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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes | Loaded with flavor and simply dressed with olive oil and balsamic!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes

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This Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes is perfect for a picnic, side dish or even a marvelous vegetarian entree! You’ll love this combination of Mediterranean flavors!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes | Loaded with flavor and simply dressed with olive oil and balsamic!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Could I make something without butter or sugar or flour? Those are my staples. The challenge was on. I love using quinoa as a substitute for other grains. A complete protein, quinoa packs more powerful nutritional benefits than ordinary white rice, barley, and pasta.

Impressed with how this Quinoa Risotto with White Beans and Roasted Brassica used quinoa to make a dreamy risotto, I decided to make a loaded Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. All I’d do is substitute orzo with quinoa in an old favorite pasta salad recipe!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes | Loaded with flavor and simply dressed with olive oil and balsamic!

A Twist on a Favorite Pasta Salad

I took a favorite picnic salad, Orzo with Everything, and tweaked it to make it gluten-free. I’d eaten a delightful quinoa salad at a recent luncheon and turned to this super-grain of the Andes as a substitution for the orzo. I found a certified gluten-free organic pearl quinoa at Whole Foods. Note that quinoa is naturally gluten-free, but is often cross-contaminated during processing. Make sure to check your label carefully.

Adding flavorful ingredients such as kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan and basil along with a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, gave a powerful flavor punch to this exotic grain. I added artichoke hearts to this batch and am dreaming of a version with bocconcini (mini fresh mozzarella balls). But no matter, it was sublime just the way I made it. Be sure to give quinoa, and this amazing Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, a shot.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes | Loaded with flavor and simply dressed with olive oil and balsamic!


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Used in This Recipe:

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes

A Quinoa Salad with a Mediterranean twist!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 6 servings


  • 1-1 1/2 cups quinoa (use a certified gluten-free brand)
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock, optional, to cook quinoa
  • 1/3 cup (packed) chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup artichoke heart quarters (marinated)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced


  1. Cook quinoa in a pot of boiling salted water (or chicken stock) as directed on package (mine suggested twice as much liquid as quinoa). Drain well. Place in large bowl. Add sun-dried tomatoes, oil, vinegar, and olives and toss to blend. Let stand until cool.
  2. Mix pine nuts, chopped basil, Parmesan, and garlic into orzo mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332 Total Fat: 22g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 17g Cholesterol: 8mg Sodium: 280mg Carbohydrates: 26g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 5g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 10g


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47 comments on “Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Olives, Basil and Sun-dried Tomatoes”

  1. Thank you, Liz, for mentioning the bit about checking labels carefully for cross contamination. Sun-dried tomatoes in quinoa looks to be a great idea! Mille fois merci!

  2. Yay for taking on the challenge, Liz ๐Ÿ™‚ I love quinoa and your salad looks amazing. Thank you so much my friend.

  3. I think I’m one of those few who haven’t tried quinoa yet ๐Ÿ˜› Wonderful and delicious salad , Lizzy ! The sun-dried tomatoes sounds good in this nutrient-packed dish !

  4. I still haven’t tried quinoa but do like everything you have in your salad:@)

  5. I love quinoa so much and I have some leftover sun dried tomatoes from my recipe so I think I need to give this recipe a try this week

  6. Iยดd be happy with this quinoa salad instead of my usual pasta. The flavors are so perfect! I love mediterranean flavors, and I agree about the ratios. And of course some mozzarella will make it even better. Happy sunday Liz!

  7. I will be making this salad!! I have been trying a variety of Quinoa recipes and yours sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing this…. Happy Sunday to you and yours.

  8. Love this Mediterranean style quinoa salad. I’m also one who likes a lot of add-ins (it’s the best part!). And I agree that bocconcini would be a fabulous addition.

  9. I cannot WAIT to try this! I am a total quinoa addict!

  10. This is great, Liz! I adore quinoa, and what a great combination of flavors. I have all the ingredients and look forward to giving this a try!!!!

  11. This looks great, Liz! Going to have to try this for the little vegan in my house!

  12. I started out eating quinoa hot but have quickly learned that I really love it cold and in salads. Tihs looks wonderful!

  13. Oh yes that’s a Mediterranean recipe to my liking. Thanks fro sharing Liz, love all the flavors involved here!

  14. wow this looks great–I may have to make it this week, and I love the idea of tossing in a little mozzarella!

  15. Quinoa is great, and I don’t use it enough. I love big salads like this in the summer – they really can be a meal in themselves. Really nice and creative – thanks.

  16. I have a similar quinoa salad with dried tomatoes. I am loving all of these delicious salads!!!!!

  17. I’m making this for lunch tomorrow!

  18. My mom would love this, even though she’s not a fan of quinoa. This could change her mind I think

  19. This sounds fantastic! With all those great ingredients, you’d never feel like you were giving up on flavor. I’d love to try it too!

  20. I love this Italian twist on quinoa! It sounds wonderful!

  21. Great recipe love the mediterranean twist to this.

  22. QUinoa is such a delicious ingredient, this looks perfect ๐Ÿ˜€


  23. You did really well. I don’t think there’s anyone that wouldn’t eat this (except perhaps your husband?) I love quinoa and it is just a perfect base for a summer’s salad xx

  24. I love everything that went in with your Quinoa specially the sun-dried tomato which I usually put in pasta recipes.

  25. Thus looks great Liz. I love quinoa and your version sounds wonderful with the kalamata olives.

  26. I love quinoa salad with balsamic vinegar.

  27. What a wonderful looking salad Liz! Love quinoa and that you used all these great add-ins – especially the sun-dried tomatos and kalamata olives! Definitely sounds like all kinds of goodness going on in this salad.
    My niece and sister-in-law have a gluten intolerence and a long list of allergies and it has been a challenging ongoing journey of reading and learning which foods trigger reactions and which foods are acceptable. Thank you for helping to bring more awareness to more people with this post:) Can’t wait to try this with all the great combination of flavors!

  28. Love the Mediterranean twist on this salad. A great little salad to bring to a picnic as you do not need it to be either cold or hot but also good at room temperature. Happy cooking! BAM

  29. Liz, I love all of the flavors you used!! It’s like you personally made it for me! Your picture is also beautiful!

  30. Quinoa with sundried tomatoes looks mouthful and moreish!

  31. Job well done Liz! I love quinoa, and I’m always looking for new recipes to try. I love the addition of the sun-dried tomatoes. They pack so much flavor for such little bites! Thank you for sharing!

  32. Love quinoa, and will definitely we trying this ! Great make-over!!

  33. My favorite salad is made with quinoa so I’m really looking forward to making this dish. I already know I’m going to love it.

  34. Perfect dish to be served alongside some grilled chicken and its going on my menu for our next BBQ!Love the flavors you’ve added here!Thanks Liz ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Basil and sun-dried tomatoes are a must for summer salads!

  36. We love quinoa and this recipe is wonderful! Great flavors for summer! Mozzarella would also be a wonderful addition.

  37. This looks & sounds lovely. I am always looking for new quinoa recipes. Adding this to my list ! Looks beautiful !

  38. I absolutely adore quinoa and try to incorporate it into my diet as much as possible. This salad sounds so fresh, flavourful and refreshing, Liz! And I don’t see butter or sugar anywhere ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Those are my staples too so I felt the same way you did when I saw the challenge for this week). Great job, lady!

  39. Pretty sure I could eat the entire serving of this. Love everything in there!

  40. I think I have some quinoa left in my pantry! This is a perfect summer salad Liz!

  41. Love! I’m obsessed with quinoa lately!

  42. So light. Nice change from pasta, Liz!

  43. Three words… Healthy, Beautiful and Delicious. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Quinoa and sun dried tomatoes? This sounds amazing!

  45. Love this, I just pinned it so I can make it next week!

  46. I am a quinoa fan. This looks great Liz.
    Just made a quinoa pad thai last night, maybe I’ll post it. Quinoa rocks. Really like yours with olives and pine nuts…

  47. This looks right up my alley. I can eat everything in there except the garlic but I can use garlic infused oil.

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