Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa Salad – This mediterranean quinoa salad has such beautiful flavors. It’s perfect for meal prep or easy lunches throughout the week. (Gluten Free & Vegan)
I was talking with a friend last week about how different life is going to be in 9 weeks(ish) when both Milo and Sophie are in school full-time. It’s going to be a VERY different chapter.
For the last 7 years or so, I’ve worked on this blog in between naps and quiet times, before the sun is up and after the sun is down, and whenever the kids are happy playing and I can get in a few minutes here or there. When Milo started preschool, I suddenly got about 2 hours, 3 times per week to fit things in, but even so, most of my work is definitely done in the fringe hours.
I love working on this blog. I absolutely love it. Even when some new technology or regulation crops up, or I need to learn a new skill, or master a new kind of social media, this is something I *love* doing.
In 9(ish) weeks, my kids are going to be in school full-time. And I’m going to have about 6 hours every day to fill. It’s going to be so strange and exciting and sad and wonderful and hard all at once. And I have no idea what that will do to what goes on here on the blog.
We start summer vacation this week (on Wednesday afternoon!), and I’m looking forward to one last hurrah before they’re both gone during the day. My plan is to spend a lot of time swimming, and reading, and just being together. So, I’m going to be keeping meals as simple as possible.
That’s been a total theme lately around here–easy, convenient meals that come together quickly and have lots of replay value. One of my go-tos is quinoa salads for lunch and this sun-dried quinoa salad was MADE for this!
Quinoa is the perfect base for a make-ahead or meal prep lunch. I love that it’s hearty and filling and packs a nice protein punch. Plus, it plays nicely with so many flavor combinations that just about anything goes! For this sun dried tomato quinoa salad, I kept a mediterranean theme.
The quinoa is flavored by tangy kalamata olives, the lovely depth of sun-dried tomatoes, and a bit of freshness from the spinach and basil that keep me coming back for more. Plus, leftovers just get better and better.
I usually make this for myself, to be enjoyed as lunches all week long. But when I make it for the family, I keep the components separate and let them choose what they will. Full disclosure: that often means Sophie only eats the olives and chickpeas, and Milo pretends it doesn’t exist and focuses his attention on the fruit or maybe a little chicken. (Someday we’ll get it, right? Riiiight?)
Whatever anyone does (or doesn’t) choose to add, this is one of those easy lunches I love putting on repeat. I hope you will too!
Notes on Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa Salad
Let’s talk olive oil. You can easily kick the flavor up a notch in this salad by using a flavored olive oil (Queen Creek Olive Mill makes my favorites), or by using some of the olive oil from your sun-dried tomatoes. I love Jeff’s Naturals brand sun dried tomatoes because the ingredients list is so simple.
Do you know how to cook quinoa? It’s really easy. I’ve got a little tutorial here, but my biggest tip: rinse it in a sieve before cooking. It’ll take any bitterness away and make the quinoa taste much more neutral (and more like rice).
Mix-ins & Variations – You could certainly add in different varieties of olives, or try some finely minced celery for a bit of crunch. If you’re not vegan, you can also add some cooked chicken to fill this out even more. Or, you can try adding a tablespoon or two of pesto in place of the olive oil to kick up the flavor. (Do know that it’ll turn your salad greenish)
More Quinoa Salads to Love…
- Powerhouse Quinoa Salad
- Confetti Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
- My Big Fat Greek Quinoa Salad
- Spring Roll Quinoa Salad
This mediterranean quinoa salad has such beautiful flavors. It’s perfect for meal prep or easy lunches throughout the week. (Gluten Free & Vegan)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups fresh spinach, cut into ribbons or torn into small pieces
- 1/2 cup kalamata olives (or your favorite olives)
- 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and minced
- 2-4 Tbsp fresh basil, cut into ribbons or torn
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4tsp – 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
- 1/4 tsp -1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Let cool.
- Stir in chickpeas, spinach, olives, sun dried tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Taste and adjust amounts or seasonings as desired. Serve warm or cold!