Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mediterranean Quinoa Pasta Salad

Quinoa. Now there is a spiffy plant. It's my understanding that quinoa happens to be one of the few plants found in nature that is a complete protein (for human consumption purposes), or something to that effect.

Whenever possible, I try to sneak quinoa into my food pyramid. This could mean quinoa flakes for cereal, quinoa as a rice substitute, or as in this case, using quinoa pasta. I haven't found a quinoa pasta that I am head over heals for, but I continue to search. My issue is that most quinoa pastas tend to be one of two things - very dry upon reheating or the pasta takes on a strange second day consistency. That being said, I am obviously still a big supporter of quinoa in all forms! Look in the bulk section of your local store or near the pastas.

A few Fridays ago, my lovely housemate and I were holding one of our weekly bbqs in the backyard when I had a hankering for a pasta salad. After some digging around in the cabinets and fridge, this recipe was born! It pairs well with a crisp summer white wine and should be devoured with friends. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 c cucumber, diced 
  • 1/4 c tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1/4 c feta cheese
  • 2 1/2 c quinoa pasta, cooked and cooled 
  • 1 small can diced black olives
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c sweet onion, diced 
  • 2 tbsp leek soup mix
  • 1 clove elephant garlic 
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar 
  • salt and pepper 

Mix everything together in a large bowl. If preferred, mix the olive oil, leek soup mix, garlic, dried herbs, and white wine vinegar together first, then add the remaining ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate the unused portion.

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