With a handful of simple, yet healthy ingredients, you can mix up this fresh Mediterranean Quinoa Salad to have on hand for lunches or weeknight dinners for yourself—or to serve deconstructed for the kids. It even stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days!

mediterranean quinoa saladMediterranean Quinoa Salad

I love a good grain salad and I particularly love how easy they are to make ahead of time. This version, which features tender quinoa, crunchy cucumbers and shredded carrots, protein (and fiber!) packed beans, and creamy cheese, is a perfect mix of textures and nutrition.

And, the zippy lemon-based dressing gives it a Mediterranean flavor that’s both subtle and satisfying.

TIP: I mainly make this for myself since mama need to eat well too, but you can separate out some of the components to serve as an easy kids meal too if they aren’t yet into grain salads.

Make-Ahead Grain Salad

When I need to feed myself easy, yet satisfying lunches during the week, grain salads are one of my go-tos. And while my kids don’t always like to eat all of the components mixed together—well my toddler is actually on board, my oldest would prefer ingredients to be separated out—this is the type of a dish that I make with myself in mind.

Because sometimes mama just needs to cook what mama wants to eat!

In all seriousness, I love that I can make this ahead of time and pull it out of the fridge during a busy work day and it’s ready to go. That ensures that I’ll feed myself well, no matter how busy I am with work or the kids.

ingredients for mediterranean quinoa saladIngredients You Need

For this recipe I use:

  • quinoa
  • chickpeas (canned or cooked from dry)
  • chopped cucumber
  • shredded carrots
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • sunflower seeds
  • lemon vinaigrette

TIP: You could easily trade in another type of beans, such as white beans, or a different cheese, like shredded cheddar or crumbled goat cheese, depending on your preference or what the kids like.

mixed together quinoa salad

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the simple process involved in making this recipe.

  1. Prepare quinoa according to the package directions. Let cool slightly or fully. You can do this step up to a day ahead.
  2. Mix together the quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, carrot, feta, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
  3. Stir together the dressing, then toss into the salad. Mix thoroughly.

TIP: You can serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Can I make this quinoa salad with chicken?

Of course! You can add in fully cooked diced or shredded chicken to the salad, either tossed in or layered on top. For that matter, you could also add thinly sliced steak, shrimp, or even cubes of tofu as additional extra sources of protein.

(The beans do provide vegetarian protein so keep that in mind if that’s your goal with adding chicken!)

quinoa salad dressing in measuring cupHow long does this quinoa salad last?

Once mixed, you can store this quinoa salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The flavors continue to meld as it sits, yet the components stay crisp, so it’s just as good on day 5 as on the first day! You could even portion it out into single serving containers if that makes feeing yourself lunch easier.

TIP: The dressing is made with lemon juice, olive oil, and Dijon mustard and is simple and adds more flavor as the salad sits in the fridge.

Best Tips for Success

  • Add strawberries, blueberries or sliced apples or pears to this salad if serving to kids if you think they might need more enticement to try it.
  • Serve the different ingredients next to each other if your kids prefer their food side-by-side.
  • Toss the salad well to ensure that the dressing coats the ingredients well.
  • Season to taste with salt to ensure that it’s the right level for your own particular taste buds.
  • You may also like Quinoa and Squash, Cheesy Rice, and Veggie Nuggets.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe, so comment below to share!

mediterranean quinoa salad on two plates

Easy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Mix up this grain salad to have lunches prepped for the week for yourself, or to have a dinner side or vegetarian main dish to share with the family.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Course Salad
Calories 350kcal
Servings 6

Ingredients

Quinoa Salad

  • 2 cups fully cooked quinoa
  • 14.5 ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced (from about 1 medium cucumber)
  • ½ cup shredded carrot (from about 1 medium carrot)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta (or diced mozzarella or cheddar)
  • ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 fresh lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (from 1 fresh lemon)
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  • Prepare quinoa according to the package directions. (It's usually a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio.) Let cool slightly or fully. You can do this step up to a day ahead.
  • Mix together the quinoa, chickpeas, cucumber, carrot, feta, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
  • To make the dressing, stir together the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, Dijon, oregano (if using), salt, and pepper. Toss into the salad and mix thoroughly. Serve or store for later.

Notes

  • Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Add strawberries, blueberries or sliced apples or pears to this salad if serving to kids if you think they might need more enticement to try it.
  • Serve the different ingredients next to each other if your kids prefer their food side-by-side.
  • Toss the salad well to ensure that the dressing coats the ingredients well.
  • Season to taste with salt to ensure that it's the right level for your own particular taste buds.

Nutrition

Calories: 350kcal, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 500mg, Potassium: 370mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1872IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 118mg, Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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