Quinoa with Israeli feta and red peppers
Feta, sweet peppers and a robust vinaigrette dressing create an unforgettable quinoa salad that’ll keep you coming back for more.
Quinoa salads abound, and it’s no surprise why. As a complete protein, this tiny seed offers a host of health benefits. With a mild flavor and a texture that easily absorbs seasoning, quinoa is a perfect ingredient to showcase fresh vegetables, herbs and a robust vinaigrette dressing. The Tnuva brand of feta cheese made from sheep’s milk is a fabulously tasty addition to any salad, from tossed to pasta and everything in between.
When seasoning a quinoa salad, you’ll typically need more than you would with a tossed salad – so consider doubling or tripling the dressing recipe. Vinegar and oil-based dressings stay fresh in the fridge for weeks, and it’s great to have extras that you can drizzle on a salad or use as a zesty marinade for veggies later on.
Warning: If you bring this salad to work, your co-workers will want you to share. Consider bringing enough for everyone. Expect a raise shortly thereafter.
- 2 cups quinoa
- 3 1/2 cup water
- 1 red pepper, finely diced
- 2 stalks scallions, thinly sliced
- Handful fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup cooked black beans, optional
- 1/2 cup Israeli feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, optional
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup red wine or light balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cloves minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Turn to low and allow to simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until water has evaporated.
Add pepper, scallions, parsley, nuts and beans. Add crumbled feta and mix.
Whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour half of dressing into salad, mix and taste to see if more dressing is needed.
This salad tastes even better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours to chill, allowing the flavors to meld and be absorbed by the quinoa.
Note: This is one of those flexible salads that work well with a host of variations and substitutions. You can use any sweet, chopped veggie in place of the red pepper, chives or red onion in place of scallions, and whatever variety of chopped nuts you have on hand – walnuts and pecans work particularly well. If you like to go sweet with your salads, throw in some craisins and orange segments. For a savory addition, add black or Kalamata olives, and for extra crunch you can slice up some sugar snap peas and throw those in the mix. Have fun – and then enjoy!