Quinoa Greek Salad

(from Simply in Season)

When summer is in full swing and the garden is producing plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers, one of our favorite salads to make to make to beat the heat is my dad’s Greek salad. Tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onions, cucumbers, feta cheese—it’s summer in a bowl! You know what tastes amazing with all of those ingredients? Quinoa. Quinoa behaves like a grain, but it’s really a seed, and it happens to pair very well with cheese. The nutty flavor of the quinoa balances the acidity of the tomatoes and dressing, while warm softness of it plays well against the cool crunchiness of the cucumbers. It’s a salad, but it’s also a healthy meal in itself. Perfect for a summer potluck too!

1 cup dry quinoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups diced cucumbers, seeded if the cucumbers are very seedy, and peeled if the cucumbers have thick peels
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
2 cups cherry or sungold tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped, pitted kalamata olives
1 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh mint
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup high quality olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (omit for vegan option)

The quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook and 10 minutes to cool. While the quinoa is cooking, prep the vegetables and herbs for this recipe.

1 Cook quinoa in salted water (1 teaspoon salt for 2 cups water) according to quinoa box instructions. (Usually that means heating 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water until simmering, then lowering the heat to low, covering and cooking for 15 minutes.) Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. To cool quickly, spread out cooked quinoa on a baking sheet.
2 While the quinoa is cooking, prep the vegetables and herbs for the salad.
3 Place cooled quinoa, cucumbers, onions, tomato, bell pepper, olives, and herbs (mint, oregano, parsley) in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil to gently combine. Sprinkle with vinegar, salt, and crumbled feta cheese, and gently toss to combine.
Serve immediately.

Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/quinoa_greek_salad/#ixzz3p7hGx0ue