Quick & Healthy ❊ Tomato & Cucumber Salad with Quinoa

Confession time: I like to eat green salads, but I don’t really like to make them. So, years ago I started making Greek salad, and as time went on simplified it down to the point where my go-to fresh salad is a quick and easy mix of tomato and cucumber with the easiest of dressings.

I’ve recently discovered quinoa (a little behind the times on that, don’t you think?) and have been seeing quite a few mentions out there on fellow bloggers’ sites of quinoa salads. So, I decided to add quinoa to my faithful standby salad.

(A bit of an aside … my last post was about an orange and cardamom coffee cake that took three attempts to get right. I had a similar experience in the quinoa department, even though there’s no reason it shouldn’t be the easiest thing to make. This ‘third time’s the charm’ thing is getting a little old. The first time I cooked quinoa, it turned out soggy and wet. The second time, I actually burned it, through simple inattention. Thank goodness it turned out just right the third time. It’s starting to feel like I have some kind of Goldilock’s syndrome or something. Sheesh!)

There are many methods for cooking quinoa, but here’s the one I used. Rinse one part of quinoa well, then add to 1-1/2 to almost 2 parts water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or so, covered, until the water is absorbed. Let it stand for five minutes, fluff with a fork, and it’s ready to use.

Thursday evening I made this salad for dinner. It took almost no time, was easy as pie (no, quite a bit easier than pie) and fresh and satisfying. Along with some leftover Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup that I’d made earlier in the week, and some 9-grain bread from the market, we had a quick, nutritious, super tasty and perhaps surprisingly filling dinner.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Quinoa (This salad served the two of us.) Cut half an English Cucumber into quarters lengthwise, then chop into cubes. Cut a more or less equal volume of grape or cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on size. Combine in a bowl with freshly ground pepper to taste and about 1 tsp dried oregano. Add 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar (lemon juice is a nice substitution), and stir together. I recommend leaving this to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes before serving, stirring once or twice if you think of it. Just before serving, add 1/4 cup quinoa that has been cooked and cooled. Stir all the ingredients together. If you like, provide optional crumbled feta cheese to tumble on top.

11 comments

  1. If you think you’re a little behind the times with quinoa, then I’m living in Antiquity. I’ve yet to try it and it’s not due to some aversion on my part. I just never think to buy it when I’m grocery shopping. Now, I see your salad and it looks soo good! Did I mention that I just made a batch of feta? Seems like the universe is saying, “Buy quinoa!” Who am I to argue?

    • It was Emmy’s recipe for Quinoa & Red Pepper Chili over at emmycooks that persuaded me to give quinoa a try! The quinoa and beans were so satisfying, yet light, that I think we prefer this version to a meat chili now! So, that got the quinoa in the house, and now I’m trying different things with it.

      Thanks for the compliment on the salad – I love the contrast of colours in it. I haven’t made any cheese yet, but I’m into bread making right now (will post about it one of these days). The Culinary Enthusiast is especially enthusiastic about this kitchen escapade! I did see a recipe in my book for a bread that incorporates feta, so maybe it won’t be too long before I too am making some!

    • Quinoa is definitely worth a try! The first time I used it was in a chili a couple of weeks ago … it was so satisfying along with the beans that we didn’t miss the meat at all. And besides, it’s not only good for you, but looks pretty cute with its little curlicue bits!

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