Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

Updated: May 26

This is the easiest and most nutritious vegan quinoa meal prep for the week. It’s packed with healthy fat, protein, carbohydrates, and veggies. A 100% plant-based balanced meal that’s incredibly easy to make! With a citrus depth of flavor and a hint of herbs that brings everything together, this Mediterranean quinoa salad recipe is simple, tasty, and affordable. It only takes 30 minutes to make this bowl of deliciousness!

A Mediterranean diet is among the healthiest diets in the world. When some of its main ingredients are combined with an ancient grain that the Incas used as their main source of energy, you end up with a powerful, rich, and high-protein meal.

Although I grew up in Peru, one of the areas where quinoa originated, it wasn’t until I moved to the U.S. that I started eating quinoa more regularly. It’s odd how a type of food that has been so prominent and powerful in ancient civilizations for thousands of years is just recently becoming more accessible and recognized worldwide as one of the most nutritious foods there is.

Details:


Yield: 6 servings

Prep time: 10 min

Cooking time: 20 min

Total time: 30 min

Vegan. Gluten-free.


Ingredients:


1 ½ cup quinoa

3 cups of water

1 cucumber

1 green bell pepper

5 Roma tomatoes

4 oz Kalamata olives

1 can chickpeas

½ tsp salt


Lime Vinaigrette:

1 lime

3 tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp seasoning blend

1 tsp cumin

Sprinkle lemon zest

Pepper to taste


Directions:


1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water for a couple of minutes.

2. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add the rinsed quinoa, and reduce the heat to simmer.

3. Let the quinoa simmer covered with a lid for 20 minutes and add salt once it’s fully cooked. Let sit for 5 minutes.

4. While the quinoa is cooking, wash and chop all the vegetables and set them aside in a bowl.

5. For the vinaigrette, put all the ingredients together in a cup, whisk the mixture, and set aside.

6. Once the quinoa is ready, add it to the same bowl with the chopped vegetables. Then, add the chickpeas (remember to get rid of the water from the can first) and mix well.

7. Finally, pour the vinaigrette and voila! It’s ready to serve or store in containers for the week.


Notes:


- You can garnish with green onions, hummus, and/or paprika. They all work incredibly well for this dish.

- You can substitute Roma tomatoes with cherry tomatoes. I chose Roma tomatoes because they’re more affordable than cherry tomatoes.

- Rinse the chickpeas before adding them to the bowl to remove the excess sodium.


Approximate Cost:


$15. This takes into account the measurements listed in the ingredients section and for the main ingredients only. Does not include seasoning.



Nutrition:


*Quinoa is an ancient food that originated around 5,000 years ago in the Andes and in the past few years has gained global popularity due to its health benefits and nutritional value. It’s a grain crop grown for its edible seeds. This means that quinoa is a seed, which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain. It’s perfect for people with gluten intolerance as it’s gluten-free. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids making it an excellent source of protein - This is referred to as a “complete protein” food. It has both more and better protein than most grains.


*Chickpeas are high in protein and fiber, which makes them a filling food that may help lower appetite throughout the day. Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein with a variety of health benefits ranging from weight management and blood sugar levels to bone health.

The fiber in chickpeas is mostly soluble, meaning it blends with water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. This may help increase the healthy bacteria in your gut and prevent the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. And what’s more, they’re incredibly versatile, affordable, and convenient.


*Kalamata olives are rich in monounsaturated fat, also known as healthy fat which helps in reducing cholesterol levels.

Olives are a great source of calcium, vitamin A, and fiber. Calcium is best absorbed when combined with potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Combining olives with tomatoes, kale, pasta, or quinoa can increase its calcium absorption.

Olives, like olive oil, contain phenolic compounds, which are natural antioxidants. It is this compound that gives olives their distinctive taste.

While generally healthy, Kalamata olives are high in sodium, largely due to the canning and preservation process. If you’re watching your sodium intake, look for a low-sodium alternative.


Try this plant-based quinoa recipe when you need something healthy, nutritious, and simple! I often make this when I’m planning on longer workout sessions at the gym.


Did you try this healthy quinoa salad recipe with a zesty twist? Let me know in the comments below and/or tag your creation on Instagram #everyhealthybite

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