Last Thursday turned into a fiasco. I woke up and started powering through my to-do list, for once. Emails? Check. Laundry? Check. Groceries? Check. High five, self!
Then my landlord came over to work on some things. As I was talking to him and trying to clean off the counters, Cookie leapt up in a truly impressive feat and swiped a hunk of dark chocolate cake off the counter. She gobbled it down before I could stop her. I tried the hydrogen peroxide thing, but it wasn’t enough, so we zoomed over to the vet.
My Cookie girl spent the afternoon behind closed doors, and we went back the next afternoon, too. We’ve both been moving a little slow since then. She’s generally such an exuberant force, and she’s recovered about ninety percent now. It’s cute when she grabs cabbage from the counter, but chocolate, not so much (I’m careful, too).
I finalized these salad details while she was away, and it was a relief to come home to a healthy dinner after a stressful day. Quinoa salads can be both super nutritious and delicious, and this one is definitely both.
In addition to quinoa (which is cooked to fluffy perfection using my preferred method), I added chickpeas, which are rich in fiber, protein and nutrients like manganeses and folate (source). I added loads of fresh flavor to the quinoa-chickpea base with spinach, parsley, cilantro and green onion.
The salad wasn’t quite awesome enough until I added freshly toasted pepitas and some creamy, crumbled feta cheese (which could be replaced by sliced Kalamata olives, if you’d rather). Then I poured in a zippy, garlicky, lemony dressing made lightly creamy with some tahini. This salad would be a great packed lunch, and it would also be a lovely vegetarian (easily vegan) addition to your holiday table.
This is my last post created to celebrate the United Nation’s International Year of Pulses. “Pulse” is the more general name for beans, lentils and peas (a few of my favorite ingredients). For more information about the benefits of pulses, and to join me in committing to eat one serving of pulses every week, visit PulsePledge.com. To see my other recipes, check out my Greek lentil salad, fresh seven-layer dip and broccoli, chickpea and avocado chickpea pita sandwiches.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
- 2 cups water
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or additional parsley)
- 1/3 cup chopped green onion (green parts only)
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta
- 1/3 cup toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To cook the quinoa: Combine the rinsed quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes, reducing heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, which gives it time to fluff up.
- Meanwhile, toast the pepitas in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and making little popping noises, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a large serving bowl to cool for a few minutes (we’ll add more to the bowl in a minute).
- To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and several twists of freshly ground pepper. Taste, and add up to 1 more tablespoon of lemon juice and/or more pepper, if necessary (I like my dressing pretty zippy for this salad, so I used the full 4 tablespoons).
- Once the quinoa is ready to use, add it to the large bowl. Add the chickpeas, spinach, parsley, cilantro, green onion, feta and toasted pepitas. Drizzle all of the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or let it cool and refrigerate for later. This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
Change it up: You could add shredded carrots and/or top with diced avocado.
If you love this recipe: You'll also love my Greek Lentil Salad and Sun-Dried Tomato, Spinach and Quinoa Salad.
This post was created in partnership with USA Pulses and Pulses Canada. Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!