Greek Salad Quinoa

Greek salad is one of my favorite flavors ever.  I know that sounds weird, right?  A salad as a flavor?  But Greek salad is one of those things in which not one of its components shines more than the dish does as a whole.  Without the tomatoes, or the onions, or God forbid the feta cheese, the whole flavor changes.  It needs every single part to be as good as it is as a whole, and so I like to call it a flavor.  It’s an entity unto itself that can be used to flavor most anything.  I had Greek salad seared tuna the other night at a restaurant.  It’s a flavor, friends.
So when bringing a new, and slightly unknown, flavor into my dinner rotation, I decided to pair it with something tried and true; the perfect flavor.  Greek Salad.  Greek salad with quinoa!  


Let’s make quinoa!

I started this by halving some grape tomatoes, then spreading them cut-side up on a baking sheet, seasoning them with salt and pepper and a touch of dried oregano, and putting them in a very hot oven.  The roasting concentrates the tomato flavor and makes them that much sweeter, which is just what I wanted to compliment the other ingredients.


While those were roasting, I cooked 1 cup of quinoa according to package instructions.  Then I started prepping the rest of the Greek Salad components.

I finely chopped half a red onion…
…and threw that in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Feta goes next.  I love feta so much.  Always have, always will.
Then I made a quick tzatziki sauce.  I grated one cucumber then squeezed all the extra water out with a paper towel.  That went into a bowl with some fat free plain Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
About that time the tomatoes were finished!
The tomatoes went into the bowl, along with the cooked quinoa.  All the ingredients were mixed together until thoroughly combined.  I added a couple of tablespoons of the tzatziki sauce to the quinoa and mixed it together, then tasted for seasonings.

The quinoa was served in a bowl with a dollop of tzatziki sauce on top.
I’ll first talk about the quinoa.  Quinoa, who knew?!  Well, you did, probably.  But even so, this health food was actually pretty delicious.  The texture is really interesting and while I’m usually more about taste than health, it’s pretty hard to overlook the health benefits.  All that protein in a grain?  It’s amazing.
But the real star was the Greek salad.  I loved the combination of the sweet roasted tomatoes with the sharp bite of the raw onion, and of course the crumbly, salty, wonderful feta.  The tzatziki sauce was creamy and tangy and is truly my favorite way to enjoy a cucumber.  That’s right, I prefer my cucumbers surrounded by something I can dip a chip into.
The wonderful texture of the quinoa was the perfect vehicle for the strong Greek salad flavors.  It was light and fresh tasting and was a perfect weeknight meal.  I ate it warm first, then cold like a salad the next day and both were perfect.
This dish combined a new ingredient with an old classic, and for that I am always happy.

Here’s the recipe!

Greek Salad Quinoa


Ingredients


For the Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 container (about 3/4 cup) reduced fat feta cheese

For the Tzatziki

  • Lemon juice and zest
  • 1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, grated and squeezed until mostly dry
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spread halved tomatoes over it, cut side up.  Season with salt, pepper, and oregano.  Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  3. Make the tzatziki sauce by combining the zest of the lemon, half of the lemon’s juice, the yogurt and the grated cucumber.  Mix thoroughly to combine.  Refrigerate until needed.
  4. Meanwhile, add the diced onion, feta cheese, and the other half of the lemon’s juice to a bowl.
  5. When the tomatoes are finished, add to the bowl with the onions and cheese.  Add the cooked quinoa and toss to combine.  Taste for seasonings and adjust if necessary.  Add about 3 tablespoons of the tzatziki sauce and mix.
  6. Serve with another dollop of tzatziki sauce on top

Enjoy!

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