Few herbs grasp at my heart the way the feathery fingers of verdant dill fronds do. The lush aroma and delicacy instantaneously turn a peasant dish into something gourmet. I am always looking for fresh ways to use dill. As I have also finally fallen headlong for the nutritional splendor of versatile quinoa, this picnic-ready salad seemed the most natural pairing. While quinoa cooks up almost as quickly as pasta, to maximize the super food qualities, please soak this tiny wonder seed/grain. If you find yourself with out the time to soak, rinsing is mandatory to remove the bitter clinging to the outside of the grain. The variations are endless and exciting but in keeping with a Greek theme I have added tiny dice of sweet onion, feta cheese and kalamata olives. The roasted peppers can be interchanged with tomatoes the moment they burst into season. Make this a complete meal with roasted chicken, broiled fish, hard-boiled egg slices, or even garbanzo bean-based Hummus and pitas.
* If you are an avid Trim Healthy Mama follower, I believe this would be considered as “S Helper”.
1 cup quinoa
1 cup kalamata olives
4 oz. feta
1/4 sweet onion
2 large handfuls dill, enough to make 3/4 cup minced
3 large roasted peppers (or 3 medium tomatoes)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine/white wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes, salt, pepper
*Soak quinoa overnight or 7+ hours in water and tbsp. of whey, vinegar, yogurt, kefir, or lemon juice
1. Prepare quinoa by draining and rinsing the grain well, removing any traces of bitterness. Add 2 cups water, 1/4 tsp. salt, and soaked quinoa to a saucepan. Boil covered or bring to a boil, turn down and steam like rice for about 15 minutes or until tender and fluffy, set aside to cool.
2. Dice quarter onion finely.
3. Slice peppers in 1/4” strips and then into thirds.
4. Finely mince olives, or better yet, pulse until minced in the food processor (I kept mine bigger for looks alone, but taste proves that the olives need to be much finer!)
5. Rinse and finely mince dill.
6. Finely dice feta cheese.
7. Toss, feta, peppers, onions, dill, olives, and quinoa together. Pour over olive oil and vinegar, season to taste with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over salad and chill to meld flavors.
*Optional ingredients: Cucumbers, fresh oregano, green onions, avocado, grilled chicken strips…