Mediterranean quinoa salad with pistachios, mint and lemon is a quick and easy side or light dinner. This quinoa salad comes together in about 20 minutes, making it a great weeknight option.
It is packed with protein and flavor, and it is also vegan. If you are a meal prepper, this is a perfect recipe to make for the week ahead. It will last for days in the refrigerator, so you can pack it for lunches all week.
originally published: 3/18/16
recently updated: 6/19/19
How to make mediterranean quinoa salad
An essential step in making quinoa that people skip is rinsing. Quinoa has a slightly bitter outer coating that needs to be rinsed before cooking. Make sure you use a VERY fine mesh strainer to rinse, otherwise you’ll watch all those precious seeds go right down the drain!
Once you have rinsed your quinoa really well, it is ready to cook. Then mix all of your ingredients into the cooked quinoa and it is ready to eat!
One of the things I really like about quinoa is how fast it cooks. This salad is ready from start to finish in time at all.
Vegan quinoa salad
As the weather starts to warm up, there will be beach days, picnics and other outside fun. Dishes like this one are perfect for packing up and taking along because they are very light and dressed only in a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Keeping this quinoa vegan means not having to worry about leaving it out for a couple of hours.
It makes a great lunch for the office, as there is no heating up required and when you are on a time crunch (as we ALL are, pretty much every single day, even on the weekends), the lack of time and effort are a blessing.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Lemon
This quinoa salad with mint and lemon is light and refreshing. It is perfect for warm days when you want something cool and not too heavy. While I made it vegan, if you wanted to add cheese, mediterranean quinoa salad with feta would be delicious.
Quinoa salad with golden raisins
Golden raisins give this quinoa salad a bit of sweetness. I love them and prefer golden raisins over regular raisins. If you don’t like raisins (golden or otherwise), you can omit them.
I know I sound like a broken record, but here it is again: If there is something you don’t care for, swap it out for something similar. You don’t like pistachios? Use almonds or cashews. You can’t find currants? Use dried cranberries or golden raisins.
There is a freedom in cooking, in experimenting with recipes and making them your own. When I was in my 20’s and not a very confident cook, I would follow a recipe To. The. Letter. I was afraid to veer off course, fearing it would have catastrophic results. Eventually, I learned through trial & error. If something didn’t come out exactly as I’d hoped, I tried again and fiddled with a recipe until I got it right.
What can I serve with this mediterranean quinoa salad?
- Brown Sugar Bourbon Salmon
- Grilled Lemon Herb Shrimp
- Mediterranean Baked Chicken Meatballs
- Rosemary Lemon Chicken Thighs
- Rosé Sangria with Summer Fruits
- Blueberry Swirl No Bake Cheesecake Bars
What do I need to make this recipe?
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• fine mesh strainer – essential for rinsing quinoa. If your strainer has holes that are too big, the quinoa will fall right through it.
• sauté pan – you can absolutely cook quinoa in a pot, but I prefer to cook it in a shallow pan like this. It helps it cook more evenly and it will be fluffy, separate grains as it is supposed to be.
• large shallow serving bowl – I love this bowl for serving side dishes family style. It is a wide, shallow bowl and works for so many things.
• quinoa – most stores stock quinoa; but if you aren’t sure what you are looking for, or can’t find it, here it is!
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- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and set aside
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 1/4 cup currants, or golden raisins
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup Fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
Cook the Quinoa
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and combine with 2 cups water and 1 tsp salt in a wide bottomed pan.
- (I like to give it more surface area to spread out instead of cooking in a pot, it doesn't clump or get mushy when it has a little more room)
- Cook until quinoa has absorbed the water (about 15 minutes) and you'll see little strands that will separate.
- When quinoa has finished cooking, spread it out on a baking sheet to cool. This also helps it to dry out and be "fluffy" instead of clumpy.
Assemble the Salad
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa with pistachios, herbs, scallions, currants, lemon zest & juice and olive oil.
- Add in salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Done!
If you take the time to rinse your quinoa and let it dry out on a baking sheet after it's cooked, you will have perfect, fluffy quinoa Every Single Time.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 263Saturated Fat: 2gSodium: 778mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 6g