Toasted greek quinoa salad

Lately I’ve been on a mission to eat healthier.  I live a pretty active lifestyle and I didn’t think my diet was cutting it.  So I  decided to play around with some new stuff from the “health food” aisle.  I had heard a few people mention quinoa and was interested in giving it a try.  The nice thing about quinoa is that while it is grain-like in it’s appearance and cooking style , it’s also a complete protein.

I found a recipe for toasted quinoa salad that had a southwestern flair to it but unfortunately I had none of the ingredients it asked for other than the quinoa so I improvised a little and wound up with a greek salad instead.  It was so good I actually started eating it for breakfast and lunch.  I may have even banned my husband from touching my stash.  So here’s the recipe I used in case anyone is interested in giving it a try!

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

1 3/4 cup water

1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup diced feta cheese

~6-8 kalamata olives pitted and chopped

4tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

salt & pepper to taste

All the ingredients minus the red onion - I used what I had left!

Preparation:

1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water and then toast the grains in a pot on medium-ish heat until they are dry and turn a little darker brown than they were originally.  I kept comparing them to the untoasted grains that were leftover in the packet for comparison.

2.  Once the grains are toasted add the water to the quinoa, bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cover.

3.  Meanwhile, you’ll probably want to start chopping the other ingredients.  To be honest I didn’t really measure what I put in so I’ve guesstimated the amounts.  You can always add more or less of each ingredient depending on your tastes.

4.  The quinoa will probably take ~15 min to cook.  Don’t wait until it’s mushy – that’s too long!  I started checking it after ~10 min and took it off the stove when I was happy with the “done-ness”.

5.  Transfer the cooked quinoa to a big bowl and add in all the other ingredients.  Stir.  Start off with adding less of each ingredient because you can always add more if you’d like.  Taking things out once you realize you put in too much is very hard!

6.  In a small bowl combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Drizzle this over your salad.  Add a little bit at a time and taste as you go.  Again it’s easier to add more than to realize you put in too much!  If you like more dressing, you can always make more using 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

Enjoy!

All that's left of my big batch, and now I'm going to eat it!

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