Greek Lamb Quinoa Salad
I know, I know, it’s obvious by now that I’m obsessed with Greek food, but I seriously can’t get enough. When it comes to Greek flavors, they embody just about everything I love. Lamb is a personal favorite of mine, but one that constantly gets the rep of being difficult to cook. If you’re someone who is intimidated by this, ground lamb is the way to go. It simplifies the cooking process so that any amateur cook is able to enjoy the delicious flavor with their meal. Combine that with the crisp vegetables of bell peppers and cucumbers, the tanginess and creaminess of the feta cheese, and the flavor of the cumin & za’atar and you’ve created just about my dream plate. Seriously, I could eat this meal just about every day.
To make, it is incredibly simple. It is loaded with vegetables and a clean dish that leaves me full but always craving just a bit more (it’s that good…). This dish also comes together incredibly quickly as majority of the steps can be done simultaneously and using separate parts of your kitchen. First up, you’re going to make the quinoa. In the directions, I include one of my favorite pro-tips when making quinoa: to toast the seeds beforehand. This gives the quinoa extra flavor and hints of nuttiness bringing it to that next level. While the quinoa is cooking, you’re going to start chopping those vegetables. This dish is loaded with bell peppers, tomatoes, kale, and cucumber – vegetables I tend to always have on hand as they are incredibly versatile and, as I mentioned, I make just about everything into a “Greek” version.
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Once the vegetables are chopped and ready to go, you’ll sauté them on a skillet to bring out some flavor and soften them a bit. After the vegetables are cooked through, don’t wash that skillet quite yet! I like to use that same skillet for my ground lamb as I am one to limit the amount of dishes required to be cleaned whenever I feasibly can. For the ground lamb, you want to make sure your skillet is hot before adding on the meat. This provides one of the most important factors when cooking meat: the sear. Nobody likes grey looking cooked ground meat, you want that extra nice crisp and sear, so make sure your skillet is hot and “pre-heated” before adding it on! As I mentioned, this is the fool-proof way for introducing lamb into your cooking repertoire. Since it is ground and eventually broken into small crumbled pieces, you’re easily able to see which pieces are cooked through (brown) and which are not (still pink).
Once the lamb is cooked through, the vegetables are all sautéed, the quinoa is fluffed, and the other toppings are ready to go, you’ll combine everything in a large bowl, add some additional flavor via seasoning, toss together, and enjoy! None of the cooking elements require too much time on the stove and, before you know it, voila – your meal is complete and ready to be devoured.
Greek Lamb Quinoa Salad
- Ground lamb (1/2lb)
- Tuscan kale (1/2 head)
- Bell pepper (1)
- Grape tomatoes (1/4 cup)
- Cucumber (1/2)
- Kalamata olives (1/4 cup) – pitted
- Feta (1/2 cup) – crumbled
- Quinoa (1/2 cup)
- Avocado oil
- Greek dressing (1/4 cup) – optional
- Cumin (1/2 teaspoon)
- Za’atar seasoning (1/2 teaspoon)
How to cook Greek Lamb Quinoa Salad
- In a pot over medium heat, add in the ½ cup of quinoa and let it toast, tossing the pot, for about 45 seconds – 1 minute, or until it is a bit fragrant
- Add in 1 ¼ cups of water to the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat to low and cook, covered, for ~15 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed
- While the quinoa is cooking, cut the bell pepper into ¼ inch pieces, quarter the grape tomatoes, and chop the kale into small pieces
- On a hot skillet with 1 teaspoon of avocado oil, add all of the vegetables and season with salt & pepper
- Cook the vegetables on the skillet for ~10 minutes, or until they are softened and cooked through
- Place the vegetables in a large bowl and, using that same skillet, bring it up to medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of avocado oil and then the ground lamb, ¼ teaspoon of the cumin & za’atar seasoning, and salt & pepper
- Allowing the lamb to sear on one side and using a wooden spoon, break the ground lamb into pieces and sauté consistently moving it around for ~10 minutes, or until all of the pieces of lamb are cooked through
- Once the lamb is finished cooking, remove it from the skillet and add it into the large bowl with the vegetables
- Chop the Kalamata olives, cut the cucumber into ¼ inch pieces, and dice the avocado into small chunks
- Add the crumbled feta, cooked quinoa, and the chopped olives, cucumber, and avocado to the bowl and season with an additional ½ teaspoon of cumin & za’atar seasoning and salt & pepper
- Combine the mixture well and, if desired, add in the ¼ cup of Greek dressing
- Serve this dish warm and enjoy!
- Gluten Free
- Soy Free
- Nut Free