Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This is a favorite salad for lunch, dinner, picnics or parties.  Quinoa is a ‘super grain’ from Peru that cooks up like rice.  You can season it with garlic or onions or light soy sauce in a side dish.  Naturally gluten free, quinoa is higher in protein and fiber than other grains and has an earthy, nutty flavor.  In addition, quinoa is a decent source of iron (10% of the daily value)- a nutrient that’s tricky to obtain in vegetarian diets.  Adding a food high in vitamin C (like bell peppers or tomatoes) boosts the absorption of iron from plant foods such as beans or grains.  Adding a can of white beans boost protein, soluble fiber and iron to the dish.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups uncooked white quinoa

1/3 cup diced red onion

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped

1 small cucumber, chopped

½ cup feta cheese

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed- optional

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

 

Directions:

  1. Prepare quinoa according to directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, oregano and garlic and set aside.
  3. Wash spinach leaves and use a salad spinner to dry. Tear the spinach leaves and place in a large bowl.  Add chopped tomatoes, red onions and cucumbers.
  4. Add quinoa and white beans to the vegetable mixture, then add the dressing and blend well.
  5. Add feta cheese and olives and toss into the salad and serve.

Makes 10 (1 cup) servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  340 calories, 11 grams fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, 14.8 grams protein, grams fiber, 7 mg cholesterol, 157 mg sodium, 23 % DV iron

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