Use up that excess zucchini crop in this really simple Quinoa, Feta and Grilled Zucchini Salad. The grilled zucchini adds a delicious smoky element to the salad, and leftovers are great for the lunchbox.
Total Time Investment: 40 Minutes
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We didn’t plant any zucchini plants this year. Mr Grumpy just didn’t get around to it. Yet we had four plants spring up in the vegetable patch despite our lack of planning. If you have never grown zucchini before, let me tell you, four plants is a lot!
Every year it is the same story. Planting zucchini seems like a great idea …. until they start producing. Then you will find me thrusting a zucchini into the hands of anybody that dares cross our threshold. And it is also the reason that you will find a large number of zucchini recipes on this site. Whether you are craving cake, pasta or even a simple quiche, I have you covered. This grilled zucchini salad is just the latest in my efforts to deal with the continuous supply.
Grilling the zucchini adds a lovely smoky element to this zucchini salad. All you need to do is slice the zucchini about 5mm (1/4″) thick, toss them lightly in olive oil and then grill the slices in a single layer over a medium high heat. The heat level is important here: it needs to be high enough to cook the vegetables, but not so hot that the outside chars before the inside cooks. The zucchini can also be grilled indoors on a grill pan, or if it not too hot to turn on the oven, just cut the zucchini into fatter chunks and roast it in the oven instead.A really simple #Quinoa, #Feta and #Grilled #Zucchini #Salad that is great either as a simple #vegetarian meal or an easy #sidedish. The grilled zucchini adds a delicious smoky element to the salad. Click To Tweet
Ingredient Substitutions For Grilled Zucchini Salad
OK, so whilst this is a zucchini salad, and so obviously zucchini is the main element if the dish, it can be replaced with any other roasted or grilled vegetable you like. Think squash, sweet potato, beetroot or carrots for starters.
I like to use quinoa as a base for a main meal salad. It is easy to cook, high in protein and is gluten-free, which makes it perfect for serving to the whole family if you are dealing with various dietary issues. However, the quinoa can easily be replaced with cous cous, cracked wheat, or even brown rice or barley.
Goats cheese can be used in place of the feta if preferred.
Replace some (or all) of the parsley with shredded basil or coriander (cilantro) leaves.
Tips & Tricks For A Great Grilled Zucchini Salad
White, black and red quinoa are all readily available in the shops, and all will work perfectly in this zucchini salad. I like to buy equal quantities of each colour, and then mix them to give a multi-coloured mix. However, I do find that white quinoa has the mildest flavour, which may be better for kids or avowed quinoa haters.
To get ahead with this salad, you can grill the zucchini slices and cook the quinoa in advance, then assemble the salad just before serving. This salad does also keep well, so the salad can easily be assembled in advance. Leftovers make a delicious lunch the next day, and the zucchini salad is also great in lunchboxes.
If you wish to make this quinoa salad vegan, then just omit the cheese and add additional grilled zucchini.
How To Cook Quinoa For Salad
For salad, I prefer to cook quinoa using the absorption method. I find that this prevents the quinoa from going gluggy.
Thoroughly rinse 1 cup of quinoa and allow to drain well. It is important to rinse the quinoa prior to cooking as the grains are coated with saponin, which makes the quinoa taste bitter. A good wash removes this saponin coating.
Tip the rinsed quinoa into a saucepan, and add 2 cups of water or stock. Place the lid on the saucepan and place the pot over a high heat. The minute you see steam escaping from the lid, reduce the heat to low. I use a heat diffuser at this point. Cook the quinoa for 20 minutes, starting the timer from the point you reduced the heat. At the end of the 20 minutes, remove the lid and tip the pot gently to one side. If you can still see free water in the pot, put it back on the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes. The quinoa is ready when there is no more water in the pot.
Remove the lid from the pot, and place a sheet of paper towel over the saucepan. Replace the lid, and allow the quinoa to sit until required.
What to Serve With Grilled Zucchini Salad
In a word, anything! This zucchini salad is delicious served alongside a simple piece of fish or quick roast chicken, or any other grilled protein. Or just serve it on it’s own for a delicious vegetarian main meal salad. And don’t forget to pack the leftovers into the lunchbox for a substantial lunch.
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Quinoa, Feta & Grilled Zucchini Salad
For the Dressing
- 5 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
For the Salad
- 180 g (1 cup) quinoa uncooked
- 500 g ( 1 lb) zucchini approximately*
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 175 g (1 cup) green peas cooked
- 3 spring onions sliced
- 60 g (1/2 cup) parsley chopped
- 200 g (1 1/3 cup) feta crumbled
Make the Dressing
- Place the dressing ingredients into a glass jar.
- Shake the jar to emulsify the ingredients.
- Taste the dressing. It should taste strongly of lemon juice. This taste will be tempered when it is added to the salad, so add more lemon juice if required.
- Adjust the salt & pepper if required, and set the dressing aside.
Prepare the Salad Ingredients
- Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Set aside to cool.
- Pre-heat your BBQ grill plate.*
- Slice the zucchini into 5mm (1/4") slices and place in a large bowl.
- Drizzle the zucchini lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat well in the olive oil.
- Grill the slices for approximately 5 minutes each side, or until the vegetables have softened and dark grill marks are visible on each side.
Assemble the Salad
- Tip the quinoa into a large bowl. Add the cooked peas, grilled zucchini, spring onions and parsley.
- Toss the ingredients together gently to combine
- Pour sufficient dressing over the salad to moisten the quinoa. You may not need all of the dressing, so stir lightly as you drizzle it in.
- Scatter the feta over the salad, stir gently again to combine.
- Serve immediately, or set aside until required.
And if you still don’t know what to do with all that excess zucchini, check out my other post 21 of the Best Zucchini Recipes for Using up a Glut.