This Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl packed with fluffy quinoa, tons of fresh veggies, feta cheese, black olives, and the best hummus dressing is easy to make, healthy, and delicious.
If you’re on the lookout for a delicious healthy lunch that's great for work or home, then you have come to the right place! These Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls are easy to make, filling, and drizzled with the most amazing hummus dressing.
I am obsessed with grain bowls and salads at the moment. Literally, every time I make quinoa or another hearty grain, I double or triple the recipe to make sure I have enough leftovers for quick and healthy grain bowls like today's Mediterranean-inspired Quinoa Bowl.
Now the secret sauce that makes this recipe so good is the hummus dressing. It couldn't be easier - it's just hummus, lemon juice, and water.
The other thing I love about this recipe is that it is very versatile. Switch up the veggies. Add extra protein with cooked proteins, like the chicken in this Mediterranean Bowl recipe. Try different styles of hummus in the dressing. Use different grains. You decide.
There are so many ways to make this recipe work with items you already have at home. Think of it as a clean-out the pantry and fridge meal.
How to Make a Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl
This Mediterranean quinoa bowl calls for arugula, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, kalamata olives, feta cheese, red onion, and parsley, plus the quinoa of course.
However, you can make a quinoa bowl with almost any combination of quinoa, veggies, and dressing you like.
- Quinoa: Start with the quinoa. Any variety will work and let it come to room temperature if made in advance or for a cold or salad-style dish. To cook quinoa, start with a ratio of 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil. Stir and turn the temperature down to a simmer. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat but let the quinoa sit with the cover on for 5 minutes. Open and fluff with a fork.
- Add veggies: Any raw or cooked veggies will pair well with quinoa. Start in your fridge, freezer, or pantry and build from there. Leftover roasted vegetables are delicious in quinoa bowls. Fresh greens and crunchy veggies like cucumbers and bell peppers add texture. Even defrosted frozen veggies like broccoli, edamame, and corn work great.
- Dressing: One of the main ways to add flavor to a quinoa bowl is with the dressing or sauce. You can use a homemade dressing like this healthy ranch, a homemade sauce like pesto or teriyaki, or grab a store-bought sauce or dressing for something quick. If you love Mediterranean flavors, the homemade hummus dressing in the recipe is so good, or use tzatziki.
- More options: To add even more flavor to your quinoa bowl, consider adding some protein with chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Cheese is another great way to add flavor with fresh mozzarella, feta, or goat cheese. Add some nuts or seeds for crunch or consider adding some chickpeas or black beans for added fiber.
Recipe Tips for the Best Quinoa Bowl
Making a quinoa bowl is fairly straightforward, but there are some quick tips for you to follow to make sure you end up with a stellar salad.
- Rinse the quinoa: Rinse your quinoa before you cook it. It never hurts to give your quinoa another rinse to get rid of that bitter coating I mentioned before.
- Meal prep in a glass jar: If you’re meal prepping, put your salad bowl in a glass jar. Start with the dressing on the bottom and then layer in the heartier ingredients that won't get soggy. Finish with the arugula on top.
- Switch up the veggies: You can put pretty much any veggie in your salad that you want – I recommend using anything you have leftover from previous meals.
- Different flavors of hummus: Try out different flavors of hummus to change the taste of the recipe. Roasted red pepper, garlic, and olive hummus are my favorites to use.
- Add all the Mediterranean flavors: Play into the Mediterranean by adding feta cheese, olives, capers, roasted red peppers, artichokes, or sundried tomatoes.
How to Make Hummus Dressing
Hummus makes a pretty amazing dressing, though it's a bit thick to be a dressing on its own. To turn it into a delicious dressing, just add lemon juice, olive oil, and water to your hummus to make it a bit thinner so you can drizzle it on top.
You can also add any other spices you want to kick up the flavor. Consider oregano, dill, thyme, za'atar, or red pepper flakes.
This will also work with different types of hummus. Roasted garlic hummus makes a delicious garlicky dressing. Roasted red pepper hummus turns into a sweeter dressing. Try a spicy hummus dressing if you love things spicy. The options are endless.
Meal Prep and Storage
In a lot of ways, quinoa is like rice, including its ability to be made in advance. So, yes!
You can make this salad in advance as part of your weekly meal prepping. However, if you are prepping more than one day in advance, wait to chop the cherry tomatoes and cucumbers since they will begin to release liquid and make the other ingredients soggy. Like all salad recipes for meal prep, pack the dressing separately.
One more tip. Make sure that the quinoa is at room temperature before you put it in containers in your fridge. This precaution will help the inside of the container from getting steamed up and wilting anything you put in there with it.
Leftover cooked quinoa can be stored in the freezer, but we do not recommend freezing the additional vegetables or dressing.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa is actually a seed. You could be forgiven for thinking that quinoa is a grain similar to rice or wheat because that’s how we use it when we cook. However, the part of the plant we’re eating when we eat quinoa is actually the seed!
If you are a quinoa fan, you won't want to miss these easy build-your-own Thai Bowls.
Is Quinoa Better for You than Rice?
Over the last decade, quinoa has been exploding in popularity as this once-unknown grain gained the status of superfood.
The answer is yes – it has fewer calories and carbohydrates than rice. It also packs in twice the protein and more fiber. It is naturally gluten-free.
All of this means that you will feel full faster with fewer calories than you would have had with rice. It also does great things for controlling your blood sugar levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this quinoa bowl.
If you don't love the natural flavor of quinoa cooked in water, there are a few things you can try to add more flavor.
- Cook the quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth to add flavor and balance the "earthy" flavor of the quinoa
- Add fat with olive oil, butter, or avocado oil. The fat also helps to balance the flavor of the quinoa
- Cook the quinoa with spices and herbs like garlic, sauteed onion, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, cumin, paprika, parsley, cilantro, or basil.
- Make sure the quinoa is seasoned well with salt and pepper
For the best flavor, always rinse your quinoa before cooking it. Quinoa has a natural casing called saponin, which can sometimes have a bitter or even soapy flavor. Rinsing the quinoa helps remove that coating.
One quick note, most store-bought boxed and bagged quinoa is pre-rinsed, but rinsing it one more time can help remove the bitter flavor if you are sensitive to it.
Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl
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- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup hummus
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
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- Nutritional Information
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Let cool for a cool salad. Typically to make quinoa, add 1 cup of quinoa to a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat but do not open the cover. Let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
If you want to add more protein to this quinoa bowl, consider adding chicken, salmon, tuna, chickpeas, or tofu.
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