Every once in a while, after weeks of not paying attention to what I’ve been eating, I get the urge to do a “cleanse” of sorts. Not the kind of cleanse you’re thinking of. I will not drink juice for days on end no matter how many of my friends swear it made them skinny. I would turn into the meanest of mean people, and I try to avoid that at all costs.
So in my little cleanse, I stop eating junk food and start eating hearty, filling foods with lots of protein and vitamins. I typically lean towards cold salads – chickpea salads are a favorite – and lots of filling vegetable soups.
I’ve already made my Mediterranean chickpea salad a million times over, so when I saw stumbled on Ree’s Mediterranean orzo salad on Pinterest the other day, I thought I should try something a little less bean-y. I felt that using a pasta would diminish the point of making something like this in the first place, so I turned to quinoa instead. It’s light and fluffy, just like a pasta is, but it has much more nutritive value.
So I set out to make my Mediterranean quinoa salad. I cooked quinoa, chopped vegetables, whisked up a dressing, and mixed it all together. But, the power of the garlic was so overwhelming. I mean, it could kill a vampire. It was that strong.
I figured I better add something more to the salad to even out the potency of the dressing. Enter the white beans. Luckily, I had a sad, lonely can of haricots blancs in the back of my cabinet. It had been sitting there untouched for months, because I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I had bought it for. So I tossed it in the salad, hoping that it would be the answer to my garlic problem.
The ended up being the perfect ingredient for my salad. I’m blanking on other words at the moment, but their blandness was actually the perfect balance to the other flavors in the salad. Plus, they added more protein and another 2 – 3 servings to the recipe. I couldn’t have been more pleased with their addition.
And that, my friends, is how my Mediterranean quinoa salad became Mediterranean quinoa and bean salad. So if you’re thinking about skipping the beans, I recommend leaving out about half of the garlic. Trust me on that.
If you love this quinoa salad, be sure to try my caprese quinoa salad, too.
- For the salad:
- 4 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 14-ounce can small white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- Crumbled feta cheese (optional, for topping)
- For the dressing:
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad and stir to evenly coat.
- Calories: 0
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated Fat: 0 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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