This quinoa salad with za’atar is so flavorful. Inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine this quinoa salad is made with lots of herbs (not unlike tabouleh), juicy tomatoes, red onion, arugula and pistachios. Everything is drizzled with dressing made with a mix of olive oil, lemon, a little chili, garlic and an amazing za’atar blend. Simple tastes of the Levant.
Za’atar – the magical blend!
Yes, I am crazy for ancient middle eastern spice blend made from lightly toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme, oregano, marjoram and ground sumac. It’s a great all-around spice blend that gives everything from salads to roast vegetables a flavour boost. It contains sumac, which comes from dried sumac berries and tastes like a combination of tangy sour and fruity-lemony taste. It’s also a favourite in my kitchen as it brightens up any dish! If you haven’t heard of either of these spices before, I definitely recommend trying them. Both can be purchased at most ethnic grocers, spice shops, and of course online.
What to serve with this Quinoa Za’atar Salad
We love this salad so much we eat it as a hearty main for two. But, it is also really great served alongside grilled or roasted vegetables, with grilled halloumi, or even your favourite choice of protein right off the BBQ.
Plan ahead and serve this quinoa salad in a flash
If you precook your quinoa this meal comes together in a flash. A batch of quinoa can always be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you are ready to use it for your weekday meals. Making meal prep a cinch!
Looking for other recipe ideas?
If you love middle eastern flavours check out my recipe archive for other dishes made with za’atar or sumac. Otherwise, try one of these delicious quinoa salad recipes: Roasted Vegetable and Chickpeas with Za’atar, Mint and Feta or Pear Fennel Salad with Sumac and Mint.
Quinoa Salad with Za’atar, Herbs & Pistachio
For the salad:
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (200 g)
- 1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 small bunch finely chopped cilantro
- 1 small bunch finely chopped parsley
- 250 g cherry or mini roma tomatoes, halved
- generous handful of young arugula leaves
- 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
for the dressing:
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
- 1½ teaspoons za’atar
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
- sea salt, to taste
- lemon wedges
To cook the quinoa: Combine the rinsed quinoa and double the amount of water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes (or according to package instructions). Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa stand for 5 minutes. Use a fork to fluff. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix garlic, za’atar, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, and sumach (if using) in a small bowl; season with salt, to taste.
Pour over the cooled quinoa, mix to combine. Add the the onion, herbs, tomatoes, arugula and pistachios and toss again until well-combined.
Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!
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