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Do you want to eat more “Mediterranean” style for its health benefits? Do you love salads but need a change from the usual? Then get ready for a light and refreshing update! This Mediterranean summer salad blends the best of summer flavors with healthy Mediterranean ingredients.

Whole-grain quinoa, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and avocado are combined with a fresh herb dressing made with olive oil, lime, and basil. Topped off with a few Kalamata olives and a sprinkle of feta cheese, this salad is a true summer delight!

I love that this salad holds up well in the refrigerator for several days; in fact, I prefer to make it a day before I plan to eat it or serve it to others to allow the flavors to blend longer. But trust me, it’s good either way!

Double the recipe and you’ve got a sure hit for your next potluck, picnic or family reunion.

Avocado guidance

Wary of how to choose the perfect avocado? I’ve included some tips for purchasing them and how to tell when they are ripe.

Scientifically classified as a fruit, avocados are rich in nutrients-containing more than a dozen. Wow! That alone makes it worthwhile to eat them more often and branch out from our typical avocado-based dish: guacamole!

What makes this salad a nutritional powerhouse

As made, the Mediterranean Summer Salad is gluten-free and can be made dairy-free if you leave out the feta cheese. With a variety of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and heart-healthy fat, your body is going to love it as much as your tastebuds do.

It’s a good source of fiber, protein, and immune-supporting antioxidants too. Nutrients many of us lack in our diets.

If you are interested in learning more about the Mediterranean diet, Read this article for 10 tips to move toward this health-promoting lifestyle. For more summer meal planning ideas, check out my blog on quick and healthy summer meal planning. If you need personalized nutrition guidance, contact me today for a complimentary discovery call.

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Mediterranean Summer Salad

A light and refreshing salad combining summer flavors with common Mediterranean ingredients.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Keyword avocado, gluten-free, quinoa, summer salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 (1 cup servings)
Calories 245kcal
Author Heidi Gunderson, RDN, CDCES

Equipment

  • 1 medium sauce pot 2-4 qt
  • 1 medium mixing bowl
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 small bowl or glass measuring cup

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • ½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1 medium avocado *see notes to determine ripeness
  • 2-3 green onions
  • 2 tbsp kalamata olives, sliced
  • 4-6 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium lime
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese

Instructions

  • Cook quinoa according to package directions. (I used 1 cup dry quinoa which made ~3 cups cooked)
  • While quinoa is cooking for 10-15 minutes, prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Wash and dry the produce.
  • Using a serrated or other sharp knife, slice the tomatoes in half, or quarter the really large ones. Add to a medium mixing bowl.
  • Peel or carefully slice the skin off the cucumber if desired. Then, dice the cucumber until you have ~1 cup. Add to the tomatoes in the mixing bowl.
  • Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, then remove the pit pushing it out gently with your hand. Peel or cut away the dark outer skin. Cut the avocado into wedges and then dice to make ~1 cup. Add to the mixing bowl.
  • Dice the white ends of the green onions to equal about 2 TBSP. Add to the other vegetables.
  • If you have already sliced Kalamata olives, add about 2 TBSP to the mixing bowl. For whole olives, slice about 8-10.
  • In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add the 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • Roll a lime with the palm of your hand to loosen the membranes and yield more juice. Then, cut in half and using a citrus juice or your hand, squeeze the juice into the cup with the olive oil. (You should end up with at least 2 TBSP juice)
  • Add the salt and pepper to the olive oil-lime mixture.
  • When the quinoa is done cooking, fluff with a fork and remove from heat. Optional- add to a second bowl to allow for quick cooling.
  • Add everything together- the quinoa, vegetable bowl with avocado, and lime-olive oil dressing.
  • Cut the basil leaves with a sharp scissors or knife into very thin strips. You can stack your leaves, then roll into a tight cylinder to cut them more easily. Add to the salad bowl.
  • Top with the feta cheese. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours if possible for best flavor.
  • After refrigerating, taste and adjust seasonings if desired.

Notes

Need some help with avocados? See this link for step-by-step instructions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 226mg | Fiber: 6g

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