Greek Quinoa Salad

It's a tradition in our family to have Easter at my brother and sister-in-law's house. Everyone gets together to have lunch and brings a dish or two. There's usually the ham, Freeport Bakery breads, fresh fruit, roasted veggies and (of course) there's dessert! But we tend to bring a variety of salads. We are salad people but not necessarily the traditional types of salad - we like to have fun and experiment with new salads and flavors.
My beautiful niece holding the salad.

This is where being GF is easy! It's so simple to create great tasting and easy gluten free salads. And because I kind of threw this dish together at the spur of the moment, I didn't do any exact measuring. But, actually, I don't think it's really necessary anyway - just go by the taste - add/delete what works for you! This Greek Quinoa Salad can be easily modified to be 100% vegan by omitting the feta and chicken. With all of the wonderful flavors in this salad, you really wouldn't miss them and the quinoa has all the protein you need!

Greek Quinoa Salad

-Chicken Marinade-
4 organic & hormone-free (boneless/skinless) chicken breasts

1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 heaping tbsp. each: chopped fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme and garlic
salt and pepper

-Slice each of the breasts in half to form a steak. Blend all of the marinade ingredients together in a large plastic baggie; add the chicken and seal. Place in a bowl in the fridge and let marinate at least 4 hours but not longer than 8 hours (otherwise the acid in the lemon juice will start to cook the chicken resulting in a mushy mess.)
-You can either grill the chicken or bake on a sheet at 350 and 45-55 minutes. Let cool and chop.

2 cups golden quinoa, rinsed well
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or water)

While the chicken is marinating, you can make the quinoa. Place the rinsed quinoa in a rice cooker with the stock or water. Set it and forget it! Once it's done, remove the pot from the cooker and fluff. SO easy!

1 large cucumber, peeled/seeded/large dice
1 smallish jar roasted red bell peppers, drained/diced
1/2 of a large jar of capers, rinsed
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained/chopped
1/2 jar kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (I forgot to add these but I know they'd be awesome!)
1/2 cup good Feta, crumbled
1 cup toasted pine nuts or roasted cashews, chopped (I used the cashews-it's what I had)

-Once the chicken and quinoa are cooked, blend together with the above ingredients (you may want to leave out the nuts until just before serving so that they're still crunchy.)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or you could use the oil from the artichoke hearts)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
2 tsp. each: chopped fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme 
about 3 cloves garlic, minced

-Blend the dressing together and pour over the salad; toss together. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Finish the salad by adding:

about 8 large mint leaves, chopped

-Blend in. You can chill this for several hours or eat right away. Amazingly delicious either way!

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