Monday, July 15, 2013

The Best Quinoa Salad, EVER

Ok, I know what you're thinking...."Really, Gina, the best?  I mean, come on, how could it be the best?!".  Let me preface this post by telling you that ever since I was a young girl I have been obsessed  with olives (black, green, I don't care) and anything pickled (I can only imagine what I will crave when I'm pregnant. I have this feeling I will be making Nick go for grocery runs to get me some pickled beets. Seriously, I just know it).  Last year around this time our neighbor Katie came over with an amazing quinoa salad.  I took one bite and instantly fell in love.  I realized it was the combination of cucumber and dill that really grabbed hold of my taste buds, and sent me to heaven on Earth (haha, like that?!). When I asked her for the recipe she basically just gave me the list of ingredients and told me she just adds everything together, without measuring. Well, as strange at that sounds, when I tried it for the first time last year, it worked! And of course when I tried it again this year, it worked again (who doesn't love a recipe that involves zero measuring?!).  Of course, I know there are a handful of people who get some anxiety when a recipe doesn't tell you exactly how much of each ingredient to use, therefore I'll provide some measurements for you (and I will use these to come up for an estimate for the nutrition facts).

The Best Quinoa Salad, Ever
Serves ~5


Quinoa (~ 2 cups cooked)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (~ 2 Tbsp)

Carrot (~1 large)

Cherry tomatoes, halved (~5-6)

Reduced Fat Feta cheese (~1/2 cup)

Cucumber, chopped (~1-cup)

Dill (~3 loose Tbsp)

** When you make this recipe yourself be sure to add more or less of certain ingredients, based on your own preferences. **


Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, allow to sit for about an hour so the flavors all blend together, then devour and thank me :)  Actually no, thank my neighbor who introduced this salad to me a couple years ago.  I'll never forget it.  It was a moment of pure bliss.  There is something about the dill and the cucumber (pickle, hello!) plus the feta and olive oil that really got me hooked.

NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, you'll be pleased to know this is low FODMAPs.  Enjoy!

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1/5th of recipe

Nutrition Highlights:  Good source of protein, iron and fiber, and an excellent source of vitamin A

Other Nutrition Highlights

- Quinoa is a gluten free whole grain

- The olive oil contains monounsaturated fats, which may help reduce inflammation and increase good cholesterol

- The tomatoes contain lycopene, which promotes skin, heart and prostate health

- The carrots and tomato contain beta carotene, which promotes skin and heart health, and may play a role in cancer prevention

- The fats from the olive oil help you absorb both the lycopene and beta carotene. 
Do you ever eat tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. by themselves? You should always include a bit of healthy fats to help promote the bioavailability (absorption) of their disease-fighting nutrients! Another way to promote bioavailability is to cook these foods.

I really love how salads, of all types, are basically a blank canvas.  You can do just about anything to a salad to make it fit your own taste preferences.  I've got a couple more whole grain salads coming your way soon, so get excited.

Question:  Which ingredient would you add more or less of, to make this recipe fit your unique taste preferences?

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd


  1. this salad has everything I love - its the best :) :)

  2. I conveniently have all ingredients on hand minus the dill which I'll have to omit anyways because of my dislike for it but this looks like it will taste just as good without it!

    1. Not a fan of dill?? I bet basil or parsley would work well too, or rosemary!

  3. I'm a huge fan of tabbouleh-like salads in the summer. I usually add a variety of herbs, but rarely does dill make the bowl. I loveee that idea with the cucumbers. And I agree - I'm a pickle fan all the way!

  4. I made this salad tonight for dinner and it was SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOODDDDD!!!!!!!! I love that I can adjust the amount of veggies to my liking! The only big change I did was I used a chile infused olive oil which was perfect!

    Thanks for another great recipe!

    1. EXCELLENT! So glad you liked it!! Chile infused olive oil sounds awesome. I think I would like that.....