Recipe: Quinoa Greek Salad

Gluten free Quinoa Greek Salad

TeiAs usual life catches up with me or feels the urge to bash me over the head with shovel, but that’s what she does. I may have not written much in the way of recipe posts, but I have not stopped gluten free recipe development.  Kinda hard when I can be such a picky eater and I have to eat every day.  What I do have problems with is that I have a lot of difficulty in the kitchen deciding that what I’m doing deserves to be written down. It usually means that as we’re eating it (and past the point of making pretty pictures), Aaron will look at me and go “Is this going up on Eatsgeeks?”

And I’ll be “…”

So yeah,  I think as a trained chef that some of my throw togethers aren’t really recipe worthy but a lot of times they are my best successes. This is one of those recipes that I actually thought to get a picture of before it was all gone.

I love summertime, and I love summer vegetables. I also adore Greek salads because they remind me of summer and how I ate so many of them at the Food Truck Parking Lot Zone that was right across the street from my culinary school in Portland, Or. Now Portland is a food city and one I miss quite terribly. Especially their food trucks.

Now, don’t get me wrong, a girl can’t (Or at least this one won’t) live on veggies alone so I wanted to add some good protein into the mix but I often leave my lunch out on the counter and forget about it so I wanted a non animal based protein so the natural choice was Quinoa. I’m sure you can use Amaranth, Teff or even Oats for that gorgeous 24g of protein per cup and above, but I’m not exactly sold on Teff’s texture and flavor just yet and Amaranth is a bit hard to find. So I decided to do it up like a pasta salad just without the pasta. It was a huge hit at work with the people I share my recipes with (i.e. I feed them because they make good guinea pigs) So I hope you’ll enjoy it too, plus it’s super easy to pull together.

Oh, and to give credit where credit is due, my friend Alina gave me the suggestion to up the amount of Quinoa in it, and she’s not even gluten free, but she loved the recipe.

Gluten free Quinoa Greek Salad

Is flavor or looks more important to you? (see the recipe as to why)

QUINOA GREEK SALAD

Difficulty: 2 (Can you boil rice in a rice cooker? Yes? You’re good)
Yield: 8 generous side portions
Time: Active (20 minutes) Passive (15 minutes)

MISE EN PLACE

  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large and small mixing bowls
  • Rice cooker or pot
  • Mixing spoon
  • Whisk

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups pre-rinsed Quinoa (1 cup if you don’t like quinoa as much)
  • 4 cups Broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2 cups Cherry Tomatoes (Halved)
  • 1 medium cucumber (sliced into 4-6 strips and then sliced)
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 6-8 oz Calamata olives (I use Mezzetta’s presliced and pitted for ease and price point)
  • 4 oz Feta Cheese crumbles
  • 6-8 oz Peperocini slices (Again, Mezzetta’s for ease and price point)
  • 1 medium green pepper (diced)

For the Dressing

  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP oregano (or  Italian seasoning if you don’t have it)
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 TBSP Onion Powder

DIRECTIONS

This is really a simple recipe, but it seems rather popular around here so I thought I’d put it up. First order of business is to put the quinoa into your rice cooker. Twice as much broth or water as you put in Quinoa. In this case, 2 cups of Quinoa and 4 cups of broth. Set on White Rice and let it go to town while you do the other stuff. Dice all the things that need dicing. This included slicing the cherry tomatoes in half, cutting the cucumbers into bits, the onion, the black olives if they aren’t already, the green pepper, and the feta cheese if it’s in a block. Place all of the cut up bits into the large mixing bowl and chill.

Then mix up the dressing ingredients and whisk it like crazy or you can even pour it into a shaker bottle and shake it up until it comes together. I’ve even used my hand blender before (my beloved blur blur) to get it all emulsified.

When the Quinoa is done, you have one of two choices. For a creamier and smoother taste, you can dump the hot Quinoa on top of the vegetables, add the dressing and mix well, making sure not to forget the Peperocini slices. Or you can wait until the Quinoa is cool and then mix. Waiting will make the flavor stronger and you might not need as much but I like the smoothness that comes with the hot Quinoa mixture best even if it doesn’t look Best Housewife’s picture perfect. But it’s up to you. I would definitely start out on the low side of the dressing mixture added and taste test until you get to your level of tastiness because it becomes quite potent when cold. But very tasty. And of course, if you have a Dairy allergy,  you can go without the feta or maybe sub in a less offensive substitute. Definitely my go to side salad this summer. What’s yours?

~Tabi

 

 

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