There’s nothing I love more than recipes that are super easy to throw together, hit all of my nutritional benchmarks, and are the best for meal prepping for busy weeks.
This easy quinoa salad was inspired by flavors of the Mediterranean – with toasted pine nuts, a mix of cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, mint, and sumac.
One of my most popular recipes back on my old blog was a quinoa tabbouleh, and honestly I think this recipe turned out even better.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is considered a “pseudo-grain” or an “ancient grain” – grown in the Andes mountains, it’s become super popular in the past few years. Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and it is a complete source of protein – meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that we need (and cannot make ourselves).
This recipe also has a good amount of fiber because of the vegetables and quinoa. I often like to use quinoa in place of rice or other heavier starches, especially if I want to up the protein content of a dish.
This pseudo-grain is a great addition for most salads, side dishes, and even baked goods. The trick with quinoa is to make sure you add lots of spices or herbs to make it tasty, or to cook it in broth rather than just cooking it in water.
What is Sumac?
Sumac is a plant in the cashew family, however the spice comes from crushing up the bush to create a bright purple spice that adds tons of flavor to dishes. I would describe the taste as a bit tangy, but it just adds another depth of flavor to dishes that I love. If you cannot find sumac at a local Middle Eastern store, you can find it here – my favorite spice shop that I came across in Oakland, California. This spice store has everything and anything you could ever imagine, I think it will become your new favorite place if you’re a sucker for new flavors to experiment with! Or if you simple can’t be bothered, you can use equal parts lemon zest in place of it 😉
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups broth
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 persian cucumbers
- ½ red onion
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ½ bunch parsley
- 1 tsp sumac
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- First make the quinoa by brining quinoa and bone broth to a boil, then simmer on low for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool completely
- Meanwhile chop the onion, tomato, cucumber, and parsley in a medium bowl.
- Add the lemon juice, olive oil, sumac, and salt to taste.
- Add the cooked quinoa and garnish with toasted pine nuts.