I don’t know about you, but once summer hits I find myself spending less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the sunshine. I like to make quick meals that are light, but also substantial. My Mediterranean Quinoa-Rice Salad recipe does just that!
Nutty quinoa combines with fragrant basmati rice and is tossed with a no-fuss lemon dressing. Toss in creamy cannellini beans, sweet and juicy tomatoes, shallots, fresh parsley, and finish it off with salty pecorino cheese. That, my friends, is what you call one delicious summer meal!
This protein-packed salad is substantial enough to stand on its own, but it also works as a side dish. I love having grain salads in my fridge – I eat them for lunch, a light dinner, or use as a side dish to whatever protein I might throw on the grill.
I love quinoa and I love rice, so I decided to combine the two to have two different textures going on. I actually started out with the intention of making a black bean and corn rice salad, but I forgot to pick up corn at the store. So, instead of running to the store, I decided to think on my feet and look through my pantry and come up with something different. I think I stumbled upon a winner with this one!
Since the rice and quinoa have the same cooking time, you can make them together. The trick to cooking perfect rice (and quinoa) is rinsing! Rice is full of starch and if you don’t rinse off the excess you will end up with sticky rice. As for quinoa, it’s best to rinse that as well because it tends to be bitter if you don’t.
Once your quinoa-rice mixture is cooked and cooled, toss it with all of the yummy ingredients and bam! You’re done! Pop it in the fridge and enjoy it all week long – it’s that simple. These types of salads are best made ahead in my opinion – they just get better as they sit, and you can enjoy it cold or at room temperature.
This salad is perfect to pack for lunch or to have for dinner when it’s just too hot to be standing over the stove. Maybe you are grilling up burgers or chicken – this makes a great side for those! It’s also a great salad to serve at your next barbecue or take on a picnic. I just love the versatility.
Throughout winter you saw a lot of my make ahead meals were comforting dishes like baked pastas and soups. Well, throughout summer you’re going to see a lot of lighter make ahead options, especially grain salads like this one. I’m constantly experimenting with flavor combinations and add-ins, so stay tuned for lots of summer salad recipes!
Mediterranean Quinoa-Rice Salad
Nutty quinoa combines with fragrant basmati rice and lots of delicious Mediterranean-inspired ingredients in this summer salad. Serve it cold or at room temperature – perfect for a hot summer night!
For the Salad:
½ Cup Basmati Rice
½ Cup Quinoa
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 Can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
½ Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Shallot, thinly sliced
¼ Cup Lemon Juice, from 3 lemons
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
¼ Cup Pecorino Cheese, broken off the wedge into chunks
Place the rice and quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse very well under cold running water until the water runs clear. In a medium sized pot bring 1 ¾ cups water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the rice-quinoa mixture, stir and allow the water to come to a rolling boil. Then, cover and turn the heat down as low at it will go. Let the quinoa-rice cook undisturbed for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Add the rice-quinoa to a large bowl and allow it to cool completely.
To the rice-quinoa mixture add the cherry tomatoes, cannellini beans, parsley, shallot, lemon juice, and olive oil; mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with the pecorino cheese. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
- Be sure to rinse the rice and quinoa – you’ll get the best results this way.
- If the salad dries up a little as it sits in the the fridge, just squeeze additional lemon juice over the top.