This quinoa salad has the simplest ingredients and is so delicious. I intended this to be a side-dish for dinner. It never made it that far. My kids were hovering when I made this. They kept coming by and snatching a bell pepper slice, then an olive, then a mozzarella ball. Finally when I had it mixed all together they wanted the whole salad. I made them wait. I needed some pictures and that can take some time. Every five minutes or so they would ask, “Can we have some now?” Finally, I was able to divvy up the salad. They gobbled it up and came in looking for more! Needless to say, there wasn’t any left for dinner. I guess I can’t complain. That was a pretty healthy snack they had! This salad is easy enough to throw together so I can make it again soon…..next time I’d better double…or maybe even triple this salad!
I had been searching for a great recipe for quinoa salad. I never found one where I loved all the ingredients so I decided to create my own. When I started throwing this salad together, I added just the lemon juice and then tasted it. I found it didn’t need anything more, except a bit of fresh ground pepper. It was perfect with just lemon juice as a dressing. This is so much healthier than a dressing with added oils and it really is super yummy.
This salad uses kalamata olives and fresh mozzarella cheese. Both items can be found in the deli area of a grocery store. Not all stores carry an olive bar, but when they do, they often carry fresh mozzarella too. These mozzarella balls are small, about the same size as the olives or cherry tomatoes.
When using quinoa, always rinse your quinoa well first. Otherwise you will be left with a bitter tasting quinoa. To do this, I measure out the amount I need into a large bowl. Then fill the bowl with water. I use my fingers to gently massage the small quinoa together. The water will become a bit murky. I then pour the quinoa into a very fine mesh strainer and rinse under water. Then cook according to package directions.
Quinoa, bell peppers, olives and mozzarella
- 1 cup cooked quinoa cooled
- 1 small orange or yellow bell pepper sliced thin
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives pitted and halved
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella balls quartered
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves sliced thinly
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, bell pepper, olives, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
- Squeeze lemon juice over mixture.
- Add fresh ground pepper.
- Taste salad. Add more lemon juice or pepper if needed.
- Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate to serve later.
Fresh mozzarella balls can often be found in the deli section where fine olives are sold. You want small sized balls, similar in size to cherry tomatoes.
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