RecipesSaladsSide Dishes

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (Vegan + GF)

posted by Melissa Huggins May 30, 2018 2 Comments
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad in a white bowl with bottle of olive oil on the side.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad ~ The perfect summery dish! It’s fresh, satisfying and takes less than 30 minutes to make too.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad in a large white bowl, topped with fresh basil sprigs.

I went to a potluck last weekend and I brought along my Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. It was a total hit and I couldn’t believe how fast it disappeared!

Oh, and it was mostly non-vegans digging in, so it was a proud moment for me.

I received a lot of requests for the recipe that evening, so I figured I’d share it with you guys too. You’ll definitely want to bring it to your next barbecue, potluck or picnic.

It’s super easy, tasty, and inexpensive to make. Plus, it can feed a whole herd of humans!

And if you really want to impress them, you can bring along these Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes for dessert too.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad dressing in a small white bowl. Oil and vinegar on the side.

The dressing

It really brings out the flavors of the veggies and pulls everything together. You can whip up this zesty dressing in minutes. Here’s what you’ll need: (full amounts in recipe card below)

Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Lemon juice
Dijon mustard
Maple syrup
Dried oregano
Garlic
Sea salt
Fresh-cracked pepper
Crushed red chile pepper

Now whisk it all together!

In a small-medium bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together. The dressing is easily adjusted by personal taste, so just add more or less of the listed ingredient amounts as needed.

It might taste a little tangy or salty, but it will be spread over a lot of quinoa and veggies, so keep that in mind.

 

Large white bowl filled with Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. Ingredients are separated.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

The ingredients are basic and easy to find at your local grocery store. Here’s what you’ll need:

Extra firm tofu
Quinoa
Red onion
Cucumber
Jarred roasted red pepper
Kalamata olives
Fresh basil

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Press and crumble the tofu. Lightly sprinkle it with salt and pour 1-2 tablespoons of dressing on top. Gently work it in with your fingers to coat. If you’d like a tangier flavor, add a small amount of lemon juice.

Now cook the quinoa, dice the red onion and cucumber, cut the red pepper into short strips, slice the olives and chop the basil.

*Tip: I press the tofu and chop the veggies while the quinoa is cooking and it takes about 25-30 minutes to complete. To save time, you can press the tofu in the fridge overnight.

* Also, you can buy jarred roasted red peppers that are pre-sliced to make things even easier. I buy these. Some of the strips may be a little long, so you might want to cut them in half.

Now put it all together!

In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, onion, cucumber, olives, roasted pepper and basil. Pour the dressing over everything and gently toss to combine.

Now taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Top with the marinated tofu crumbles when you’re ready to serve.

You can also place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to let the flavors marinate a little more (keep tofu separate until ready to serve). Taste again before serving.

If needed, add a few squeezes of lemon, and a splash of olive oil to moisten. You can top with vegan parmesan, pine nuts, more basil and fresh-cracked pepper.

 

So versatile

This salad is so easy to customize, so feel free to omit ingredients that you don’t like, and add more of what you do.

You can add things like artichoke hearts, capers, pine nuts, chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, green onions, parsley, mint, sliced almonds, dried fruit and more.

If you’re not into quinoa at all, but love the flavors of this recipe, you may like to try my Mediterranean Pasta Salad. It’s just as tasty!

 

 

 

*Pin for later*

Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

 

 

I’d love to hear from you

If you make this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.

 

 

5 from 1 vote
Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad ~ The perfect summery dish! It's fresh, satisfying and takes less than 30 minutes to make too. 

Course: Salad, Side
Recipe Type: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Servings: 8
Calories: 233 kcal
Author: Melissa Huggins
Ingredients
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu , pressed & crumbled (*see note)
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa , uncooked
  • 1/2 cup red onion , diced small (sub green onion)
  • 1 large cucumber , diced
  • 12 oz jar roasted red pepper , cut into short strips (sub 1 cup diced bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives , halved or sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil , chopped (sub mint)
Dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil , extra virgin
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard (sub yellow)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup , or preferred sweetener
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt , more to taste
  • Fresh-cracked pepper , to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot, add the quinoa to 3 cups of low-boiling water (add a pinch of salt). Put lid on top. Cook until liquid is gone and quinoa is fluffy. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes to cook. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Set aside to cool. (You can spread it out on a tray to cool faster)

  2. In a small-medium bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients together. Adjust flavors as needed. It might taste a little tangy or salty, but it will be spread over a lot of quinoa and veggies, so keep that in mind. Set aside. 

  3. Lightly sprinkle the crumbled tofu with salt, and pour 1-2 tablespoons of dressing on top. Gently work it in with your fingers to coat. If you'd like a tangier flavor, add a small amount of lemon juice (I do this). Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the cooled quinoa, onion, cucumber, olives, roasted pepper and basil. Pour the dressing over everything and gently toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Top with the tofu crumbles when you're ready to serve.

  5. You can also place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to let the flavors marinate a little more (keep tofu separate until ready to serve). Taste again before serving. If needed, add a few squeezes of lemon, and a splash of olive oil to moisten. You can top with vegan parmesan, pine nuts, more basil and fresh-cracked pepper. Enjoy! *Holds up nicely in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

Recipe Notes

*Pressing Tofu: wrap tofu in a few paper towels and place on a flat plate. Add another plate on top of tofu and add a heavy pan or book on top. Let it drain for 15 minutes. You can also press it overnight in the fridge to make it even quicker. *If you don't have time to press the tofu, just wrap the tofu in paper towels and gently squeeze out as much water as you can. Don't press too hard. 

 

 

* To save time cutting, you can buy the roasted peppers that are pre-sliced. If some slices are too long, just cut them in half. 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 (1.25 cups))
Calories 233 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 379mg 16%
Potassium 311mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 32g 11%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 1g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 7.2%
Vitamin C 28.5%
Calcium 5%
Iron 11.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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2 Comments

Hanne June 3, 2018 at 3:51 am

Melissa, Potluck season is upon us and I always get a deer in the headlight feeling when asked to bring a dish. I love that this is fresh, seasonal, vibrant and hearty.
Thank you!

Reply
John June 5, 2018 at 8:34 am

I must say I never cared for quinoa even though its one of the best complete proteins. So I am always trying to find a recipe or different way of cooking it to I can pallet it better. I made this last night and wow it was great. I had leftovers and even put it in a tortilla and it was great too. Many Thanks!

Reply

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