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Quinoa Salads: Cactus Quinoa Salad with Feta

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.

Cactus Quinoa Salad with Feta by FamilySpice.com

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!

Quinoa by FamilySpice.com

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.

Cactus Salad with Feta by FamilySpice.com

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!

Quinoa Shirazi Salad by FamilySpice.com

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?

Cactus and Feta Quinoa Salad

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together:
    • 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
  2. Mix in with the dressing:
    • 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
  3. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Cook per package directions:
    • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  5. When done, let quinoa cool to room temperature.
  6. Add cooled quinoa to cactus salad.
  7. At this point, quinoa salad can be served or chilled until ready to serve.
  8. Pour into serving bowl and top with:
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Prep Time:

Yield: 8 cups

Cook Time:

Total Time: