This recipe is an oldie but a goodie! I remember my aunt made this recipe for a family gathering years ago and I’ve been making it ever since. Back when I was still strictly a vegetarian, my family always made sure there was a recipe I could enjoy at holidays and other family gatherings and this was a favorite. This was was one of those recipes and it was how I was first introduced to quinoa. Quinoa is a versatile grain that I like to use in place of rice or other grains, in salads, it bakes well in casseroles, and I have on the side as a healthy carb option. Quinoa does provide some protein macros which is great if you’re a vegetarian, but I consider quinoa to be a carbohydrate macro rather than a protein.
This recipe is a more macro friendly alternative to traditional pasta salad that is popular at summer gatherings and it’s also perfect for meal prep. It’s served cold with added veggies with minimal oils or dressing which can add a lot fat and calories to meals. To add some protein macros to this prepped meal, I like to have cottage cheese and a hard boiled egg on the side. Recipes similar to this are all over the internet, so feel free to use a variety of recipes to make your own meal.
what you’ll need
- 185 g, or 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 7 oz cucumber
- 3 oz red onion
- 2 oz cherry tomatoes
- 15 g kalamata olives
- 1/2 C reduced fat feta cheese
- lemon juice
- olive oil
Cook quinoa according to directions on package – be sure to read the measurements for a serving size. I usually makeup 1 cup uncooked quinoa at a time, which yields about 2 cups cooked and keep the extra in the fridge for leftovers. Let quinoa cool in the fridge. Prepare the cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and olives by chopping or slicing into bite size pieces. I like halving the cherry tomatoes and dicing the onion to a smaller sizes. In a large bowl mix together the quinoa, veggies, feta cheese and combine. Add in a splash of lemon juice, a tiny bit of olive oil, and a dash of pepper to your liking. Mix everything together and chill for a few hours or divide into your favorite meal prep containers – I like these ones from Easy Lunchboxes.
Calories and macros on one serving – this recipe yields around 4 servings: 155 calories, 16g carbs, 8g fat, 5g protein. Once I add in the egg and cottage cheese my lunch goes up to 315 calories, 20g carbs, 15g fat, 24g protein. Not too bad!
I love that this recipe doesn’t require a lot of oil or dressing to get a good flavor. As the salad “marinates” together, the onion adds a lot of the flavor once mixed in with everything. Hope you try this out!