Greek Garden Quinoa Salad

Greek Garden Quinoa Salad

This Greek Garden Quinoa Salad makes the perfect light dinner on hot summer days. It features cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and plenty of herbs plus some fresh mozzarella and crispy chickpeas for protein. Take a trip to the garden or farmer’s market and you’ll have nearly all the ingredients for this easy summer salad!

Greek Garden Quinoa Salad with basil

Ingredients

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain which means it resembles a grain, but isn’t a type of grass like true grains. It’s gluten-free and higher in protein than its cereal counterparts. If you’d rather use something else, try couscous or wheat berries instead.

Low sodium broth can be found in the store, or made at home using this method. Personally, I always make my own because it is much cheaper and reduces waste. Use bone broth to make this recipe extra nutritious or veggie broth to make it vegetarian or vegan. The other option is to simply use water to cook the quinoa. It works just as well, but has less flavour and nutrients.

Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are a source of protein in this Greek Garden Quinoa Salad and when roasted, provide a satisfying, salty crunch. Any brand of canned chickpeas will work, but make sure they don’t contain preservatives. When draining the chickpeas, I always like to save the liquid (aquafaba) to use as an egg replacer in baking.

Bowl of roasted chickpeas

Olive oil is a healthy, flavourful source of fat used for roasting the chickpeas and as a base in the dressing. I like using garlic or herb infused olive oils, but plain will work too. The most important thing is that the olive oil is pure and unadulterated with cheaper oils. Unfortunately this is very common in the industry. Madhava is a reputable brand for plain olive oil, but I buy my infused oils from local shops. It’s also important to buy olive oil in dark, glass bottles because it’s so sensitive to light and heat.

Herbs and spices are a critical component to this Greek Garden Quinoa Salad. I use a variety of fresh herbs in the salad and dressing including basil, tarragon, oregano, parsley, and thyme. Feel free to experiment with your personal favourites. For the roasted chickpeas, I used cumin seeds, dried tarragon, dried oregano, and pepper from The Spice House. They offer a wide variety of high quality spices that are perfect for roasting and baking.

Cherry tomatoes are such an iconic summer food. Use homegrown or local tomatoes for maximum flavour. I chose the Sun Gold variety because they are so sweet and juicy, but other varieties work well too.

Greek Garden Quinoa Salad

English cucumbers have a thin skin and tiny seeds compared to regular cucumbers. They’re both refreshing and crispy which is perfect for a light summer salad.

Fresh mozzarella balls pair wonderfully with tomatoes and basil. They’re soft and creamy with a very mild flavour. If you prefer a sharper cheese, freshly crumbled feta is a great alternative.

Kalamata olives offer some salty tang to the salad. Black olives could be used instead, but I like Kalamata because they’re packaged in vinegar and are a classic part of many Greek dishes.

Greek Garden Quinoa Salad

How to Make a Greek Garden Quinoa Salad

Quinoa

If time allows, soak the quinoa for at least three hours before cooking. Rinse the quinoa and place it in a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar. When you’re ready to cook, drain and rinse the quinoa again before cooking as directed below. The soaking process makes the quinoa easier to digest and makes the nutrients more bioavailable. If you don’t have time, no worries! It will cook up just fine without the soak too, but may take a few more minutes.

When you’re ready to cook the quinoa, place it in a medium saucepan with the broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the germ ring releases from the quinoa and it is tender, about 15 minutes. Allow quinoa to cool and then refrigerate it while preparing the other ingredients.

Roasted Chickpeas

To make the roasted chickpeas, preheat the oven to 375°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Then drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them on a clean tea towel and gently rub them to release the skins. It is not necessary to remove all the skins, but getting off at least some will make the chickpeas crispier.

Transfer the chickpeas to a medium bowl and mix in 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp dried tarragon, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. When the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, spread the chickpeas in an even layer on the sheet pan.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, tossing the chickpeas every 15 minutes. After 45 minutes, keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. When they are ready, the chickpeas should be golden brown and crunchy.

Bowl of quinoa and chickpeas

Dressing and Assembly

In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tsp fresh basil, 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, 1/4 tsp fresh oregano, 1/4 tsp fresh tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 cup cucumber, 8 oz mozzarella balls, 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, 1/4 cup chopped, fresh basil, 2 Tbsp chopped, fresh parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooled quinoa and mix well to combine.

The dressing may be added to the entire bowl or served separately on the side. Top with crispy roasted chickpeas. It’s best to serve the chickpeas on individual bowls rather than mixing with the entire salad so they retain their crunch.

Greek Garden Quinoa Salad

I hope you enjoy this Greek Garden Quinoa Salad! Be sure to leave a rating below and let me know what you think in the comments. Enjoy!

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Greek Garden Quinoa Salad

This fresh summer salad is full of fresh tomatoes, cheese, and herbs served over fluffy quinoa with a tangy olive oil dressing.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Servings: 6 bowls
Author: Rachel Alexandra

Ingredients 

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa dry
  • 2 cups low sodium broth

Roasted Chickpeas

  • 2 15 oz cans chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil garlic or herb infused
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • ¾ tsp Celtic sea salt
  • ½ tsp dried tarragon
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Salad

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup English cucumber diced
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella balls
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives halved
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsely chopped

Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil garlic or herb infused
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp basil finely chopped
  • ½ tsp thyme leaves
  • ¼ tsp oregano finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp tarragon finely chopped
  • Celtic sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Quinoa

  • Place the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the germ ring releases from the quinoa and it is tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Allow quinoa to cool and then refrigerate it while the other ingredients are prepared.

Roasted Chickpeas

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place them on a clean tea towel and gently rub them to release the skins. It is not necessary to remove all the skins, but it will make them crispier.
  • Transfer the chickpeas to a medium bowl and mix in the olive oil, cumin, tarragon, salt, pepper, and oregano.
  • When the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, spread the chickpeas in an even layer on the sheet pan.
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes, tossing the chickpeas every 15 minutes. After 45 minutes, keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't burn.
  • When they are ready, the chickpeas should be golden brown and crispy.

Dressing and Assembly

  • In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, basil, thyme, oregano, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl. mix the cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella balls, Kalamata olives, remaining basil, parsley salt, and pepper.
  • Add the cooled quinoa and mix well to combine. The dressing may be added to the entire bowl or served separately on the side. Top with crispy roasted chickpeas. Enjoy!

Notes

If time allows, rinse the quinoa and place it in a bowl with 1 cup of water and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar and let soak for at least 3 hours before cooking. Then drain and rinse again before cooking as directed. If you don’t have time, it will turn out just fine, but cooking time may be slightly increased.
Save the liquid from the chickpea cans to use as aquafaba in other recipes.
Roasted chickpea recipe adapted from A Couple Cooks. Serve the chickpeas on individual bowls rather than mixing them into the whole salad so they stay crunchy.
Tried this recipe?Tag @roots_and_rosemary on Instagram



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