Lately I have been trying to like quinoa. I know it is amazingly good for me and a healthier option than many of the carbs I love so much. The first time I tried quinoa was a few years ago and I really didn’t like it, it was pretty flavorless and the texture was not my favorite. I have since learned that it absorbs a lot of flavor and so it requires more seasoning than rice or pasta and that the texture is not as bad as I thought. I made some for a dinner recently and had quite a bit leftover (apparently a little also goes a long way). I was trying to go with a Mediterranean theme for dinner tonight and remembered growing up my mom really liked tabouleh (& I really disliked it b/c of the texture). Well, quinoa sorta reminds me of tabouleh in texture so I thought why not go that direction.
I have also been trying to eat more cooked fish (go figure, I will eat it raw, but really don’t care for it cooked). So we did a Mediterranean grilled fish, grilled green beans and the quinoa salad. Hubby said it was a very “earth muffin meal”. HA! I will still have to work on being able to eat entire filets of fish, but the rest was quite tasty. Even hubby liked the quinoa salad and if hubby liked it, we might just be on to something! This makes a great side to grilled chicken or fish and the flavor palatte is crisp and very summery!
Cook the quinoa according to package directions. I like to cook mine in chicken broth (veggie broth would work too), just adds good depth of flavor.
Meanwhile, cut up the shallot and sauté in just a little olive oil. At the last minute throw in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute. Not too long or it will burn. Remember to season your shallots with some salt and pepper. Don’t worry, the quinoa will be able to handle it and you want to layer your flavors. Set aside.
Peel the cucumber, cut in half crossways and then lengthwise. Take out the seeds and squishy part in the middle until you have half moons and slice just a little chunky. Set aside.
Cut the Kalamata olives in half crossways and set aside.
Once the quinoa has cooked and is cooled at least to room temperature. Add the cucumbers, shallots, tomatoes and olives. Stir to combine.
Add the chopped parsley, juice the lemon into the quinoa mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the cheese crumbles for each individual serving.