A delicious healthy and easy Mediterranean quinoa salad with chopped cucumbers, grape tomatoes and chickpeas tossed in a light olive oil dressing.
This Mediterranean quinoa salad is a GLUTEN-FREE and VEGAN dish that takes as little as 10 minutes to prepare, just make the quinoa ahead of time. Even if you don’t have time to prep the quinoa in advance you are still winning because it’s a 30 minute meal even with cooking the grains!
Some weeks I like to keep a big batch of cooked quinoa in the refrigerator. That way we are ready to made quinoa bowls, salads, or quinoa tacos quickly on weeknights or for a healthy lunch. This week with a bunch of grape tomatoes and cucumbers floating around I decided to try out a Mediterranean quinoa bowl on the family! Surprise! Let me just tell you how much they love my surprises:-)
It is a scrumptious dish that embodies crunchy, sweet and tangy flavors into one colorful bowl! We all enjoyed it as a side dish with grilled chicken and then I had the leftovers the next day for lunch. You can totally be creative with this quinoa salad too by adding olives or using white beans or fish instead of garbanzo (chickpeas) beans.
Now some of the factual fun stuff!
The Mediterranean diet has rave reviews for its health benefits. It is a diet inspired by the ways people in Greece, Southern Italy and Spain ate in the early 1940’s and 1950’s. The Mediterranean diet is a diet (or I like to call it “lifestyle”) that includes eating high amounts of whole foods such as olive oil, legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and moderate amounts of wine, cheese and consuming meat from fish. The health benefits of eating these foods include a decrease in heart disease, cancer and diabetes risk and an increase in cognitive ability.
Sounds good to me- those are all my favorites!
Health Benefits of Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Quinoa- Quinoa is a whole food grain with no gluten (no bloat!). It is also a protein-rich grain with twice as much fiber as other grains. It is also a great source of minerals such as iron, lysine, magnesium, manganese and B vitamins.
Spinach- Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins like folate, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K. It is also rich in potassium, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Spinach aids in healthy fetal development and growth in infants, has neurological benefits, improves eyesight, and keeps the liver functioning by stimulating the production of glycogen.
Tomatoes- High in vitamin C, potassium, folate, vitamin K and the antioxidant lycopene. Tomatoes also aid to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and improving skin health.
Cucumbers- Cucumber are packed with fiber and are mostly water which helps flush out the system and aid in digestion. They protect the brain, reduce cancer, fight inflammation and contain antioxidants. Cucumbers are rich in B vitamins, which help to reduce stress.
Chickpeas- Chickpeas are packed with healthy fiber and plant-based protein which aid in weightloss. They contain a slow burning carbohydrate that do not cause spiking glucose in the blood, therefore providing sustainable energy levels. Chickpeas also help balancing pH levels in the body and increase healthy bacteria in the gut.
Olive Oil- Packed with healthy Monosaturated fats, contains high amounts of antioxidants, reduces inflammation, prevents strokes and can reduce heart disease.
Lemon- Lemons are balancing and cleansing for the body and help to alkaline pH levels. They are also rich in vitamins C, potassium, magnesium and copper. Lemon is great for detoxing the body and helping to pride clearer skin.
Time to eat to your good health!
Pin This Healthy Quinoa Salad Recipe
More healthy quinoa recipes to make:
And remember- just make a big batch of quinoa for the week. Then use it for this recipe, tossed in other salads or stuffed into tacos and enjoy easy meals the next couple of days!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup spinach, chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, sliced and quartered
- 1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Green onion for garnish
- ½ cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dry
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl add all the ingredients of the dressing together which include olive oil, lemon, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, oregano and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
- Make the salad.
- In a large bowl add the cooked quinoa, chopped spinach, grape tomatoes, cucumbers and chickpeas. Pour the dressing on top and toss to combine. Garnish with green onion slices and add lemon, salt and pepper to taste.