By using tangy pickled cactus (nopalitos), this Cactus Quinoa Salad with Feta makes a unique and delicious salad to go with an unlimited number of main dishes.
Quinoa has taken over the food community by storm. The gluten-free crowd loves it because, surprise: it’s a seed & gluten-free. The paleo crew loves it because it’s an ancient “grain” and unprocessed. The low-carb enthusiasts love that this is fiber rich and high in protein. And vegetarians love quinoa because it’s a complete protein source. So, if you haven’t tried any quinoa recipes, do you realize what you have been missing?
My family is lucky that we are not allergic to any foods. We eat all kinds of meats and vegetables, and I try to feed them whole grains. I read labels and limit as much processed food as I can. I watch our sugar intake and I’m always introducing new recipes to the kids. We aren’t perfect, but we make pretty good food choices.
As a Persian family, we eat a lot of stews with our white basmati rice. I was leery to introduce brown rice to my peeps. But, the kids loved it! In fact, they were more receptive to it than my husband!
The same thing happened with quinoa. Four out of five of us gave it a huge thumbs up. This time my husband was enthusiastic about this new super food. And when I introduced quinoa to my friends, they fell in love with it, too, and bought it for their families.
Today, I’m featuring two favorite quinoa recipes. First up is this Cactus Quinoa Salad with Feta. My friend, Hendrika, introduced this salad (without quinoa) to me and it was crazy good. It was my first time try pickled nopalitos, cactus, and I quickly became a fan. Once pickled, cactus has a wonderful tangy, sour flavor that is pairs perfectly with sweet somatoes and the salty feta.
We all happily munched on it the salad with tortilla chips. Not that this wasn’t delicious, but I wanted to make it a little more healthy.
So, I came home and made this salad I added quinoa. Perfect.
The hubby had seconds. Then he had thirds. We used our lovely home-grown tomatoes and this salad was spectacular!
The second quinoa recipe is even easier to prepare: Quinoa Shirazi Salad. I just take this recipe for Persian Shirazi Salad, and stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa. It’s a simple salad that goes with so many fabulous main courses. And by adding quinoa to the mix, the salad is more… substantial. You could also add cooked chicken breast or shrimp, too, and you have a great lunch or light dinner.
Are you a quinoa lover?
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp hot sauce, optional
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 32 oz jarred Nopalitos, drained
- 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped red onions
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded & diced
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, bouillon powder, salt, pepper, hot sauce, garlic and Worcestershire.
- Toss the Nopalitos, tomatoes, cilantro, red onion and jalapeño with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or up to overnight.
- Cook quinoa per package directions. When done, let quinoa cool to room temperature.
- Add cooled quinoa to cactus salad.
- At this point, quinoa salad can be served or chilled until ready to serve.
- Divide into serving bowls and top with feta cheese.
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 365mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g