Friday, June 26, 2015

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with a Balsamic Reduction

This summer, my little family is living in France.  We are here for my husband's job, and it has been such an incredible experience to be able to really enjoy a city (we live in Lyon), because you have an apartment, and more than just a few days to see the sights.  I have already found my favorite ice cream shop, and we have a neighborhood bakery where we buy baguettes a few times a week.  It is kind of magical.

Even though we are in France where there are many delicious restaurants to eat at, because our baby goes to bed early, and restaurants here open late, we cook dinner at home just about every night.  Our apartment here doesn't have an oven, so cooking has been somewhat of a challenge.  I normally cook at least 3 dinners a week in our oven, so not having one has forced me to become creative on our stove-top. I have created a few new recipes, including this beauty!  It sounds extremely fancy, but don't be fooled, it is very simple, healthy and delicious.


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cored, and sliced into thin strips lengthwise*
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped in half*
  • 1 carrot, sliced into wheels*
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into wheels*
  • 1 cup crumbled feta*
  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa*
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, torn and used as a garnish (optional)*
*Creative Green Living recommends purchasing these ingredients as organic where available to avoid GMOs, pervasive pesticides and/or questionable farming practices.

Nutrition information is approximate and may vary based on the freshness and brand of your ingredients. Nutrition information calculated at: Calorie Count.


  1. Pour your olive oil into a large frying pan.  Heat burner to a medium heat and add carrots.  Cook the carrots, stirring occasionally for 2 or 3 minutes.  (While this is cooking, you can start the dressing)
  2. Add zucchini and peppers to the pan with the carrots.  Cover with a lid and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes.  (Here, begin preparing the quinoa)
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute. Carrots and zucchini should be just starting to brown.   
  4. Remove from the heat.  
  1. While the vegetables are cooking, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until it starts to boil.  Lower the heat to medium, and let it simmer for about 5 - 8 minutes, until it begins to thicken.  When it has reached a pretty good consistency, somewhat runny, but definitely thicker than your original vinegar, remove from heat.  
  1. Prepare the quinoa while your veggies and vinegar cook.  Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer with clean running water, then place it in a medium sized pot with 2 cups of water.  Bring the water to a boil, and then turn down the heat and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or so, until the quinoa has absorbed most of the water and looks fluffy.  Remove from heat.  
  2. Once all your ingredients have been cooked, in a large bowl or individual bowls, layer quinoa at the bottom, next vegetables, followed by feta and topped with balsamic reduction.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

About the Author: 

Landen runs Measure and Whisk, a cooking blog with a focus on real food. She is a firm believer that quality is superior to quantity, and prefers small amounts of good food over large quantities of cheap food. Deeply disappointed in cheap bacon, she prefers to buy $6 bacon less frequently. Because of this, she typically cooks vegetarian meals for her family.    

Her blog also features photos of her baby, Fox, and suggestions on how to live an eco-friendly and minimalist life, both in and out of the kitchen. Follow her on Pinterest and Instagram for beautiful food photos and pictures of baby Fox.

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