Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

by jenna on April 5, 2011

Hang tight cause I’ve got your dinner tonight.

What do ya know? I’m a poet and I didn’t know it.

Okay…I’ll stop now. Really. But first, let me tell you about the awesomeness of this easy quinoa salad and how, for the longest time, I pronounced quinoa exactly like it sounds— QUI-NO-A, instead of KEEEEENWA, like it’s supposed to be pronounced. But really, I could care less how you pronounce this lovely ancient grain just as long as you make this salad tonight.

This Mediterranean quinoa salad is bright and just bursts with flavor from grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese and spices. It’s one of those main dish salads you crave as the weather starts to warm up and you’re tired of leafy salads that just don’t fill you up.

Because if there’s anything I hate in this great world, it’s a leafy salad that doesn’t fill me up.

And though this does make for a pretty (and tasty!) vegetarian lunch, it also makes a great dinner when topped with a piece of grilled chicken (I used this recipe for the marinade–yummy!). I know because that’s what I made for Adam last night and that boy cleaned his plate (after claiming he doesn’t even like olives or tomatoes).

I’m already planning to make a second batch of this this weekend to take on a picnic to the lake. It’s totally that kind of meal. Oh, and leftovers will stay good in the fridge for at least four days. But if this salad lasts that long, you really need to just start eating more.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

serves 4

Print this recipe!


1 cup dry quinoa

2 cups water

2 cups sliced grape tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

3/4 cup feta cheese

1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper


Combine the water and quinoa in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced tomatoes, olives and cucumber. Add quinoa and spices and mix well. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on top and add feta cheese.

Toss everything together. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving.


30 minutes

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{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly April 5, 2011 at 5:02 am

I feel like a bit of a fraud for never experiencing quinoa.

It’s on the to do list.


Heather (Heather's Dish) April 5, 2011 at 5:03 am

you had me at mediterranean…now i’m going to eat it and imagine i’m on a pure mediterranean beach somewhere soaking up the sun! guess my mind is already in vacation mode ๐Ÿ˜‰


Mellie April 5, 2011 at 10:28 am

I agree… beach=bliss


Faith @ lovelyascharged April 5, 2011 at 5:06 am

Anything Mediterranean-inspired is bound to be fabulous!


jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 5, 2011 at 5:07 am

I love red quinoa I feel like it has more texture and flavor. What a great idea for a picnic! :)


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 5, 2011 at 5:08 am

Sounds great Jenna! I’ve been going pretty hardcore on grain-based salads lately and I’ve probably got more quinoa in my cupboards than most people! (For the record, I also like to pronounce it qui-no-a instead of keenwaaa because I think it sounds better.) ๐Ÿ˜‰


megan @ blackberries for jam April 5, 2011 at 5:09 am

This recipes makes me soooo excited for the summer! So bright and colorful and fresh!


Jessica @ How Sweet April 5, 2011 at 5:09 am

I still pronounce it qui-noh-ah. I will never stop!


Lucy @ The Sweet Touch April 5, 2011 at 10:26 am


I don’t know if I’ve ever actually said the word out loud but in my head that’s how I pronounce it!


Emma (Namaste Everyday) April 5, 2011 at 5:10 am

love this combination. YUM! I have never cooked with red quinoa. any different than white?


Justeen @ Blissful Baking April 5, 2011 at 5:10 am

The red quinoa looks so pretty in this salad! Scrumptious :)


Michele @ Healthy Cultivations April 5, 2011 at 5:13 am

This is the perfect recipe today as the weather climbs into the 80s again, and I start to crave cool lunches. I make quinoa frequently and am always appreciative of a new recipe.


Stacy @ Every Little Thing April 5, 2011 at 5:14 am

Yum I love feta in anything!!


mary (sisters running the kitchen) April 5, 2011 at 5:19 am

yum. i am always looking for quinoa recipes.


Ruth April 5, 2011 at 5:24 am

This looks really great Jenna. I love that photo at the top. Makes me want to eat quinoa right now!


megan @ whatmegansmaking April 5, 2011 at 5:24 am

I never pronounce it right! I get confused each time I say it :) But this salad looks awesome – I’ve actually never tried quinoa before!


Amy April 5, 2011 at 5:35 am

It’s finally getting warmer here, and this weekend it promises to be in the 70’s– perfect picnic weather! I can’t wait to try this :)


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 5, 2011 at 5:36 am

So pretty! This is such a great recipe… another one that I bet would work well for leftovers.


Jessica April 5, 2011 at 5:40 am

Love new quinoa recipes! I made a similar version of this but with pesto (mah fave) and chopped red peppers, no olives and ate it for lunch for a week straight. Definitely a much more filling salad :) Great recipe!


Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} April 5, 2011 at 5:41 am

Dinner’s already planned for tonight, but this might need to make an appearance in my kitchen next week. Thanks!


Lauren at Keep It Sweet April 5, 2011 at 5:42 am

Loving all the colors in that salad!


amanda April 5, 2011 at 5:51 am

this morning as I was getting ready for work i was dreading the process of writing my grocery list. thanks for this fabulous idea! my fiance has been asking for quinoa since we decided we need to cut back on the meat in our diets and this is perfect. dinner tonight!


Holly @ The Runny Egg April 5, 2011 at 5:54 am

I love anything with kalamata olives! This looks delicious!


Miranda @ working mom works out April 5, 2011 at 5:56 am

Yum! I made quinoa last night too, although a much simpler version. Yours looks incredible.


Heather April 5, 2011 at 5:58 am

Yum, I have made this as a panzanella with white quinoa (and I pronounce it the same too.) tomato, olive, mozz and capers but I like the mediterranean with the red quinoa. making that tonight with some fish…Thx!


Tasha @ Voracious April 5, 2011 at 6:00 am

Red quinoa is my FAVORITE. It is so beautiful and seriously tasted better than the white quinoa. This meal looks so divine; veggie packed and tasty. I love to cook up a batch of quinoa when I have lots of veggie leftovers, because anything tastes delicious when added to quinoa.


Caroline @ chocolate and carrots April 5, 2011 at 6:01 am

I just bought some red quinoa and I think this will be what I make with it. Yum! I love all of the colors! :-)


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey April 5, 2011 at 6:06 am

The first time I tried to get the Husband to eat quinoa, he swore up and down that he didn’t like it (without trying it? hmmm). Now, he requests it!


kristine April 5, 2011 at 6:12 am

Oh this looks SOOO good, Im So making this next week!


R @ Learning As I Chop April 5, 2011 at 6:12 am

“Because if thereโ€™s anything I hate in this great world, itโ€™s a leafy salad that doesnโ€™t fill me up.” Amen to that.


Cait's Plate April 5, 2011 at 6:25 am

I wish I liked tomatoes more! They make dishes so beautiful but I just can’t wrap my head around them! The plate looks amazing. I haven’t experimented with quinoa as much as I’d like so maybe I’ll give this a whirl. Who knows, it might just help me like tomatoes too! :)


brandi April 5, 2011 at 6:26 am

you should hear my mom try to say it – cracks me up every time :)


Liz April 5, 2011 at 6:27 am

An interesting article about quinoa:

(it includes yet another pronunciation)


Kelly April 5, 2011 at 6:45 am

My favorite thing to do ith quinoa is making tabboleh. I follow my mother-in-law’s recipe and it always makes my husband a happy man!


Errign April 5, 2011 at 6:46 am

red quinoa is SO pretty. And I love olives, so I’m makin’ this.


Paj April 5, 2011 at 7:00 am

Funny, I made this same salad, quinoa and all, about a month ago. The only difference was that I used a small amount of Greek salad dressing as the binder. It is definitely one of those must-make-again dishes!


Parita @ myinnershakti April 5, 2011 at 7:01 am

I love quinoa and am going to try this recipe sometime this week! This also kind of reminds me of a Indian spiced quinoa dish….ohh the possibilities!


Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc April 5, 2011 at 7:03 am

This is absolutely beautiful! I tried one of your quinoa salad lately, and loved it. I’d certainly have to try this too – Not tonight, but sometime this week:) Would it make a difference if I used white quinoa instead?


Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman April 5, 2011 at 7:14 am

Want. This. Now. That’s it. I’m making it for dinner tonight.


Shayne April 5, 2011 at 7:27 am

Looks so yummy. This is very similar to the lunch I packed today, only I’ve got tofu instead of feta, and I added a little shredded kale for a nutrient boost. Mmm.
Your pictures are beautiful!


Michelle from The Cooking Life April 5, 2011 at 7:32 am

This looks good! I bet my husband would really like this (I, on the other hand, am still trying to like raw tomatoes. Trying real hard, I tell you!). I did this quinoa dish a while while back –


d.liff @ yelleBELLYboo April 5, 2011 at 7:34 am

I’m always looking for new ways to prepare quinoa – thanks! I love cucumbers so I can’t go wrong with this. I’d probably use goat cheese instead of feta (I just like it better) and I might roast the tomatoes, simply because I’m not a big raw tomato fan.


Leah @ L4L April 5, 2011 at 7:34 am

Yum! I actually have a different Mediterranean Quinoa Salad on the menu for tonight already! I think I’ll take aspects of both and make it my own.


Hannah (Culture Connoisseur) April 5, 2011 at 7:54 am

I WILL make this next week. I always make a little salad for the week to go with our packed lunches, and it just so happens I bought a pound of multi-colored KEEEEnwa (hehe.) last month! Thanks!


Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen April 5, 2011 at 8:05 am

Wow – this looks beautiful, fresh and delicious!


Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete April 5, 2011 at 8:15 am

I have been totally making a variation of this lately with fresh basil instead of the oregano, feta, and olives. Plus, since I’m gluten intolerant, I usually have to bring my own food over the parties, picnics, etc. This keeps so well, and tastes great room temperature. LOVE it! I can’t wait to try this version!


Mary (what's cookin' with mary) April 5, 2011 at 8:19 am

I’ve never tried red quinoa, but love the regular stuff… so I’m sure I would dig this salad…. esp bc it reminds me a lot of my beloved orzo salad ;D
Def going to have to try out some red quinoa (which I also pronounced Qui-NO-a?!) So it’s KEEN-wa. Shoot. I even argued w. B that it was my way HAHA


Moni'sMeals April 5, 2011 at 8:41 am

I missed this last night, good thing I can maybe make it today! I have all that I need and anything with quinoa=anything in my belly!


Rachel @ The Avid Appetite April 5, 2011 at 8:50 am

Yessss, I love quinoa salads! It is best with feta. Sometimes I’ll cook it in vegetable broth, add lemon juice, basil and feta crumbles…so fantastic! It’s also great with some diced, roasted beets tossed in!


Lesley Lifting Life April 5, 2011 at 8:58 am

Perfect colorful, and delicious spring dish!!


Donca @ Loser's Digest April 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

Love Love Love Quinoa Salads. This looks yummy. I sometimes purchase premade quinoa salads but I think I will def try making this.


Jesse April 5, 2011 at 9:17 am

i just posted a very similar orzo pasta salad with a mediterrean influence.
i’ll have to try quinoa next time:)


Katie @ April 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

I pronounced quinoa the same way! That is, until my ironchickie friend who’s all about the “keeenwah” informed me otherwise ๐Ÿ˜€


Natalia - a side of simple April 5, 2011 at 9:46 am

Quinoa has been my life saver since I found out I was allergic to gluten. It’s easily become my favorite replacement to regular pasta! Now…where’s the sand and sun and sangria?


Cynthia (It All Changes) April 5, 2011 at 9:48 am

My lunches for the next week are solved. I love the spring combo of flavors. Thanks for a fresh look on quinoa and the inspiration to try red quinoa finally.


Maria April 5, 2011 at 9:58 am

I want this for lunch!


lesley April 5, 2011 at 10:07 am

I love that stuff!


Jennifer (savor) April 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

Keep rhyming, on timeing with some chiming. oh no, it’s contagious!


jenna April 5, 2011 at 10:22 am

hahahahahah ๐Ÿ˜‰


Sarah @ The Pajama Chef April 5, 2011 at 10:18 am

beautiful salad! its funny, for my lunches this week i made a mediterranean orzo salad with basically the same ingredients. eating it as i type. yum :)


Katrina April 5, 2011 at 10:23 am

This looks lovely! Great recipe.


Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous April 5, 2011 at 10:27 am

I love quinoa…and I’m always telling people the right way to pronounce it! haha!


Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen April 5, 2011 at 10:29 am

That’s so funny! I just made the same salad a week ago…it is filling and delicious!


Lucy @ The Sweet Touch April 5, 2011 at 10:33 am

It quinoa kinda chewy? How would you describe it? It looks interesting!


Amanda April 5, 2011 at 10:38 am

Considering I love all of these ingredients, I will definitely be giving this salad a try. Yum!


meryl April 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

ummm. i had no idea that quinoa wasn’t pronounced the way it was spelled until i read your blog post. whoops.


French Heart April 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

Thanks for the pronunciation key. So chagrinning to ask which aisle that rice that starts with a ‘Q’ is on.
Making this. Looks and sounds like something from a sunny exotic locale. Thanks!


Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather April 5, 2011 at 11:13 am

Red quinoa is so pretty! This looks like the perfect summer time salad. Those tomatoes look super fresh.


amy walters, aDESIGNdock April 5, 2011 at 11:30 am

Jenna!!! I have been searching for an easy Quinoa recipe for months. After a year of thinking about buying some, I finally did. But then all I could find were confusing recipes with ingredients I don’t own (some which I’ve never even heard of)! Like Adam, I don’t care for olives. Can you suggest anything that I could replace them with? Also, I have the “oatmeal” coloured Quinoa. Will that work just as well as the red?


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 5, 2011 at 11:50 am

Simple, perfect, delicious. When it gets warmer out these are the types of foods that I love.

Anything with cherry tomatoes, too, is an instant hit with me :) love those little things!


Candace (inFITation) April 5, 2011 at 11:50 am

I used to say qui-no-ah- too. Which reminds me of another mispronunciation flub of mine.
In my very first grad school class I responded to a question the professor had asked and pronounced “paradigm”, par-a-dig-m instead of par-a-dime. It was mortifying.
Glad to know I’m not alone in my mispronunciations!


Denise @ Creative Kitchen April 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Love quinoa! I have a really great quinoa tabouleh on my site that you would probably like, We also take it on a picnic/beach/boating etc. I even took it to disney this last trip. It’s definitely GREEK in nature when I throw my kalamata olives and feta cheese all over it. :)

You’ve inspired me to pick up french quinoa for the first time when I trek to Whole Foods today. You know I’m an hour south of Vero, right? Near @MylifeasaMrs

My hubby’s aunt & uncle & cousins live in Vero. His 26 yr old cousin grew up there….I always wondered if you guys knew each other or went to the same high school. You know Vero Beach..small town and all. I love it up there. Hubby & I get up there quite a bit. We love eating at Jack Baker’s Lobster shanty & Mr. Manatee’s with his aunt/uncle. Love the gorgeous oaks on their tree canopied lane.

Oops…sorry! Just didn’t know if I’d ever told you before where I’m from. Guess what else? You were one of my inspirations for starting my food blog, and I am getting ready to go to my FIRST food blogger conference!! I am SO excited!! This weekend in Orlando (Food Blog Forum) with Florida’s very own Steamy Kitchen. I can’t believe I’m getting some mama (kid-free) time. Yay!!


MMiller April 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

This sounds amazing! I have red quinoa in my cabinet! Do you have to rinse it well before cooking it? The regular quinoa had a funny taste! I will have to try this this weekend!


Meghan @ StruggleMuffins April 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm

There’s nothing like a light and tasty quinoa salad. I had one at a restaurant that had feta, spinach and dried cherries and it totally turned me on to quinoa. Yours looks delicious as well and I will most definitely be trying it!


Alycia April 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Combining two of my great loves; quinoa and greek salad…YUM! This looks awesome and I cannot wait to give it a try!


Corina April 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm

This is my kind of salad. I’d take it to work as a packed lunch. I’ve never tried red quinoa though, but I’ve got the other type plus all the other ingredients in my cupboards and fridge so I’m definitely going to try it.


Emily @ Savory and Savage April 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I love the contrasting colors in that salad.

I love the texture and flavor of quinoa – but I haven’t tried the red quinoa but it looks great!


kate@ahealthypassion April 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I love red quinoa this dish looks divine!


Debbie April 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm

From the tomatoes, olives, cheese and spices…I’m like hello, I want this too! Thanks for always sharing. You truly bring spice to my life.

Blessings – Debbie


laura April 5, 2011 at 4:50 pm

oh its coming into winter here but i think this would be alright for a random warm night i’m sure we’ll have.


Dee April 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm

oh my gosh! this looks heavenly. I’ll definitely have to make this over the weekend!


Kelly April 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Such perfect timing! I’ve been looking all week for a delicious, easy, healthy side dish to bring to my aunt’s this weekend – couldn’t have asked for anything better.. can’t wait to make this!


Happy When Not Hungry April 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Love how healthy this dish is and how fresh the ingredients are! The colors are beautiful too!


Jen April 5, 2011 at 7:26 pm

YES! I love quinoa…so filling (and so pretty, with all the different colours you can get!) I’m totally making this to take for lunch all next week. Thank you for giving me a new quinoa recipe to try! (note to self..add quinoa to grocery list!)


Megan@Dirty Dishes Daily April 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm

That looks incredible! A great summer salad.


DessertForTwo April 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Oh yum! I can’t wait to try this! I bought quinoa a while ago and need to cook it up!

At least you weren’t pronouncing it’quinn-wah’ ๐Ÿ˜‰


Jen April 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I did, in fact, have this for dinner — and leftovers for lunch!

Made some minor changes: Used fat-free feta and no oil. Doubled the black pepper, added a bit more lemon juice, added some diced green peppers, and used regular quinoa, not red.

Delicious! My fiance and I both gobbled it up.

Thanks for the inspiration!


Amber@EatWellPlayWell April 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Great Recipe~ I love quinoa, full of protein and the red or black quinoa is packed with iron.


Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble April 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I love KEEEEEENWA! I also really had no clue how to say it until Trader Joe’s put the pronunciation on the side of the package! Thanks TJ’s for making me smarter!


Tammi Kibler @ How Do You Cook Quinoa? April 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I love quinoa salads, and I cannot imagine how anyone could let this salad sit in the refrigerator for more than a day or two. When I make a Mediterranean quinoa salad, it’s all I can think about until I have finished it. :-)


Andrea April 10, 2011 at 9:45 am

I just made this salad and substituted asparagus for cucumbers. It’s delicious. Thanks for sharing!


julia April 11, 2011 at 9:28 am

I just made a batch of this yesterday to eat for lunches this week. It is so good!


Brandi April 14, 2011 at 7:21 am

I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious. Quinoa is a new favorite grain in our family, but I am always looking for good ways to prepare it. This was simple, fresh, and outstanding! Thanks for the recipe!


Anne C April 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Made it and loved it!!!! So simple fresh and flavorful. It went perfect with the Balsamic chicken that I made to go with it.

My husband has a love hate relationship with quinoa..but after this side dish he is back on the love side. Added some leftover spinach and red onion to the mix. Yummy


Marisa April 22, 2011 at 4:53 am

This is delicious. Brought it to a small family get together-people who didn’t know what quinoa was. They were leary because they don’t like healthy food, but they ended up enjoying it. My MIL kept asking me what it was. However, my mom wouldn’t even try it. :(


Ellen April 23, 2011 at 9:29 am

This was super tasty and a good way to introduce quinoa to the boyfriend. I added a bit of shaved red onion. MMMMMMM I didn’t use quite as much of the cooked quinoa as the recipe called for, so i got to eat it for breakfast this morning with some cinnamon and maple syrup.


Jessica May 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Just made this and it is so good!!! Thanks so much!


Kate July 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I made this tonight and it was off the charts good. We did not change a thing. Thank yoU!


Meghan July 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I am legendary for my inability to cook and utter lack of desire, but this recipe was simple enough for me and all were shocked by how wonderful it was! Thanks for sharing!


Malala July 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Made this salad today, and it was delicious! I used white quinoa because that’s what I had in the house. I put an avocado instead of the cucumber and some chopped fresh cilantro. Sooo good! Thank you for the recipe!


Mai August 3, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I’ve been eating this salad with rotini every day this week for lunch. SO GOOD.


Elaine Cooper August 17, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Quinoa is a seed to add as a staple to your pantry. It is so easy to prepare and can be added to almost any recipe in place of couscous, bulghur, or anything wheat. I’m making quinoa, chard,& goat cheese roll for dinner tonight!


Jamie May 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Looks great! Definitely making this tomorrow on my day off :o)


Patti July 11, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Additionally, I add skinned almonds to a recipe very similar to this, and pour about a tablespoon of the kalamata olive juice into the dressing rather than adding salt. I love this stuff!


Maureen September 2, 2012 at 9:33 am

Do you rinse your quinoa like the packages recommend? I find it a real pain. And no good way to do it. I have tried super fine colanders, coffee filters, ???


Katie January 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Agreed. I said qui-no-a the other day and my mom looked at me really weird. She’s like, “you meen quinoa? (keen-wa) and I said “ohhh ok keeeeenwa.” but I dont actually say it like that.
I think it makes it sound cuter:)
I’m makig this for dinner tonight!


Lyn Ashby May 10, 2013 at 1:19 am

Great recipe for the Quinoa. I really enjoyed this dish and Quinoa is very healthy and nutritious and makes us feel fuller for longer periods of time. Thanks for the recipe, I will share this great recipe.


Christine June 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Simple, delicious, nutritious, quick and inexpensive. This I like. Thanks for sharing!


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