Perfect for summer cookouts and easy dinners, this Greek Quinoa Salad is filling, healthy, and full of savory Greek flavors.
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A savory, herby, and crunchy salad, this Greek Quinoa Salad is the perfect easy recipe for warm summer months. Bring it to your next barbecue or cookout or use it to meal prep and pack it up for healthy lunches throughout the week!
Anyone else super surprised that it’s already JUNE?!
I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised, given what a year 2020 has been so far. I mean, how am I to expect that anything is going to go or feel normal given everything that we’ve been through in the last few months?
But, given my shock, and the weather that’s suddenly sunny and warm, I’ve decided it’s finally time to slow my roll on the baking, allow my kitchen to cool off and get together some good summer barbecue and cookout recipes!
And what’s better for summer barbecues than a fresh and veggie-filled versatile salad (Ok, ok, aside from some freshly smoked or grilled meat or fish, that is 😉 the whole family will love?
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Because this salad is easy to make (it only takes a few basic steps), transports easily, and goes with so many sides (smoked meats or fish, anyone?).
You also can pack the leftovers of this salad for lunch the next day, or just enjoy at home — ’cause, well, some of us still need to make the best of working from home, right?
And even if no small barbecues are on your schedule, who says this large vegetarian salad can’t make a delicious light summer dinner? After all, it doesn’t heat up the whole kitchen and you can top it with some grilled chicken or fish or stir in some garbanzo beans or lentils for more staying power.
Either way, let’s treat ourselves for making it to summer this year. And celebrate in all the meaningful ways — big and small, especially with some good food. 💗
This Greek Quinoa Salad is…
- Brimming with vegetables
- Rich in heart-healthy fats
- High in plant-based protein
- Perfect for barbecues and summer cookouts
- A delicious light dinner
- Dressed in a delicious & EASY dill and red wine vinegar salad dressing
- Great for meal prep or portable lunches
Whether you’re looking for healthy and packable lunches, a light dinner, or want a good salad to bring to your next barbecue or cookout this greek salad is a winner!
Ingredients in this quinoa salad:
Quinoa — this fluffy and nutty grain is the only grain with enough amino acids to provide complete protein.
Garlic — garlic provides delicious depth to the salad dressing and highlights the other Greek flavors.
Red wine vinegar — a classic Greek ingredient, red wine vinegar is the foundation of the dressing.
Lemon juice & zest — these add an extra perk to the dressing, making it bright and memorable.
Dried oregano — a savory herb with a slightly tangy finish, oregano goes to well with the vinegar and lemon juice and is a quintessential Greek spice.
Dried dill — a savory herb with a lightly sweet finish, dill complements the oregano but cuts any bite of the dressing, balancing it out.
Olive oil — an olive oil using Greek olives is best, if you can find one, but extra virgin olive oil is also great for this recipe.
Cucumber — chopped up cucumbers add crunch and refreshment to this salad. Seed them if you wish, or just use an English cucumber. No need to peel them, either, as the skin is where many of the nutrients are!
Tomatoes — sweet tomatoes balance out the tart and herby dressing. Baby or grape tomatoes are best but seeded Roma or sandwich tomatoes also work.
Sweet peppers — these crunchy vegetables aren’t classic Greek vegetables, but they go so well with the flavors of the salad and I love how they balance out the acidic and briny flavors. For color, I used one half a yellow pepper and one half of a red, but you can also just use 1 whole pepper of either color.
Kalamata olives — one of the classic Greek olive, Kalamata olives are relatively easy to find here at most major grocery stores in the states. Look for pitted ones if possible (to save you hassle!) and slice them in half to see their beautiful purple flesh.
Feta cheese — this briny cheese just makes the salad. Buy it in a block and crumble it for the most authentic experience, but pre-crumbled feta is just fine, too!
Fresh dill and oregano — I use dried herbs in this recipe for most ease and affordability, but you can also use fresh instead of dried. Just use…
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill
- 2 1/4 teaspoons fresh oregano
Dijon — Dijon is listed as an optional ingredient in this recipe. This is because though it adds amazing depth to the dressing, it isn’t a classic Greek ingredient. So, if you’re wanting to stay more purist, feel free to omit!
How do you make this Greek Quinoa Salad?
You can make this quinoa salad in a few simple steps:
- Rinse the quinoa and cook it according to the package directions (or how I like to cook it, below!) and let the quinoa cool until at least at room temperature.
- Whisk up all the salad dressing ingredients except for the olive oil until combined.
- Very slowly whisk the olive oil into the dressing until the dressing is emulsified, or the oil and vinegar are no longer separated.
- Place the quinoa, veggies, olive, and on a large serving platter or in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the salad dressing over the salad and toss the salad until all the vegetables are evenly mixed in.
- Chill the quinoa salad until serving or serve right away. Enjoy!
How do you get rid of quinoa’s soapy flavor?
Confession time: I didn’t eat quinoa for a long time because I didn’t dig the soapy flavor!
Then — thankfully — I discovered that rinsing quinoa can remove that soapiness!
To rinse it, just place your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and run water evenly over the quinoa in the strainer for 10-15 seconds, or until all the quinoa has been rinsed.
How do you cook fluffy quinoa?
Here’s my super low-stress way to cook fluffy quinoa: just cook it like you would pasta!
That’s right, cook your rinsed quinoa in a large saucepan of salted water for 14-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer and you have tender and fluffy quinoa!
How do you quickly cool cooked quinoa?
To quickly cool your quinoa pour it out on a large dinner plate and spread it out evenly. Then place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, or until it’s at least room temperature, and your quinoa is ready to go!
How do you make a salad dressing that doesn’t separate?
This is a fun trick that I learned from a chef friend a few months ago!
To make a dressing that doesn’t separate, slowly (and I mean slowly!) drizzle in the olive oil into the vinegar base while you vigorously whisk the dressing together. Continue to whisk the dressing together for 15-30 seconds after you’ve drizzled the olive oil in and you should have a perfectly emulsified dressing!
If it still separates, that most likely means you didn’t drizzle the olive oil slowly enough, so just try again next time you make a dressing. 😊 It just takes a little practice!
What else can you use the Greek salad dressing on?
This Greek salad is super versatile. You can use it to dress a simple green salad, you can make a pasta salad with it, or you can even marinate chicken or steak with it!
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What olives are best for this recipe?
Kalamata olives are my recommended olive for this recipe, but black Greek olives or canned black olives will also work in a pinch!
What are some optional recipe add-ins for this salad?
This salad is surprisingly versatile. You can adapt it to how hungry you are or what textures your craving, or even what other types of flavors you want to taste in it.
Chickpeas — Add a little extra fiber and protein by adding drained and rinsed chickpeas (or garbanzo beans). They go so well with the Greek dressing flavors. Just toss them in the salad along with the veggies, cheese, and olives.
Red or green onions — if you’re looking for a bit of a crunch or “bite” to your salad, just add 1/2 cup diced red or green onions with the rest of your veggies!
Avocado — creamy avocado balances out the flavors in this salad so nicely. Dice up a half or whole (depending on how much avocado you want) and gently fold it in after stirring in the rest of your veggies.
Lentils — green or black lentils add some more plant-based protein and heartiness to this salad. Stir 1- 1.5 cups of cooked and drained lentils into the quinoa before continuing with the rest of the recipe.
Grilled or rotisserie chicken — cut up pieces of chicken can make this salad more satisfying and rich in protein. Add 1- 1.5 cups of chicken to the salad when you mix in the other toppings.
Leafy greens — give this salad more nutrition and veggies by mixing in 2 cups of leafy greens. Baby spinach or kale or baby mixed greens would all be delicious!
How do you serve this quinoa salad?
- As a main dish salad with pita chips or crusty bread
- Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Salmon
- Shrimp kebabs
- With a nice glass of…
- Chenin Blanc
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
- A light lager beer
Do you serve this quinoa salad warm or cold?
You can serve this salad either way, so do so however you prefer!
Serving the salad warm makes it seem a bit heartier and more filling whereas serving it cool is more refreshing and cooling. See my recipe notes for how to prepare it both warm and cold.
Is this recipe vegetarian or vegan?
Yes, this recipe is vegetarian as-is. If you stir in grilled chicken or serve it alongside grilled meat or fish, your meal will no longer be vegetarian, though.
This salad does have feta cheese in it so it is not naturally vegan. To make it vegan, simply omit the cheese from the recipe.
Is Greek Quinoa Salad gluten-free?
Yes, none of the ingredients have gluten in them so this quinoa salad is naturally gluten-free!
How long does quinoa salad last in the refrigerator?
Quinoa salad lasts covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Can you freeze quinoa salad?
I do not recommend freezing quinoa salad. The texture of the fresh vegetables in this salad change when they are frozen and will be mushy whenever you defrost it.
What tools do you need to make this recipe?
- Medium-sized saucepan
- Medium-size mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Citrus juicer
- Lemon zester or Microplane
- Cutting board
- Chef knife (this knife is amazing for the super affordable price!)
- Rubber or silicone spatula
- Serving bowl or serving platter
- Serving spoon
Other cookout salad and grilling recipes you might enjoy!
- 5 Bean Salad (Vegan + Gluten-Free!)
- Mediterranean Chickpea & Orzo Salad
- Roasted Sweet Potato & Quinoa Salad
- Blueberry & Avocado Salad
- Mom’s Tuna Macaroni Salad
- Roasted Tomato Salad with Burrata Cheese
- Chickpea & Grilled Corn Salad
- Mexican Chicken Marinade
- Honey Spicy Chicken Marinade
- Tri-Tip Steak Marinade
- Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese & Sundried Tomatoes
Or, get my list of 31 Best Healthy Salad Recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers!
Looking for more healthy meal prep recipes (and another quinoa salad recipe)? Then, check out my FREE Meal Prep Recipe eBook!
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- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions*
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional**)
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped cucumber***
- 1 1/2 up halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 large (or 2 halves) sweet yellow and/or red pepper, diced into 1/2" pieces
- 3/4 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl whisk together the garlic, red wine vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, oregano, dill, Dijon mustard (if using), and black pepper until combined.
- While continually whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until all the olive oil is added and the oil and vinegar are emulsified, or no longer separated.
- In a large serving bowl or mixing platter, combined the cooled quinoa, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sweet pepper, olives, and feta cheese. Lightly fold together until the vegetables are evenly mixed in.
- Drizzle in the salad dressing and lightly toss the salad until combined (add the dressing to your taste, you might not want to add the whole bowl).
- Let the salad cool until serving or serve right away. Enjoy!
1.* Or, cook your rinsed quinoa in a large saucepan of salted water, just like you would pasta, for 14-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh strainer.
To quickly cool your quinoa pour it out on a large dinner plate and spread it out evenly. Then place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, or until it's at least room temperature, and your quinoa is ready to go!
2.**The dijon mustard in the dressing is optional. It adds a savory depth to the dressing that I love but isn't a typical Greek ingredient, so use it if you want that depth.
3.***Peel or seed your cucumber if you wish, though keeping the peel on adds a nice color and extra nutrition. You can also buy an English cucumber to save yourself the hassle of seeding.
4. If you're in a pinch, you can also substitute in a bottled Greek Salad dressing. I recommend the homemade, however, if you have the extra 3 minutes. 🙂
5. To serve your quinoa salad warm, just skip the quinoa cooling step.
6. This salad lasts covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. I do not recommend freezing it.
7. To make this salad more filling, you can mix in 1-1.5 cups grilled and chopped chicken, drained and rinsed garbanzo beans, or cooked green or black lentils.
8. To make this salad vegan, simply omit the feta cheese.
9. You can also dress a green Greek salad with this Greek dressing recipe or marinate chicken or steak in it!
Amount Per Serving Calories 245Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 13mgSodium 445mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 4g
This nutrition breakdown is just an estimate of the nutritional value of this recipe and cannot be taken as facts. The owners of Mae's Menu are not nutritionists or dieticians and therefore cannot be held accountable for this nutrition estimate. Please contact your nutritionist or medical professional for a nutritional breakdown of this food. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.