A few days ago I was asked to bring a favorite grain or bean salad to a dinner. Not knowing which to make, I decided on a salad that has both.
But here’s a fun fact: Quinoa isn’t actually a grain. It is the seed from the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is often classified as a grain because we cook it the same way we cook grains, but it is, in fact, part of a subcategory called “pseudograins.”
No matter. Besides its earthy taste and toothsome texture, quinoa is a complete protein. Paired it with chickpeas and feta, the quinoa salad below is a protein-packed one-dish meal.
I’ve riffed on this recipe, originally inspired by Bon Appetit magazine, sometimes playing with the proportions, but I’ve never felt a need to add or subtract ingredients. It’s quite good as is.
This recipe makes a LOT of food, so it’s great to share at a potluck. You will likely have plenty to eat at home as well.
- 1-1/2 cups quinoa (any color)
- 3 cups water
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1-1/3 cup cubed English cucumber (I used peeled lemon cucumber this time.)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 7 ounces feta cheese (I used fresh goat feta from Drake Family Farms.)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 2-1/2 t smoked paprika
- Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, return to a boil, then turn down the heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until done. Let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
- Combine the spinach, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mint leaves, chickpeas and feta in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add the quinoa to the vegetables and mix thoroughly.
- Add the dressing a little at a time, mixing and then adding more to make sure all the ingredients are coated.