Keeping healthy when you are always on the go might sound like somewhat of an impossible task, but actually it is much easier than you think! This simple recipe for a lemony cucumber quinoa salad with feta, parsley and mint is perfect for anyone who loves putting together a quick lunch with fresh Mediterranean flavors. It’s wonderfully light, healthy, nutritious and easy to throw together the night before.
For me, this is the kind of lunch that is now reserved for weekends or summers in the park. I used to always bring my lunch to work but over the last few years I have had the benefit of working for a company that gives us lunch vouchers for use in local restaurants, cafés, bakeries and the likes. Which means I spend a lot of time eating out.
Great on one hand…I get to try our new dishes and types of cuisine all the time. One the other hand…I can’t be stuffing my face with a plate of pasta every day and sitting at my desk with a carb and calorie overload. Yes, of course, there is an Italian restaurant in the mix here and there, but mostly I am seeking out Vietnamese or other Asian restaurants, cafés with fresh salads or one of my favorites, a place called Hej Papa, which unfortunately doesn’t take vouchers but continues to earn my faithful return because their food is FRESH and AWESOME tasting.
For anyone looking for ideas on a healthy and low-carb lunch, quinoa is the perfect place to start. It’s looks like a grain, it acts like a grain, but it’s not. It’s actually a seed. Therefore it’s gluten-free, plus it’s higher in protein and lower in starch than most grains. Score. It also has a wonderful nutty flavor making it fantastic addition to a simple salads, like this cucumber quinoa salad.
When summer is in full swing I like to add the sweetest cherry tomatoes I can find and sometimes even a bit of fresh dill. So good every time!
This recipe is easily halved to make lunch for two (or two days worth of lunch). Any extra mint and cucumber can be used to infuse water — just add some cucumber slices, mint leaves and lemon (or lime) juice to filtered water and let infuse for 1-2 hours at room temperature. Or give fresh mint tea a try!
Lemony Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Feta & Herbs
1 cup uncooked quinoa (200 g)
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, or enough to lightly coat the quinoa
zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
1 English cucumber, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
100 g feta cheese, crumbled
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Add 1 cup of dried quinoa with 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy. Remove from heat, cover, and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes then fluff quinoa with a fork. Set aside to cool.
2. Toss the quinoa with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, cucumber, mint, parsley and feta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve chilled or at room-temperature.
TIP: Can be made up to a day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.