Home > Salads > Greek Quinoa Salad Greek Quinoa Salad January 6, 2019 | 16 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. This nutritious and satiating Greek Quinoa Salad is loaded with fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, black olives, crisp cucumbers, creamy avocado, and salty feta cheese. A simple Greek-inspired dressing tops it off. Try some of our other favorite quinoa salads next — this lemon-vinaigrette-topped Quinoa Salad or our favorite Caprese Quinoa Salad. Greek Quinoa Salad A big Greek salad with loads of feta and a tangy vinaigrette is a favorite at my home — especially with garden-ripe tomatoes! So why not add one of my favorite ingredients (quinoa) to add some bulk, staying power, and protein?! And if we’re going to add quinoa, why not round it all out with some baby spinach?! This salad is satiating, tasty, and loaded with texture. It’s fresh, light, and the kind of meal you can thoroughly enjoy and leaves your body feeling wonderfully nourished. While it may seem that this vegetarian salad is missing protein, it actually has a good amount of protein, thanks to the quinoa. Plus, when you pair the protein in this salad with the good-for-you fats (olive oil in the dressing and avocado in the salad), you’ll be amazed at how filling this salad is. That said, this Greek Quinoa Salad lends well to additional protein being added; I’d recommend shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken. If you’re vegetarian, but would still like additional protein, try adding in some roasted chickpeas. (The chickpeas in these Vegetarian Gyros are our favorite!) Using Quinoa In Salads Below are a few tips for preparing quinoa for Greek Quinoa Salad. Make sure to rinse the quinoa before cooking it. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin which can make it taste bitter. Pour the uncooked quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water thoroughly for 30 seconds to a minute. A lot of packaged quinoa now comes pre-rinsed, so check your package and potentially save a step! You can improve the flavor of quinoa by seasoning it generously. A little bit of salt goes a long way so don’t forget to add it in. To 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, I add 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt. Allow time for the quinoa to steam. Once the liquid is absorbed, don’t rush to cool the quinoa; instead, let it stand (covered) for at least 10 minutes (even better — 15-20 minutes!). Letting it stand allows the quinoa to fully “pop” and ensures it doesn’t end up watery or mushy. If the quinoa has cooked through, but there is still liquid in the pot, make sure to drain off that liquid to avoid soft or mushy quinoa in the final salad. Let the cooked quinoa cool completely before adding the other ingredients. To speed up the process for quinoa cooling, spread the cooked and fluffed quinoa on a sheet pan in one even layer. Place the sheet pan in the fridge (or freezer) for 10-15 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. Our favorite way to make a quinoa salad is with leftover cooled quinoa (it really saves time). So next time you’re prepping food for the week or preparing a dish with quinoa in it, cook up extra quinoa and use it straight from the fridge in this Greek Quinoa Salad. Greek Quinoa Salad Toppings In addition to the quinoa, here is a quick breakdown of the other salad ingredients. Baby spinach. To give the salad bulk, additional nutrients, and even more staying power, I like adding salad greens. Baby spinach is our favorite with all these veggies and it holds the quinoa and dressing nicely — especially if it is coarsely chopped first. Cherry tomatoes. While any tomatoes will work in this salad, we love the sweetness and juiciness of cherry tomatoes. Quarter large cherry tomatoes or halve smaller ones. Fresh avocados. The avocados lend an amazing creamy texture, making this salad taste indulgent. Wait for perfectly ripe avocados, as they make a huge difference — you can tell an avocado is ripe if it yields to firm gentle pressure (feels slightly soft, but not mushy). English or Persian cucumbers (sometimes labeled as mini cucumbers). I don’t recommend regular cucumbers because they lack flavor and texture. They also break down more quickly, which isn’t ideal in this salad. You’ll love the crispness of English/Persian cucumbers! Red onion. If you are sensitive to red onion, feel free to reduce or leave out this ingredient. Alternatively, it can be replaced with green onions or shallots which are even milder. And on the flip side, if you love red onion, increase the amount added to Greek Quinoa Salad. Feta cheese. This salty addition pulls everything together in this salad and gives it that classic Greek salad feel. If you have the choice between buying a block or crumbled feta at your grocery store, always stick with the block. The containers of crumbled feta typically have powdered cellulose which causes the feta to be harder and taste a bit drier. (It also results in shorter shelf life.) Here are some more tips for navigating supermarket feta cheese. Olives. You won’t typically find black olives in an authentic Greek salad, but they’re my family’s favorite in this recipe. Any olive will work nicely — use your favorite. Kalamata olives are a great alternative option to other black olives. Greek-inspired Vinaigrette The dressing on this Greek Quinoa Salad is very simple to make — we combine the ingredients listed below in a jar and shake to combine! Here are a few tips: Olive oil. A good extra virgin olive is going to offer the most robust dressing flavor. Lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice makes a big flavor difference (as opposed to bottled lemon juice). If you love the flavor of lemon, add in some of the zest as well! Honey helps to balance all the tang in the dressing and slightly sweeten it. Dijon mustard helps to thicken the dressing and offers an additional tanginess. While it might seem like different mustard could work in this salad, stick with Dijon. Yellow mustard will make the dressing taste off. Garlic is another ingredient that offers a more robust flavor. If you prefer, use 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder instead. Feel free to increase the amount of garlic if you are a garlic lover. Oregano. We use dried oregano because it’s easily accessible any time of the year, but if you’d prefer fresh, chop it up and throw it in the salad! Salt and pepper are important to seasoning the dressing and the salad. Red wine vinegar offers one more hit of tanginess and nicely complements the oil and lemon juice in this dressing. QUICK TIP You may not use all of the dressing for your Greek Quinoa Salad. I like making a slightly bigger batch in case people like plenty of dressing (I’m one of those people) or so I can have leftovers. Leftover dressing will keep for up to a week in the fridge and is great on raw veggies, roasted veggies, or other salads. Leftover dressing will separate and solidify a bit since olive oil solidifies at cold temperatures. Simply let the dressing stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes and then shake to re-combine– and it’s ready to use! QUICK TIP We love using quinoa in so many recipes because it’s such a nutritious and tasty addition to meals. Quinoa takes on the flavor of surrounding ingredients while adding nutritional benefits and loads of protein. Check out my full list of quinoa recipes here, or look below for links to some of my favorite quinoa salads. More delicious quinoa salads: Southwest Quinoa Salad with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette Kale and Quinoa Salad with a balsamic vinaigrette Thai Quinoa Salad with a peanut dressing Citrus Quinoa Salad with an orange-lemon vinaigrette Sweet Potato-Quinoa Salad with a lemon-honey vinaigrette FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Greek Quinoa Salad - Review this recipe This nutritious and satiating Greek Quinoa Salad is loaded with fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, black olives, crisp cucumbers, creamy avocado, and salty feta cheese. A simple Greek-inspired dressing tops this salad. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Greek Quinoa Salad - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This nutritious and satiating Greek Quinoa Salad is loaded with fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, black olives, crisp cucumbers, creamy avocado, and salty feta cheese. A simple Greek-inspired dressing tops this salad. Course Dinner, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish Cuisine Healthy, Mediterranean Keyword greek quinoa salad Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes Quinoa Chilling Time 1 hour Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes Servings 6 -8 as a side Calories 437kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $8.12 IngredientsSalad1 cup (185g) uncooked quinoa3 cups (61g) baby spinach, coarsely chopped1 cup (160g) cherry tomatoes, halved3/4 cup (87g) black olives or kalamata olives1 cup (142g) English or Persian cucumbers, chopped1/3 cup (47g) red onion, diced1 large ripe avocado, chopped1/4 cup feta cheeseDressing1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (77g) extra virgin olive oil1-1/2 tablespoons EACH: fresh squeezed lemon juice, honey, and Dijon mustard1 clove minced garlic (~3/4 teaspoon)1-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano3 tablespoons (40g) red wine vinegarFine sea salt and pepper InstructionsQUINOA: Prepare the quinoa by rinsing it under cold water in a fine-mesh sieve to remove the bitter saponin coating. Combine the quinoa and 2 cups water in a small pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, add in 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (or to taste), reduce the heat to low, and cover the pot. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, keep covered, and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in the fridge or freezer to cool to room temperature. Quinoa can be prepared 3-4 days in advance. VEGGIE PREP: Coarsely chop the spinach. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and slice the black olives either in half or in slices. Chop cucumber into small pieces and dice the red onion. Finally, chop the avocado.DRESSING: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Cover and shake thoroughly to combine (make sure no honey/Dijon is stuck on the bottom and use a spoon to stir it up and then shake again if needed). Refrigerate until ready to dress. ASSEMBLY: In a large bowl, combine the roughly chopped spinach and quinoa. Toss to combine. Add the tomatoes, olives, cucumber, onion, avocado. Remove the dressing from the fridge and shake well. Before adding dressing, read Instruction #5. Drizzle on the dressing (to desired preference; you may not want it all) and toss to generously coat everything. If desired, add feta cheese. Serve immediately. STORAGE: If you aren't eating this salad all in one sitting and want leftovers, only add avocado, feta, and dressing to what will be eaten. This salad doesn't sit well once dressed. Video Recipe NotesSee the post for substitutions and more ideas to add to this salad. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 648mg | Potassium: 1228mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 11515IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 204mg | Iron: 6mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.