads, and I love it paired with all these fresh Mediterranean flavors! This quinoa salad is going to one of your favorite summer salad recipes!
More Delicious Quinoa Recipes to Try:
- Cilantro Lime Quinoa
- Vegetarian Quinoa Skillet
- Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Casserole
- Cowboy Caviar Quinoa
- Pecan Quinoa Granola
- Chocolate Blueberry Quinoa Bark
- Sausage Kale Quinoa Skillet
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- 2 Cups Tri Color Quinoa, cooked
- 1 Cup Spinach, chopped
- 1 Cup Cucumber, chopped into small pieces
- 1/3 Cup Mung Beans, prepared, Bob's Red Mill *optional
- 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Basil, minced
- 1/2 Cup Feta
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 1/3 Cup Red Onion, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 Lemon, zested
- 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Prosecco Vinegar, or champagne vinegar (see notes)
- Pinch Salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Honey
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced or grated
- We prefer to use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water for the quinoa. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions:Rinse the quinoa and then add with the water in a medium saucepan.2 Cups Tri Color Quinoa
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then turn to low for a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, to give it time to fluff up. Set aside to cool.
- While the quinoa cooks, combine the red onions and red wine vinegar so that the onions get slightly pickled.1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar, 1/3 Cup Red Onion
- Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.1/4 Cup Olive Oil, 1/2 Lemon, 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice, 1 Tablespoon Prosecco Vinegar, Pinch Salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons Honey, 1 Clove Garlic
- In a large bowl, add the quinoa, chopped veggies, pickled onions (drained from the vinegar), beans, herbs and feta. Pour in the dressing and toss to coat well.1 Cup Spinach, 1 Cup Cucumber, 1/3 Cup Mung Beans, 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, 2 Tablespoons Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, 1 Tablespoon Basil, 1/2 Cup Feta, 1/3 Cup Red Onion
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and then set in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to maximize flavor. If you need to do longer, just wait to dress the salad until right before serving as the quinoa does absorb a lot of the dressing.Salt and Pepper