Cooking, Baking & Cocktail Shaking

Greek Quinoa Salad {Gluten-Free + Vegetarian}

This Greek Quinoa Salad is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and all kinds of healthy. It’s loaded to the brim with fresh veggies, salty kalamata olives, spicy peppers and crumbly feta cheese.

Greek Quinoa Salad - Naturally Gluten-Free and Vegetarian

It’s no surprise to my friends and family that I’m not very organized. If you follow me on SnapChat, then you’ve seen the state of my photo studio and office. I become a tornado of destruction when I’m working.

I feel like you can tell how organized someone is by taking a glimpse inside of their purse, brief case, or messenger bag. Some folks utilize the designated pockets and pouches to keep the inside of their bags neat and tidy. Me–not so much. I’m located on the other side of the spectrum; the side where you throw your crap in and hope that the black abyss of your bag doesn’t swallow it forever.

Greek Quinoa Salad - Naturally Gluten-Free and Vegetarian

The other day I was in Starbucks–not uncommon, as I visit weekly. I ordered my normal grande iced caramel macchiato with no whipped cream (iced coffee for life, yo!) and went to pay with the gift card my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas (she knows me oh, so well). The card was no where to be found. “I’m so sorry,” I apologized to the nice man behind the counter. “I swear, I have the money to pay you. If you could just hand the cup to the nice barista behind you while I search for my gift card,” I continued.

He shoots me a I-don’t-have-time-for-this, there’s-a-long-line look, but eventually obliges to my request. After a long minute of searching, I gave up and handed him my card, stating, “I think my bag ate my gift card.” To my surprise, he nicely responded that it was too early for organization. I instantly liked him in that moment. I continued to search for the damn gift card that I knew existed while I waited for my coffee, and of course I found it after the fact.

Greek Quinoa Salad - Naturally Gluten-Free and Vegetarian

That evening, I decided it was time to get organized. Since I spend most of my time in the kitchen, I decided to begin my organization frenzy there. After a long hour of hard work, I completed 1 small drawer and 1 small cabinet. Two small spaces yielded enough junk to fill a trashcan and a pile of dusty, never-before-used stack of dishes to donate.

Two. Small. Spaces.

Poor Squirrel. No sooner he walked through the door, I attacked him with words. “Look at all this crap! Where did it come from? Why do I have so much of it? This plate–I’ve never even used it. This plate has never felt a piece of food on its shiny surface!” In this case, none of the crap belonged to him, so I couldn’t use my go-to, blame-the-husband technique. I had to suck it up and take the blame like a champ.

After working into the wee hours of the night, I finally gave up and poured myself a cocktail. I woke up this morning to unwanted kitchen paraphernalia littering the floor, but, hey, my counter tops are clutter-free and glistening like a bald man’s head.

Next up, the rest of the house. It should only take me the remaining 358 days left in the year to finish–oh joy!

Greek Quinoa Salad - Naturally Gluten-Free and Vegetarian

Let’s chat about this fresh and vibrant Greek Quinoa Salad. This salad is currently the talk of the town–I kid you not. I made it for our annual ladies gift exchange, and it’s all everyone has talked about since. I’ve since made it two more times, once for Christmas and again this week to photograph for the site. My girlfriend sent her husband over to grab a container of it to snack on over the weekend. My mom is now crying that she didn’t get any, so I’ll probably have to make it a fourth time.

This isn’t my first quinoa salad rodeo. I became quinoa salad obsessed after making this Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad for Thanksgiving, and I also love it in this Sausage & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe.

This go around, I wanted to load the quinoa with bold, vibrant flavors, so I chose a Greek salad theme. I added just about every Greek-related veggie I could get my hands on and, of course, feta cheese! So. Much. Feta. This salad is naturally gluten-free and all kinds of vegetarian.

Greek Quinoa Salad

This Greek Quinoa Salad is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and all kinds of healthy. It’s loaded to the brim with fresh veggies, salty kalamata olives, spicy peppers and crumbly feta cheese.

Yield: 8 servings

Total Time: 35 minutes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Salad: 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped cucumber, preferably seedless
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup pepperoncini rings, drained well
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste (or 1 small clove, finely minced)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper 

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa; stir to coat in the olive oil. Cook the quinoa, stirring often, until toasted and nutty, about 3-4 minutes. Add the water to the pot and bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Continue to cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid, about 15-25 minutes. Take off the heat and allow the quinoa to rest in the covered pot. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  2. While the quinoa cools, prepare the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a mason jar. Secure the lid and shake vigorously to combine. 
  3. Gently fold the remaining salad ingredients into the quiona. Drizzle the dressing over the mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve immediately, or transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This salad is delicious both room temperature and chilled. 
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2 Responses to “Greek Quinoa Salad {Gluten-Free + Vegetarian}”

  1. #
    1
    taylor @ Food Faith Fitness — January 8, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Your pictures are amazing and that Quinoa Salad looks bomb girl!

    Reply

  2. #
    2
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout — January 8, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    This salad looks seriously delicious- I’m all about Mediterranean flavors and I’m especially loving the pepperoncini and the cannellini in here :) Pinning!

    Reply

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