We took a break. I started seeing barley and farro. I took a good year-long quinoa hiatus. But, good news, the little grain and I are back on speaking terms. We laid some ground rules, see each other a couple times a week and we’re in a much better place.
Part of my attraction to quinoa is it’s versatility. You can serve it with anything and everything. I like to cook quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth to add an extra boost of flavor; I’ll also usually add fresh thyme, parsley, garlic and scallions, if I have some on-hand. I’ll prepare a large batch on the weekend and eat it throughout the week with vegetables, roasted chicken or even scrambled eggs. Sometimes I’ll make quinoa ‘fried rice’, which is largely a vehicle for soy sauce.
This salad is delicious and so healthy. It’s packed with protein from both the quinoa and the garbanzo beans, so it’s great for vegetarians or you could of course serve with grilled salmon or tuna or maybe even steak tips. This is a Greek themed salad, but you can incorporate any combination of vegetables; use whatever catches your eye at the market or whatever you need to use up from your refrigerator. Capers would be a great addition here for an extra burst of brininess and pine nuts would add some nice texture. Confession: I use Newman’s Own bottled salad dressing here, because it is my favorite and I put it on everything, however if you have a preferred homemade dressing, mix-up a batch and drizzle on top or serve on the side.
Greek Quinoa Salad
Inspired by Real Food Whole Life
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
4 cups mixed greens
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 – 2 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow), thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Kalamata olives
2 – 4 oz feta cheese
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare quinoa according to package instructions. Try using chicken or vegetable broth instead of water for extra flavor.
To assemble the salad, start by layering the greens on a large serving latter. Top with quinoa, chickpeas, cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, tomatoes, olives, feta and lemon.
Season with salt and pepper and dress with your favorite vinaigrette.