This dish from the Barefoot Contessa is a great make-ahead side dish or vegetarian and gluten-free main dish. You can omit the cheese to make it vegan. Note: The recipe uses coarse kosher salt; if you are using a finer-grain kosher salt, use the smaller amount. You can make the salad up to two days ahead, but don’t add the feta until you are ready to serve it.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and a feta cheese with no preservatives, such as Tre Stelle.

Cook quinoa until tender and toss with lemon juice, olive oil and salt

Combine vegetables and herbs in a large bowl

Add quinoa to vegetables and herbs and add feta just before serving


1 cup (250 ml) quinoa

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

¼ cup (60 ml) good olive oil

1 cup (250 ml) thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (5 scallions)

1 cup (250 ml) chopped fresh mint leaves (2 bunches)

1 cup (250 ml) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and medium-diced

2 cups (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved through the stem

2 cups (500 ml) medium-diced feta (8 ounces/227 g)


Pour 2 cups (500 ml) of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until the grains are tender and open (they’ll have little curly tails). Drain, place in a bowl and immediately add the lemon juice, olive oil and 1 (5 ml) to 1 ½ (7.5 ml) teaspoons of salt.

In a large bowl, combine the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) of salt and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of pepper. Add the quinoa and mix well. Carefully fold in the feta and taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold. Serves 8.

From the Barefoot Contessa