Greek Quinoa Salad Recipe with Salmon: Low Carb Dinners
When I was on my honeymoon in 2011, my husband and I ate at an amazing cafe in Mill Valley, California, called Cafe Del Soul, and our favorite dish was a bowl called a “Quinoa Cool.” I loved the idea of a cold, creamy quinoa salad, instead of a dry quinoa dish where the quinoa is literally rolling off of the plate. It was a sticky fusion Latin vegetarian dish with avocado, lime, and black beans, and I never forgot it! In fact, when my husband and I went back to California for our five-year anniversary this year, we went to Cafe Del Soul again! The cozy local cafe proves that healthy eating does not have to be dry and boring, with menu options ranging from nachos to wraps to soups.
Since then, I have created a similar dish with a Greek flourish that I find satisfying as a low-carb, protein-rich option, and every time I make it, I think fondly of the original “Quinoa Cool” in Mill Valley!
Remember, keeping dinners low-carb helps with overall carbohydrate reduction each day! Instead of cutting carbs in the middle of the day, when you need energy, it’s a great idea to focus on lean protein, colorful vegetables, and non-starchy grains in the evening. Quinoa, unlike rice or pasta, is extremely protein-rich and has a very low glycemic index. The Greek flavors give it some punch, but you could also re-tool this dish to give it a Mexican flair, like the original version that I had in California.
Let’s get to it, and make some Greek quinoa salad!
Greek Quinoa Salad Recipe
The Shopping List
- 2 cups white quinoa
- 1.5 lbs. salmon or lean chicken
- 1 lb. grape tomatoes
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 1 large cucumber
- 8 oz. feta cheese (I use reduced fat from Trader Joe’s)
- 3 oz. pitted kalamata olives
- 12 oz. fresh spinach leaves
- 12 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 12 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Oregano and salt to taste
- Put the quinoa either in a rice cooker or in a small pot on the stovetop, with 4 cups of water. If in a rice cooker, follow the instructions. If on the stovetop, allow to come to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Slice the salmon or chicken into bite-sized pieces and saute on the stove top until cooked through, then set aside.
- Chop up the yellow bell peppers and cucumber, then set aside.
- Once the quinoa has fully cooked (you know it’s done when it’s very fluffy and has little white curlicues sticking out of them), allow to cool slightly.
- In a very large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, cooked protein, and chopped bell peppers and cucumber, and then mix in the grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, and the fresh spinach leaves.
- Dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
- Add salt and oregano to taste.
- Stir well.
Separate into six separate serving containers so that you are pre-portioned, and you’re done! You can also eat this dish over greens.