I have been missing all of the unique cuisines I would have through travel or simply eating out. However, this pandemic has inspired me to bring more unique flavors and combinations into my meals at home.
I love Mediterranean dishes, and this quinoa recipe is inspired by the flavors and combinations in those dishes. The quinoa base is warm with the added richness of pan seared tomatoes and cooked arugula, topped with the saltiness and creaminess of fried halloumi, a sprinkle of diced kalamata olives, and a side of fresh arugula with balsamic.
This dish is easy to make and incredibly filling, making it a perfect weeknight dinner or easy lunch option. Feel free to use what you have on hand. Halloumi at times can be hard to find (I normally can find it in Whole Foods), but a fried goat cheese or mozzarella would make an excellent substitution. Happy eating!
Makes 4-5 Servings
2 Cups Quinoa, Rinsed
2 Cups Small Tomatoes/Tomato Pieces
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Bag Arugula (about 4 heaping cups)
1 Block Hallomi, Sliced into 1/2 Inch Thick Pieces (or other cheese)
2 Cups Kalamata Olive or Olives of Choice, Pitted
- First, prepare your quinoa according to package instructions. I rinsed two cups of quinoa, added them to 4 cups of water, brought to a boil and them simmered (covered).
- While my quinoa was cooking, I added my garlic, tomatoes, and a tablespoon of olive oil to a saute pan, cooking on low heat and mixing occasionally until garlic browned. After that, I added 1/4 cup water to prevent burning and cooked it a bit longer until the tomatoes slightly burst.
- At this point I checked my quinoa. If you want creamy quinoa (as pictured in this dish), add the tomatoes and remaining water/oil mix in addition to 4 heaping cups of arugula to the quinoa (even if there’s water still remaining) and cook everything together until creamy and thick (like a stew). If you want your quinoa dryer/fluffier, I recommend cooking all the water off and fluffing at the end before mixing in the tomatoes/arugula.
- While the quinoa is cooking a bit longer, use the remaining oil on the tomato/garlic pan (adding more if needed) and brown your halloumi slices on both sides. Place on a plate with paper towel after to drain.
- To serve your dish, spoon out some of the quinoa mixture and pair with a side of fresh arugula and balsamic, topping everything with some fried halloumi, diced olives, and black pepper if desired.
Alysha Melnyk is the Founder and Content Creator of The Kitchenologist©, a food blog dedicated to healthy eating and kitchen experiments. Alysha combined her background in biology with her passion for making food delicious, eye-catching, and accessible. When she’s not cooking in the kitchen or dreaming up a recipe, Alysha works full time as an Implementation Specialist and Lead Educator at ECRI, an international medical nonprofit located in suburban Philadelphia that is dedicated to improving patient safety worldwide. Alysha finds her many career passions revolve around the power of knowledge and that equipping people with the right tools and resources will help them make better informed decisions.