Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cooking Light with Rachael Ray: Feta-Watermelon Quinoa

This recipe makeover comes right outta the pages of EveryDay with Rachael Ray Magazine (June/July 2011 issue). The original recipe is a Feta-Watermelon Tabbouleh side. However, I didn't have any bulgur wheat on hand. So, with a little improvisation, I subbed the healthy and delicious quinoa for the bulgur wheat and PRESTO!... I had a healthy and light side dish that didn't require another run to the grocery store.

Serves 6

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh peeled watermelon, chopped into 1/2" cubes
  • 4 ounces REDUCED-FAT crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill,chopped

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar and lemon juice. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Toss the dressing with the quinoa in the large bowl.

Add the watermelon, feta, cucumber, red onion and dill. Toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper....if needed. But just remember to go easy on the salt! (wink-wink).


Just look at it! It's beautiful! The colors are gorgeous and flavors just scream summertime. It is the perfect light side for those summer cookouts. A MUST-TRY!

This was already a pretty healthy side, so to lighten it up a little more, I only changed a few things. First, I reduced the amount of olive oil by 3 tablespoons. I also cut down on the amount of feta and switched to a reduced-fat variety. Quinoa was just a change of convenience. Either way, you are going to get tons of nutrition with the bulgur wheat or quinoa.

The nutritional breakdown...

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):

BEFORE: 342.8 calories;  22.83g fat;  27.79g carbohydrate;  7.96g protein;  4.55g fiber

AFTER: 234.67 calories;  12.49g fat;  26.3g carbohydrate;  6.71g protein;  2.55g fiber

SAVES: 108.13 calories;  10.34g fat;  1.49g carbohydrate

From a nutritional standpoint, if you have the option of bulgur wheat or quinoa, go with the bulgur. Although they are close in calories, protein and carbohydrates; using bulgur will cut the overall fat content of this recipe by 9.2 grams of fat. Bulgur wheat also has more fiber. And as we discussed on Tuesday...WE LOVE FIBER. Using bulgur will increase the overall recipe fiber content by 10 grams! So to put it simply, use bulgur if you have it. However, if you or someone in your family is GLUTEN FREE, go with the quinoa.



  1. FEta and Watermelon sounds like a terrific combination! Hafe to disagree about fat free feta. I would rather reduce the amount of real than sub the bland nearly tasteless fat free version. Feta is just one of those cheeses that doesn't seem to reduce well (in my opinion).

    Other than that, love this recipe a lot!

  2. Oh yum! Yum! YuM! I didn't know this existed and now i can't wait to try it! YUM!

  3. Lindsay! I love quinuoa and I'm always thrilled to find another way to enjoy it! This recipe is not only beautiful, but it sounds irresistable! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. HI , I just found your site and so glad I did! We love Quinoa and make many dishes using it. I love the fact you put watermelon into the salad and this is a must try! Thanks :)



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