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Greek Quinoa Salad

Healthy and easy, this Greek Quinoa Salad with homemade vinaigrette features fresh vegetables, cannellini beans, and feta cheese topped with a zesty homemade Greek salad dressing. Serve with grilled meat for dinner or as a potluck side dish.

A brown wooden bowl of quinoa salad with Greek vinaigrette

An Easy Greek Quinoa Salad

This salad may be one of my favorite ways to enjoy quinoa. Loaded with fresh vegetables and protein from the quinoa and beans, it’s super filling while not being heavy. It’s lightly dressed with a homemade Greek salad dressing that adds flavor with a side of zest to the salad.

Not only is this Greek quinoa salad easy to make, it’s also super versatile. You can keep it vegetarian with some tzatziki and homemade pita, or enjoy it with grilled meat or fish.

Leftovers store really well, which is great for busy lunch breaks at home or packing a to go lunch for the office. It’s also a great cold salad option to take to your next potluck too!

What You’ll Need

This Greek quinoa salad is made with quinoa, fresh vegetables, white beans, and feta, all topped with a simple homemade dressing. Some of these things are common pantry ingredients, but you’ll need to add the fresh vegetables to the shopping list.

For the Salad

  • Quinoa – Any brand or type of quinoa will work for this recipe, just be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
  • Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, quartered, are the perfect size for this salad. You can also dice larger tomatoes.
  • Cucumber – Dice or slice and quarter the cucumber, peel them if desired. Depending on the size, I use between a half to one whole cucumber.
  • Red pepper – I like the sweetness of red bell peppers but you can easily swap the color or increase the heat with other peppers of your choice.
  • Cannellini beans – I prefer canned beans. Be sure to drain and rinse thoroughly before adding to the salad.
  • Feta cheese – Crumbled feta adds a delightful salty flavor to the salad and pairs well with the Greek vinaigrette.

For the Vinaigrette

  • Apple cider vinegar – Provides the tangy base to this vinaigrette and fires up the flavor of the fresh veggies in the salad.
  • Lemon – LIke the vinegar, the lemon is going to add a tangy punch of flavor. I prefer the flavor of fresh but bottled works too.
  • Olive oil – Adds some healthy fat and provides a more satisfying mouthfeel. This is where I would use the nicer extra virgin olive oil that is too delicate for cooking.
  • Red onion – Diced into small pieces. Can be swapped for a softer sweet onion or even a shallot.
  • Seasonings – A blend of garlic, dijon mustard, parsley, oregano, salt, and black pepper are the secret ingredients that make this bright and zesty Greek vinaigrette unique.

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How to Make Greek Quinoa Salad

This salad is easy, flavorful and good for you too! It comes together quickly but remember to allow plenty of time for the quinoa to cool or prepare it in advance.

  • Cook the quinoa. Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions – don’t forget to rinse it first! Allow to cool completely.
  • Make the Greek salad dressing. Dice the red onion and mince the garlic. Combine the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, onion, garlic, mustard, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper in a dressing shaker or large lidded jar. Cover securely, then shake vigorously until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.
  • Prepare your salad vegetables. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. Peel (optional), slice, and quarter the cucumber. Core, de-seed, and dice the pepper. Drain and rinse the beans.
  • Assemble the salad. Add the salad ingredients including the vegetables, cannellini beans and feta to the quinoa. Pour half of the Greek vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.
  • Chill. Cover (or transfer to a storage container with a lid) and refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes. Add the remaining vinaigrette and then toss to combine.
  • Serve. Serve chilled or at room temperature with grilled meat or fish, or with pita and tzatziki for a vegetarian option.

How Much Quinoa Do I Need?

Quinoa, like most grains, expands significantly when cooked, which can make it harder to estimate how much you should make.

This easy quinoa salad calls for 1 cup of quinoa, which may not seem like a lot to serve 4-6 people – however, it ends up being 3.5 to 4 cups of cooked quinoa.

I like to calculate 3/4 to 1 cup per serving for dinner, especially when serving this salad with grilled meat. For a potluck, double the recipe and allow 1/2 to 3/4 cup servings as a side dish.

Tips for Success

While this recipe is easy and pretty straightforward, there are a few things to keep in mind for a fresh, flavorful salad – and a few ways to make it even easier!

  • Rinse the quinoa before cooking. Whether the package includes it in the directions or not, quinoa (like rice) should always be thoroughly rinsed before cooking to remove any dirt or impurities. A fine mesh strainer is the best tool for this job.
  • Cool the quinoa completely. Make sure that the quinoa is completely cooled before adding the other ingredients. Otherwise, it can easily turn mushy.
  • Use leftover quinoa. Leftover quinoa is perfect for making quinoa salad, as long as other ingredients haven’t been added to it. It’s already cooked and cooled, which makes assembling this salad even easier.
  • Make the vinaigrette in advance. You can also make the Greek vinaigrette up to a week in advance and keep it in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before using.
  • Shake the vinaigrette to reincorporate the ingredients. It’s normal for some of the ingredients to separate and settle to the bottom after the vinaigrette sits for a bit. Just shake for a few seconds before serving.
Overhead view of quinoa salad with greek vinaigrette, served with a fresh pita.

Recipe Variations

One of my favorite things about cooking at home is adapting a recipe to fit my own tastes. Here are a few swaps that I can recommend, but remember if you make too many swaps you’ll no longer have a Greek quinoa salad.

  • Trade out the apple cider vinegar for a red wine vinegar instead. It still serves the same purpose in the vinaigrette, while creating a slightly different flavor.
  • Try different herbs. While parsley and oregano are solid choices for Greek herbs, you could also try fresh dill, marjoram, fennel, or tarragon.
  • Use fresh herbs instead of dried. I keep a well stocked pantry with multiple dried herb options, so it’s my go to for a dressing like this. If you prefer fresh herbs, use three times the quantity (1 1/2 teaspoons instead of 1/2 teaspoon).
  • Add olives! Pitted kalamata olives, green olives, and black olives are all solid choices. Save yourself some time and effort by getting the pitted ones so you won’t have to do that yourself.
  • Try different beans. Replace the cannellini beans with chickpeas, black beans, or whatever type of bean you keep on hand. Keep in mind that the different beans will have different flavors and slightly different textures.

Serving Suggestions

This delicious Greek quinoa salad recipe is super versatile. You can enjoy it on its own as a quick and easy lunch and it’s great for meal prep because it will last for several days in the fridge. It also makes an excellent potluck side dish because it can be served cold and room-temperature.

I most often serve this quinoa salad with grilled steak or as a side dish with my favorite version of chicken shawarma. For a quick and easy grilled greek chicken, marinate chicken breasts or thighs in an extra batch of the greek dressing for 30 minutes then grill until an internal temperature of 165º.

For a vegetarian option, this salad can be served with tzatziki and fresh pita.

Healthy quinoa salad in a brown bowl, garnished with pita bread

How to Store Leftovers

Leftover quinoa salad will last for up to 5 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. Before serving, just toss it well to ensure the flavors of the vinaigrette are well-incorporated throughout the salad.

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A brown wooden bowl of quinoa salad with Greek vinaigrette

Greek Quinoa Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Healthy and easy, this Greek Quinoa Salad with homemade vinaigrette features fresh vegetables, cannellini beans and feta cheese topped with a zesty homemade vinaigrette. Serve with grilled meat for dinner or as a potluck side dish.

Ingredients

For the Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 medium or large lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ to 1 whole cucumber
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 12 ounces cannellini beans
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

    1. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. Remove from heat and cool
      completely.
    2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. Dice the red onion and mince the garlic. Combine the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, onion, garlic, mustard, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper in a dressing shaker or large lidded jar. Securely place the lid on the jar then shake vigorously until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.
    3. Next, prepare your vegetables for the salad. Quarter the tomatoes. Peel (optional) and dice, or slice and quarter the cucumber. Core, de-seed, and dice the pepper. Drain and rinse the beans.
    4. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, cannellini beans, and feta to the cooked quinoa.
    5. Pour half of Greek vinaigrette over the quinoa & veggies, then toss to combine.
    6. Cover and refrigerate the quinoa mixture for a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour, then pour the remaining vinaigrette over top and then toss again to combine.
    7. Serve with your favorite grilled meat or fish, or serve with pita and tzatziki if desired.

Notes

  • Be sure to thoroughly rinse the quinoa before cooking to remove any dirt or other impurities.
  • Make sure that your quinoa is completely cooled so that it doesn’t turn mushy when you add in the rest of the salad ingredients. Better yet, use leftover cooked, cooked quinoa.
  • One cup of dried quinoa should expand to 3.5-4 cups when cooked. Allow for ¾-1 cup per serving for a smaller dinner. Double the recipe and allow for ½-¾ cup servings if using as a potluck side dish.
  • This salad lasts up to 5 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and toss again to ensure that the flavors of the vinaigrette are well-incorporated into the salad.
  • The vinaigrette will separate a bit as it sits. That’s normal. Just shake to reincorporate all of the ingredients.
  • If desired, you can store the vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to a week. When you’re ready to use it, remove it from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature on your counter. Give it a good shake to re-combine all of the ingredients before serving.
  • This salad makes an excellent potluck side dish served both cold and room-temperature.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 432Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 680mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 13g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

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