quinoa with salmon, feta, and dill

I imagine that most people have a set of ten, twenty, or maybe even thirty dinners that they regularly make. Some people might try a new recipe every couple of weeks. But for the most part, I suspect that dinner on any given night is something familiar.

Then there are a class of people who have so many recipes they want to try that they know there simply aren’t enough nights in the week, month, year, life. Every time an old favorite is made is an opportunity lost to try something new. Not that I don’t have a rotation; it’s just that meals are considered on the rotation if they’re made only once or twice a year. Something in heavy rotation might be made six or seven times per year.

This was a surprise addition to my rotation. If I didn’t think we’d like it, I wouldn’t have made it, but I didn’t know we’d like it as much as we did. Dave compared it sushi bowls, with the grain base, fish, and cucumbers, but the lemon, dill, and feta take it in a different direction.

Of course, it takes more than good flavor to be added to my rotation – dishes have to be healthy, which means no refined carbs, limited oil and butter, and plenty of protein and vegetables. Recipes also have to be easy if there’s any hope of me making them often, and the limited amount of ingredient prep required here can be accomplished while the quinoa cooks. Not only have I made this three times in the last year, I’ve made it twice in the last month – heavy rotation indeed.

One year ago: Shrimp Burgers
Two years ago: Roasted Baby Artichokes
Three years ago: Double (or Triple) Chocolate Cookies

Printer Friendly Recipe
Quinoa with Salmon, Feta, and Dill (adapted from Apple a Day)

Serves 6

You can use also fresh salmon and cook it either on the stove or in the oven. Kelsey has directions for stovetop cooking. If you use fresh salmon instead of smoked, increase the salt in the quinoa cooking water to ½ teaspoon.

While you can serve this immediately after mixing, it will be better if you give the flavors some time to meld, even just 15 minutes. This is particularly true if you’re using salty smoked salmon.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juice and zest
8 ounces smoked salmon, chopped small
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼-inch thick
½ cup feta cheese, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

1. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer; rinse until the water no longer foams. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the quinoa, salt, and the zest of the lemon. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off; let the quinoa set, still covered, for another 5 minutes. Drain off any unabsorbed water.

2. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the quinoa, then mix in the salmon and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight.

Oh yeah, I used red quinoa!  Regular quinoa will work every bit as well though.


  1. If I could get the Omnivore to eat salmon, this might be in our rotation, too. I’d just have to be sure to refer to the quinoa as ‘cous cous’ for the best chance of success.

    I bet this would really be good with chick peas or white beans instead of the fish. Maybe I’ll try that.

  2. I’m the same way. Heavy rotation is a few times a year. But we do have a few things that are in super-heavy rotation. Anything with quinoa is great in my book. I’m going to have to add this to the never ending list of recipes to try…

  3. YUM!

  4. What a different way to eat salmon. So healthy and tasty.

  5. I am so with you–there is just not enough time to try all the recipes I want to. In fact, I almost never make (exactly) the same thing. And this recipe is going in my list of recipes to try soon!

  6. I still have yet to try your sushi bowls and now I need to add this to the list too!

  7. I really love this dish! What would you suggest in place of the feta and dill?

  8. bridget says:

    Stephanie – Most herbs would work fine. Something as simple as parsley would be great. I really like the salty feta in this, but you could use goat cheese or leave the cheese out altogether.

  9. I made this as a “Welcome Home” dinner for my husband after he returned from a business trip and we both LOVED it. I’d never cooked with quinoa before and was amazed how easy the dish was to pull together. We will definitely be making this again and again!

  10. This was a lovely dish. I had a few things in the fridge that were perfect for this. This dish was so easy and quick to make, a bit of sheep’s milk feta, fresh dill from the garden, rainbow quinoa, fresh smoked salmon from the farmers market. Thank you!