Fresh Mediterranean flavors are infused in this quinoa salad. But for an authentic taste, be sure to buy Greek-made feta cheese.
If you’ve never compared real Greek-made feta cheese to our Western-made brands, you probably won’t know there is a difference. Feta is feta isn’t it?
Nope, and here’s why…
Like balsamic vinegar, Greek feta also has a Protected Designation of Origin (look for “DPO” or “PDO” identification on the packaging) for those that are made in the traditional way.
- It be labeled as such, the cheese must contain at least 70% sheep’s milk, with any remainder being made up of goats milk.
- Blocks of feta are first dry-salted. This process allows flavorful bacteria to grown on the surface of the cheese, which gets absorbed into the cheese.
- Finally the feta is brined for at least two months. Brining allows the enzymes from the bacteria, the rennet, and the milk to create additional flavor compounds.
Western-made feta is different in that it is made with cows milk instead of sheep (which has half as much fat, and less flavor as sheep milk), and sometimes some goat milk. The dry-salting step is usually omitted, and the feta is usually brined in its packaging – which sits for only as long as it takes to arrive at the store.
Another reason why Greek feta has a more distinctly delicious flavor, is that the Greek sheep and goats eat a more diverse diet. There are over 5000 different plants that make up their diet, many of which are only found in Greece. And since their milk products can be imparted with flavors from their diet, it’s no wonder Greek feta tastes so unique!
Quinoa Greek Salad
- 1 cup milk or milk alternative or water
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2-4 Tbsp lemon juice to taste
- 2 to matoes diced (or use 1 cup grape tomatoes)
- 1 sweet pepper diced
- 1/2 large cucumber diced
- 1/4-1/2 cup red onion diced
- 1 cup canned red kidney beans rinsed
- 1 cup feta diced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil optional
- In saucepan, bring to a boil the milk, water, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in quinoa, cover and reduce to low, simmering for 20 minutes.
- Once all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is soft, stir in lemon zest and fluff with a fork. Spread out onto a baking pan, and allow to cool. Set aside.
- Prepare remaining ingredients, dicing as large or small as you’d like. Once the quinoa has cooled, combine everything together and adjust seasonings and flavorings to taste.