This salad is an absolute flavor bomb! I used to work in the kitchen of a vegan restaurant, and I’d make a version of this dish that would sell out every day without fail! Even the staff became obsessed with it, and we’d make extra just to take some home in our tupperware (don’t worry, the kitchen manager was totally cool with it) ;).
The herbs in this salad give it a freshness, the lemon zest gives it a zing, and the red chili lends a lingering heat that when combined is a total treat for the taste buds. If you’re like me and can’t survive the day without a dose of this super pseudo-grain, you’ll love this Vegan Turkish Quinoa Salad.
I’m a huge fan of Turkish (or Mediterranean) cooking; it’s light, summery, and fresh, so it’s perfect for those looking to lose weight, up their veggies, or simply eat healthier. This salad is jam-packed with veggies and herbs that contain all kinds of good stuff like iron, potassium, magnesium, lycopene (from tomatoes), and vitamin C, to name a few.
It’s pretty well known that quinoa is an amazing source of protein, and those who follow a vegan diet often consider quinoa a staple and eat it on the reg. I sometimes would have a portion of this dish as a light meal; however if you’re looking to bulk it up, consider adding some grilled tofu or avocado as a side.
If you don’t have every ingredient on hand, you can try subbing in pumpkin seeds, chopped dried apricots, chopped zucchini, chopped red pepper, roasted sweet potato, or even fruit such as cubed apple or halved grapes. Also, be sure not to overcook the quinoa. For salads, I find it’s better for quinoa to be a little chewy, holding its shape rather than being too soft. Onto the recipe!
Vegan Turkish Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely minced
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 bunch fresh mint
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
- juice of one lemon
- zest of one lemon
- 1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine quinoa, water, salt, and cumin in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked (you’ll know it’s done when the germ of the quinoa seed spirals out).
2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare vegetables, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, red chili, and olives and place in a large bowl.
3. Once quinoa is done, fluff with a fork, add lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Place quinoa in freezer and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, add quinoa to the bowl of veggies and herbs and toss salad. Finally, add golden raisins and olive oil, and season with more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve with grilled tofu and/or sliced avocado if desired.
Related: Green Curry Quinoa and Veggie Salad
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Photos: Jaclyn Enchin