You know what? Savormania has really pushed me out of my comfort zone when it comes to cooking. It has connected me with a wide variety of food bloggers and has inspired me to try so many more recipes and ingredients in the kitchen. During the past two weeks, I’ve experimented with smoothies, bruschettas and wheat berry, as well as ingredients such as brussels sprouts (which, I have to admit, took me back to my childhood and made me realize that I’ll always hate brussels sprouts). But that’s what being a food blogger is all about — trying out new things and always coming up with new recipes — and to be honest, I’m having the time of my life doing so. Plus, Jon is more than happy to be savormania’s in-house recipe tester!
I started savormania not only to share my love for homemade cooking and my culinary adventures, but most of all to inspire and to show that you can truly cook great meals yourself even if you’re not a professional chef. Ever since I published my first post in November 2014, I’ve been looking for ways to help you, too, out of your comfort zone and be creative in the kitchen. This salad is one of the ways I got creative working with quinoa, a grain that is so versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. This salad is so different from the quinoa vegetable salad I shared in January, yet it was somewhat inspired by the latter as it is also full of delicious veggies.
I tend to use cucumbers in many salad recipes, however this time I chose to work with zucchini instead. I adore zucchini in all of its forms, whether raw or cooked. Rather than using zucchini raw, I sought inspiration in my sautéed zucchini with dried basil and almonds recipe to use a cooked version. I sautéed the small chunks of zucchini and some onion in olive oil and topped them with dried basil prior to including them in the salad. The basil brings an interesting, earthy twist to the zucchini and increases its flavor, while the onion gives it a more astringent taste. Using zucchini instead of cucumber completely changes the taste of quinoa, and makes it, in my opinion, all the more hearty and delicious.
The rest of the recipe features what I love most about Greek salads — its mix of olives, tomatoes and feta cheese. I chose to work with green and black olives to bring a pop of color to the salad, as well as cherry tomatoes just because I was too lazy to go to the supermarket and buy regular tomatoes. But if you have regular tomatoes in your fridge and are inspired to try this recipe, by all means use them instead!
This mediterranean quinoa salad stands to show how one can get inspired from so many things. It might be a recipe that you saw on savormania or on another food blog, it might be an ingredient or a new type of cuisine. Whatever your inspiration is, follow it. Dare to cook differently, dare to try new things, and most importantly, dare to break out of your comfort zone. That’s what will make you a great cook.
Looking for Mediterranean dishes to serve this with? Why not try this whole fish baked in sea salt crust
- 1 cup uncooked tricolor quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 2 tablespoons diced onion
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 4 black olives, sliced in half and then thinly sliced
- 4 green olives, sliced in half and then thinly sliced
- 4 cherry tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small saucepan, bring the quinoa and water to boil with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. When ready, set aside in a plate to cool.
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season the zucchini with salt and pepper and sauté the vegetable until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Don't stir the zucchini too often or it will take much longer to brown. Add the onion when the zucchini begins to golden, and sauté together for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the dried basil. Place the zucchini and onion in a bowl and allow to cool.
- In a bowl, combine the quinoa, zucchini, olives, tomatoes, feta and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
How did your mediterranean quinoa salad come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania