Quinoa, Arugula & Fig Salad

Quinoa Arugula Fig Salad | She Paused 4 Thought

I don’t like restrictions–period. So when I hear the word diet, I feel frustrated by all the things I won’t be able to eat. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the Mediterranean Diet isn’t what we traditionally think of when we say “diet”, but is a lifestyle that should be enjoyed with both pleasure and health in mind. Can someone give me an Amen?!

Enter Amy Riolo, author of The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook who made the word “diet” sound very inviting by focusing on the importance of enjoying meals with others, and maintaining physical activity.

Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

Amy immersed herself in the Mediterranean culture for years and summed her observations with these three factors:

  • Food is treated as medicine.
  • Moderation is the key.
  • An active physical and social lifestyle is mandatory.

I can happily live by that creed.

Amy | Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

Amy Riolo was a guest speaker at a Melissa’s Produce luncheon. She is an award-winning author, chef, television personality, educator, cuisine and culture expert. In conversation with her, she spoke eloquently about her experiences in Egypt, Italy & UAE. Her love of sharing culture, history, and nutrition through global cuisine was infectious, and this passion and mission is clear in her latest cookbook.

The Cookbook:

Amy organizes her recipes from her latest book on the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid.

Mediterranean Diet Pyramid | She Paused 4 Thought

Each recipe is accompanied by “Mediterranean Tradition” – fun history facts, culture, lore, tips and nutritional value of the dish and its ingredients. We enjoyed several selections at our event.

Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

From her “Plant-based Foods” chapter we sampled: North African Fruit Cocktail, Quinoa, Arugula & Fig Salad, Green Beans, Potatoes & Cherry Tomatoes with Pesto and Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Zucchini, Basil & Cherry Tomatoes.

Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook

From the “Fish & Seafood” chapter we tasted the Citrus Marinated Salmon with Fennel Cream and from the “Meat & Sweets” chapter was a light and satisfying Raspberry Citrus Clafoutis. It was the perfect ending to our Mediterranean Feast.

Today’s Recipe:

Today’s recipe has a French spin on tabbouleh by replacing the bulgur wheat with quinoa, the ancient grain that supplies all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. This pleasurable salad is a wonderful vegetarian main dish or side dish for fish.

Note: If fresh figs are not in season, substitute pears, apples, oranges, or the fruit of your choice. Another variation on this salad is substituting the juice of 1 orange for the lemon, and 2 cups (454 g) fresh berries and 11 ounces (312 g) baby spinach for the figs and arugula. It is a delightful and refreshing salad any way you combine it.

Quinoa, Arugula & Fig Salad
Recipe type: vegetarian main
Cuisine: Mediterranean
This French spin on tabbouleh replaces bulgur wheat with quinoa, making it a perfect vegetarian main dish. If fresh figs are not in season, substitute pears, apples, oranges, or the fruit of your choice.
  • 1 cup (185 g) dry quinoa, rinsed
  • ½ cup (118 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint (228 g) fresh figs, quartered
  • 11 ounces (312 g) baby arugula
  1. Bring 2 cups (475 ml) of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa, stir, reduce heat to low, and cover. Allow to simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool completely.
  2. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper together to form vinaigrette.
  3. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and lightly fluff with a fork. Combine with the vinaigrette. Gently stir in figs. Place the arugula on a platter. Pour the quinoa mixture over the arugula and serve.
Yield: 4 servings as a vegetarian main, or 8 as a side dish

The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook has 100 easy to follow recipes from 25 countries – as well as current information on Mediterranean health and nutritional research. Her goal is to inspire more shared memories at the table, as well as happiness and health to everyone who reads it.

You can purchase Amy’s book on Amazon. You can also follow her culinary/cultural blog called Amyriolo.blogspot.com or find out more about her at amyriolo.com.

Quote of the Day:

“Treat food, family, and friends as if they are the most important part of your life.” – Amy Riolo
…and then, she paused for thought.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was given a copy of The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook to test recipes and produce from Melissa’s Produce to cook with. All opinions are my own.

About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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14 Responses to Quinoa, Arugula & Fig Salad

  1. Natalie July 16, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    I love this, and so sorry to have missed the event. Any salad with arugula and quinoa is right up my alley! Thanks for sharing!

    • Cathy Arkle July 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm #

      Natalie, we missed you too. You will love the recipes from this book. They are healthy and easy to make.

  2. Nanette July 16, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    Yup, that’s a diet I could live with. Now all I need is a volunteer chef! Anyone?

    • Cathy Arkle July 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

      LOL Nan, the recipes in this book make it easy to cook healthy.

  3. CHERI NEWELL July 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    Everything looked delish and healthy too! (Was that picture taken in your kitchen??)

    • Cathy Arkle July 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

      Everything was delicious! Yes the cover picture was taken in my kitchen. All other photos were taken at Melissa’s Produce in Vernon.

  4. Sue @ It's Okay to Eat the Cupcake July 16, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    Your post is wonderful! This salad was so delicious at the event and yours looks beautiful. I’m so excited to cook from this book!

    • Cathy Arkle July 16, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

      Thanks Sue. I have made several things from the book with success. Enjoy!

  5. Kristi @ My SF Kitchen July 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    I think I would really enjoy this book, I will definitely look into it! 🙂 Thanks!

    • Cathy Arkle July 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

      Kristi, what I have tasted so far is delightful.

  6. Leslie Macchiarella July 19, 2015 at 11:30 pm #

    You had me at figs! I also like the substitution ideas to change it up in so many ways.

    • Cathy Arkle July 23, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

      Yes, this salad has so many options. Use whatever you have on hand.

  7. sippitysup July 20, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    I’ve always followed this philosophy and I’m thin, fit, healthy, happy and most importantly – well fed. GREG

    • Cathy Arkle July 23, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

      What a great testimonial Greg! Hopefully more people will follow this philosophy as well.

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