Mediterranean quinoa salad bowl
Mediterranean quinoa salad bowl

BEST EVER Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl

A Mediterranean quinoa bowl with yogurt tzatziki and a quick pickled onion cucumber salad. WHOA! This healthy salad is loaded with feta, kalamata olives, and hummus. What really makes this dish amazing is the extra step of toasting the quinoa in a spice oil with pumpkin seeds.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes
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Recipe Rundown

This is the most satisfying quinoa bowl EVER – it truly is sensational. The secret is crisping the quinoa in a Mediterranean spice oil then pairing it with feta, kalamata olives, and yogurt sauce – it makes a well-balanced salad that you’ll want in your weekly rotation.

Mediterranean quinoa salad bowl

Mediterranean Quinoa

What’s the one thing that sets this quinoa apart from others? The flavors and textures that make every bite interesting. The savory quinoa pairs perfectly with salty, tangy ingredients like feta, yogurt sauce, and quick pickled cucumber and onion salad.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this is not only one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve ever made, but it’s one of the best dishes I have ever tasted! I am truly impressed with this creation! Oh and that lemony yogurt sauce! It’s so good you’ll want to eat it with a spoon!

Why This Recipe Works:

  • Crisping the quinoa not only adds a nutty flavor but adds texture too.
  • The sour elements help balance the quinoa and make this dish vibrant and fresh.
  • Ready-made ingredients like pita chips, hummus, kalamata olives, and feta are an easy way to make this a complete meal.

Pro Tips for Cooking Fluffy Quinoa

I think a key to a good quinoa bowl is to create a fluffy quinoa by using boiling rather than cold water.

Baking quinoa in the oven produces the fluffiest texture. I’ve done this many times but always find that the quinoa cooks at an uneven rate. In the spirit of excellence, I recommend simmering the quinoa instead.

Making Quinoa on the Stove-top:

  • Rinse the quinoa to remove the saponins that give it a bitter taste.
  • Dry toast the quinoa in a medium pot for at least 10 minutes until dry and aromatic – it will give off a nutty smell.
  • Add the right amount of boiling water. For 1 cup quinoa, add 1 1/4 cup boiling water.
  • Salt the quinoa at the beginning to enhance the flavor of the cooked quinoa.
  • Cover immediately and simmer on low to medium-low for 15 minutes. Allow to steam (heat off) for 5 minutes.
  • Open the lid and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a bowl to allow even more steam to escape.

How to Make the Best Quinoa Bowl {EVER}

Start with cooking the quinoa.

quinoa in a medium pot
simmering quinoa

Next, mix the cucumber and red onion with the vinegar and salt to create quick pickles.

Quick pickled red onions with cucumber slices

Warm the spice oil until aromatic.

infusing olive oil with spices and pumpkin seeds

Add the fluffy quinoa. Spread evenly and do not stir for at least 5 minutes.

quinoa with pumpkin seeds

Add fresh oregano leaves and use a spatula to turn the quinoa over.

cooking the quinoa in a skillet with spice oil

While the quinoa cooks, stir the yogurt ingredients in a bowl for a quick tzatziki.

yogurt sauce ingredients

To arrange the bowls, I like to add the quinoa first and top with hummus, cucumber salad, pita chips, feta, and yogurt sauce.

How to arrange the quinoa salad bowl

This quinoa bowl creates great leftovers. I like to arrange the ingredients side by side in a Tupperware, making this a great 1 to pin for meal prep.


What is quinoa good for? Quinoa is a seed, making it good for people with nut allergies. It’s also high in amino acids and protein, making it an excellent choice for vegans as well as people who follow a gluten free diet.

What is the quinoa to water ratio? If the quinoa is dry, use 1 cup quinoa: 1 1/4 cup boiling water. You can also cook the quinoa like pasta and drain excess water.

Can quinoa cause gas? Since quinoa is a fibrous seed, it can be difficult to digest and cause gas for some people.

Should I rinse quinoa? Absolutely. It has phytochemicals on the outside that can give quinoa a bitter taste.

How do I make this salad vegan? You can leave out the feta and substitute a vegan cashew cheese and plain vegan yogurt instead.

Do you have any quinoa breakfast recipes? Yep. I have a protein breakfast bowl that we love.

quinoa on a spoon with yogurt sauce and Greek peppers

My husband (who rarely craves Greek food) took one bite of this dish and said it was the best quinoa I ever made! Since I’ve made quinoa about 50 times, I’ll take that as a big thumbs up!

Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl

A Mediterranean quinoa bowl with yogurt tzatziki and a quick pickled onion cucumber salad. WHOA! This healthy salad is loaded with feta, kalamata olives, and hummus. What really makes this dish amazing is the extra step of toasting the quinoa in a spice oil with pumpkin seeds.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American, Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword: bean salad, bowl, cucumber, gluten free, green onion, healthy, kalamata olives, Mediterranean, quinoa, tzatziki, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 422kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini



  • 1 cup quinoa washed and drained
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling filtered water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 6 sprigs fresh oregano leaves


  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt full fat
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh herbs dill or parsley

Cucumber and Onion Quick Pickles

  • 1/4 whole red onion sliced thinly
  • 2 Persian cucumbers sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Bowl Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives preferably with peppers (and no pits)
  • 1/2 cup hummus plain or roasted red pepper
  • pita chips
  • 2 oz feta in brine


Cook the Quinoa

  • In a small pot, toast the quinoa over medium heat until dry and nutty smelling. Add salt and boiling water, quickly covering with a lid.
  • Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes. Remove lid and fluff quinoa with a fork, draining excess water with a strainer.
  • Add olive oil to a large skillet and warm over medium heat. Add coriander, cumin, and pumpkin seeds and infuse the oil for 30 seconds or until aromatic. Spread the quinoa on top and leave to get crispy for 5 at least minutes. Scrape under the quinoa with a spatula and flip over to crisp the other side. Top with a sprinkle of fresh oregano leaves.

Yogurt Sauce

  • Add all the yogurt ingredients to a small bowl and stir with a spoon until smooth and creamy.

Cucumber and Onion Quick Pickles

  • Add all the quick pickle ingredients to a medium bowl and toss around a bit. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to pickle.

Arrange the Mediterranean Bowls

  • Spoon hot quinoa into bowls and add yogurt sauce, quick pickles, kalamata olives, hummus, and pita chips. Sprinkle with feta crumbles.



Quinoa –

You can use any color quinoa in this dish. A good substitute for quinoa would be lentils (Oh that sounds yummy).

Shallot –

The shallot is used in the yogurt sauce, but you could just as easily use the red onion (that you will also use in the salad).

Kalamata Olives –

Some pit-less olives contain bits of pit so beware of this when working with kalamata olives.

Vegan or Vegetarian –

You can use a non-dairy plain yogurt or goat yogurt if lactose intolerant. In place of the feta, you can use a fermented vegan cheese to get the tangy flavor.




Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 1444mg | Potassium: 678mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 284IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 4mg

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Melody Furcini
Melody Furcini
3 years ago

This looks and sounds delicious…can’t wait to try it.

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