Oh, quinoa. I have such a love-hate relationship with you. It was definitely not love at first sight the first time I had quinoa — most probably because I cooked it and ate it bland (in my defense, I had no idea how to cook in those days, and knew even less what quinoa was). It felt grainy and bitter, leaving me wondering what the fuss about quinoa was. Throughout the years and with more cooking experience, I’ve learned to work with quinoa in ways that made me fall in love with it. It’s such a versatile grain: you can use it instead of bulgur to make a taboule salad, swap breadcrumbs for it to create mouthwatering vegetable patties, and even include it in your breakfast pancakes!
This quinoa salad is another take on my favorite bulgur mint salad. It features pretty much the same ingredients — chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and green onion — but puts the spotlight on quinoa rather than on bulgur. I didn’t use mint in this salad either, but I’m sure it would taste great with it as well. Coriander or parsley are also wonderful additions as they not only bring more color and texture to the salad but also give it an even more powerful taste.
Similarly to the bulgur mint salad, this quinoa vegetable salad comes paired with a tangy dressing made out of olive oil and lemon juice. When you try this salad, you’ll notice its Mediterranean flavor — that’s thanks to the pinch of cumin I include in the dressing. Native to Mediterranean cultures and India, cumin works wonders in all sorts of dishes to bring an earthy, warm and nutty aroma to them. Some cooks even use cumin in their pastries, such as the Indian-Iranian Khari Biscuits that you’ll find on Peri’s Spice Ladles‘ blog.
What’s even greater about this salad is that it can be packed for lunch to take to work and can be kept in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. I tend to make a big batch of it and leave some in the office for quick and healthy lunches. I actually love this salad even more after one day of refrigeration, because the lemon-cumin dressing has time to mix with the quinoa and vegetables.
Other salads you might like on savormania: potato and egg salad, string bean salad with mustard vinaigrette and broccoli and cauliflower salad with mayonnaise dressing
- 1 cup (180g) uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups (200g) chopped cucumber
- 1 ½ cups (110g) chopped cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup green onion (35g) chopped green onion
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pinch of cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small saucepan, combine quinoa with 2 cups water. Bring to boil, covered, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the quinoa is cooked through. Transfer quinoa to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
- In a big bowl, combine all the chopped vegetables with the quinoa.
- Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and chopped vegetables. Mix to combine and serve.
How did your quinoa vegetable salad come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania