This Instant Pot Mediterranean Quinoa salad will quickly become a new favorite! Fluffy quinoa is mixed with fresh Mediterranean vegetables, leaving you with a delicious and versatile side dish, healthy lunch, or main.
You cannot go wrong with Instant Pot Mediterranean Quinoa. It’s a flavor-packed recipe you can enjoy on its own, with your favorite protein, served cold OR warm as a healthy side dish, and so much more!
Table of Contents
Just like my Mediterranean Hummus Salad and Mediterranean Lentil Quinoa Rice Salad, you’ll find a bounty of fresh and flavorful ingredients in this Mediterranean quinoa bowl. I like filling it with shiitake mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, carrots, onions, fresh spinach, black olives, and hemp seeds, but you can mix these up as much as you like (or use what you already have at home!).
The process is simple: cook the quinoa and mushrooms in the Instant Pot and prep the vegetables while you wait. You can even get this done ahead of time so all you have to do is grab the leftovers out of the fridge and enjoy! The quinoa salad is tasty on its own but gets even better with protein mixed in, like grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas.
This quinoa salad is naturally vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, and egg free. But it NEVER lacks in flavor. It’s sure to become a new favorite!
Why this recipe works
- Versatility is the name of the game: Quinoa salads are known to be flexible and versatile, and this recipe is no exception. Enjoy it on its own, as a healthy side dish, paired with dinner, or for meal prep.
- It’s very healthy: Using quinoa as the base of this Mediterranean bowl makes it very healthy. It’s one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat (8 grams per 1 cup) and has almost twice as much fiber as most grains (5 grams per 1 cup). Quinoa also contains iron, lysine, magnesium, and manganese and is naturally gluten free, making it safe to eat if you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
- It’s very quick and easy: The quinoa is cooked in vegetable broth in the Instant Pot for 1 minute followed by 10 minutes of natural pressure release. That’s about as much time as it takes to chop all of your veggies, making this a speedy, low-stress recipe.
You can experiment with the vegetables you use in this salad (see more options in the Variations section), but I like using an array of fresh, Mediterranean vegetables. These are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Quinoa – Make sure to rinse the uncooked quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve under running before adding it to the Instant Pot. The water will wash away the bitter coating on the outside (saponin), leaving you with fluffy and flavorful quinoa.
- Vegetable broth – Cooking quinoa in vegetable broth gives it a boost of savory flavor. Feel free to use chicken broth or bone broth if you don’t need the recipe to be vegan/vegetarian.
- Shiitake mushrooms – You can use any kind of mushroom you like or have at home if you can’t find shiitake.
- Carrots – Shredded, for easy eating.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hemp seeds – These give the salad a boost of plant protein, fiber, and fatty acids. Feel free to leave them out or use sunflower seeds as a substitute.
- Red onion
- Black olives – Kalamata olives would be good, too.
- Fresh spinach – Kale could be used as a substitute.
- Olive oil – To dress the cooked quinoa.
- Salt and pepper
How to make Mediterranean quinoa in the Instant Pot
Step 1: Add the rinsed quinoa to the Instant Pot along with the vegetable broth and mushrooms.
Step 2: Seal the lid and cook on High Pressure for 1 minute.
Step 3: Once the remaining pressure has been released, remove the lid and stir in the rest of the ingredients*. Place the lid on top for 5 minutes to soften the vegetables, then serve.
*If you prefer cold quinoa salad, transfer the cooked quinoa and mushrooms to an airtight container and place them in the fridge to chill for 1 hour or overnight.
You can easily make this recipe with or without an Instant Pot. On the stovetop, cook the mushrooms and quinoa in vegetable broth according to the package instructions. Stir in the vegetables when done, place the lid on top for 5 minutes, then serve.
- Vegetables for warm quinoa salad – The types of vegetables you use will depend on if you’re serving the quinoa salad warm or cold. Stick to hearty vegetables if you plan on serving the quinoa salad warm, like roasted squash, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, beets, or eggplant.
- Vegetables for cold quinoa salad – Cold quinoa salad calls for refreshing and crisp vegetables, like cucumber, fresh parsley or cilantro, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, or arugula.
- Add cheese – Serve the vegetarian quinoa salad with crumbled feta cheese on top for creamy, salty bites.
- Add protein – Chickpeas, edamame, or tofu would fill this salad with plant-based protein. Otherwise, you can stir in roasted salmon, this tasty Mediterranean Shrimp, shredded chicken, or the protein of your choice.
- Add nuts – Add walnuts, pecans, or almonds for some crunch.
There are plenty of ways to serve this dish and endless pairings to choose from. Use these ideas to help you get started:
- As a cold side dish: You can eat it on its own or pair it with a roasted vegetable salad, pan fried sea bass, shrimp salad sandwiches, or salmon cakes for lunch.
- As a warm side dish for dinner: Once it’s ready to go, serve the warm quinoa salad next to zesty tilapia and green beans, fish tacos, or garlic chicken thighs for dinner.
- On its own: Feel free to enjoy the quinoa as-is or dress it up with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice in addition to the olive oil. It’s filling on its own but gets even better when enjoyed with focaccia, pita bread, or dinner rolls on the side.
To make ahead: You can cook the quinoa and chop the vegetables 1 or 2 days ahead of time. Just keep them in separate airtight containers in the fridge to maintain freshness.
To store: Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 to 6 days.
Looking for more healthy recipes with quinoa?
- Instant Pot Salmon and Quinoa
- Quinoa Kale Butternut Squash Salad
- Quinoa Chickpea Salad
- Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice
Instant Pot Mediterranean Quinoa
- Instant pot
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup shiitake mushroom sliced
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds shelled
- 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup black olives chopped
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
- Add rinsed quinoa to the instant pot along with vegetable broth and mushrooms.
- Cover the pot and lock lid. Cook on high pressure for 1 minute then allow for 10 minutes of natural pressure release (NPR) then release remaining pressure if any left.
- Stir in remaining ingredients and season to taste.
- Cover the pot back up and allow it to sit for 5 minutes on "keep warm" mode before serving
- Transfer remaining ingredients to air tight container. Can be served cold or hot
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.