Quinoa has become the Beyonce of grains/seeds/things to put in bowls. What do you think? [YES/NO/MAYBE]. Even if you started out a divergent, by now, you’ve probably tried at least one recipe that you’ve liked. I’m guessing it was a really good quinoa salad that hooked you, because that’s what happened to me.
I’ll say outright that I do love quinoa, and mostly because it’s so nutritious. Taste-wise, though, it has that blank earthiness that most grains have, which makes it boring on its own, but useful and versatile when it comes to picking up other flavors. All this to say, quinoa needs a lot of help.
Cooking quinoa in broth instead of water is just one simple way to boost flavor. Here, chicken broth or even seafood broth would be perfect. For this recipe, I used raw cucumber, scallions, and tomatoes, for added crisp texture, kalamata olives and goat cheese for tangy, salty flavor, and dressed it all in a lemon Dijon vinaigrette. The shrimp take only a few minutes (just blanch them in the broth!) and make this whole salad feel hearty and satisfying.
If you’re looking for a filling, healthy alternative to traditional potato or pasta salad, or just a make-ahead quinoa salad you can bring to lunch, this is it!
Quinoa Salad with Shrimp, Goat Cheese and Olives
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice juice of about 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ¼ cups chicken broth seafood broth, or water
- 1 ½ pounds large raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa rinsed and drained
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1 cup chopped cucumber peeled
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- ⅓ cup kalamata olives pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, mustard, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper.
- Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp to a plate, leaving the broth in the saucepan over medium-high heat. If the broth isn’t boiling, return it to a boil.
- Add the quinoa, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid, about 15 minutes. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Return the shrimp to the saucepan and pour the dressing over the top, tossing to coat.
- Add the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, olives, basil, and goat cheese, and mix well.
photography by Ashley McLaughlin Photography