Pauline Thomas, Char Kitchen + Bar’s owner likes this recipe because it goes well with everything, from fish to chicken to steak. “It tastes even better the next day because the quinoa has time to absorb the flavors from the vegetables and lemon juice,” she says. The recipe calls for fresh mint, but people who are mint averse can swap basil or parsley and it works just as well, Thomas says. “But mint is so fragrant and fresh. I think it just wakes up the whole salad.”
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
1 cup uncooked quinoa
5 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ tsp. sea salt
¾ tsp. dried oregano
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 ¼ cups chopped unpeeled cucumber
½ cup pitted olives, sliced
1 whole bell pepper, chopped
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
*Marcona almonds for garnish
*Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, mint and basil (these don’t need to be measured, just use whatever combination of herbs you have)
Rinse quinoa in a bowl with water or place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Transfer to a saucepan and add a healthy pinch of sea salt and 1 ¾ cups water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit covered for 10 minutes.
Transfer quinoa to a serving bowl and allow to cool. Fluff with a fork periodically.
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and oregano together in a jar or small bowl.
Combine cooled quinoa, dressing and remaining ingredients and toss to mix well. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with more feta and almonds.