Salads are an essential part of any summer gathering, but by mid-summer, most are tired of the same old standby salads and want to serve something a little different. Why not try this new Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad? It is delicious, can be made up to 3 days ahead, and is quick and easy, especially if a rice cooker is available to cook the quinoa. As a bonus, this salad is even healthy, supplying fiber, protein, and vitamin C.
Although Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has been around for hundreds of years, it has only recently been named one of the new superfoods and is becoming popular with the mainstream crowd. Previously it was popular with strict vegetarians and health food fanatics, but since it is widely available at warehouse stores and grocery stores, regular people are discovering that it is delicious and very easy to prepare.
Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad is perfect to take on a picnic; it makes a great side dish with grilled meat, chicken, or fish, or, since it’s colorful and attractive, it can proudly be taken to a party as a pot-luck dish.
1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into julienned strips
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, quartered, and sliced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt, (or to taste)
4 to 6 tablespoons hot water
- Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine strainer.
- Transfer to a rice cooker with the water and salt. Turn on the rice cooker. Alternately, bring the water and salt to a boil, add the quinoa, and simmer (covered) until the water is absorbed, 20-25 minutes.
- When the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and transfer it to a large serving bowl to cool.
- Stir in the bell peppers, onion, cucumber, cilantro, and garbanzo beans.
- Make the dressing: Finely grate the zest of the two lemons into the blender.
- Add the tahini, olive oil, garlic, and salt.
- Juice the lemons and add 1/3 cup juice to the blender.
- Blend until smooth, adding hot water to thin; add more lemon juice and/or salt to taste.
- Pour over the salad and mix well.
- Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 209 Calories from Fat 67
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 32% Protein 13% Carb. 55%
Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 426 mg
Total Carbohydrate 29 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 7 g
Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 40% Calcium 0% Iron 18%