What do you get when you mix healthy protein rich quinoa with crisp cool cucumber, summer ripe tomatoes and feta? Mediterranean delight! Add some spiced mini burgers (small falafel size burgers rubbed with Mediterranean spices like cumin, coriander and fennel) and you have a complete light and healthy summer meal!
For a vegetarian option, you can always opt to substitute the mini burgers with mini versions of Healthy Oven Baked Falafel.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, high in protein, and has a stellar resume of nutritional benefits including being good for your heart and blood sugar ( you can read more about that here).
I like to make a big batch of quinoa on weekends and use it during the week for all kinds of dishes. It's so versatile, you can even use it in place of oatmeal (did you know quinoa is higher in protein than oatmeal?) like I did in this recipe for Honey Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa, or top it with any of your favorite veggies (grilled or roasted..or even raw), make it into patties, use in place of rice for your favorite stir-fry dishes etc....there are so many options!
Fresh in season cucumbers and tomatoes are showcased in this Mediterranean salad bowl that literally comes together in just a matter of minutes. Add fresh cucumber, tomatoes and scallions to cooked quinoa. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. The mini burgers get a Mediterranean twist by being rubbed in flavorful spices such as cumin, coriander, and fennel., and can be made in a skillet on the stove-top or on the BBQ.
Serve with sliced pita, some crumbled feta cheese and a dollop of hummus. Oh...the fresh tastes of the Mediterranean and summer!
recipe adapted from Real Simple
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Spiced Mini Burgers
- 3 cups quinoa cooked *
- 1 lb. extra-lean ground beef or turkey / chicken / lamb
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel **
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 6 scallions sliced
- 4 Roma tomatoes diced
- 1 English cucumber cut into half-moons
- 1 lemon quartered
- 1 cup mixed salad greens torn into bite size pieces
- 4 oz. hummus optional
- 2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese for topping (optional)
- 4 warm pitas optional
- Form ground beef into 12 small patties, approx. ½ inch thick. Sprinkle with cumin, coriander, fennel, and salt and pepper (to taste).
- In a large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Place the patties in the pan and cook to desired doneness. (Approx. 4 min. each side for medium)
- In a large mixing bowl, toss quinoa, scallions, tomatoes, cucumber with the remaining 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Divide salad greens into 4 bowls. Add ¼ quinoa mixture and 3 burgers per bowl, and one lemon wedge. If desired serve with a dollop of hummus, crumbled feta cheese, and a warm pita.
* to yield 3 cups cooked quinoa, use 1 cup uncooked quinoa + 2 cups water and cook according to package directions.
** if you cant find ground fennel, you can ground fennel seeds yourself in a coffee grinder, or place seeds in a plastic ziplock baggie and mash with a heavy object like a kitchen mallet .