Quinoa Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Salad

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I’m sitting in the kitchen as I write this. It’s raining a little bit outside and I have the kitchen window closed, maybe for the first time this month. When I got home from working on the farm, I took a shower and it felt so good to warm up in the hot water, a simple pleasure and a great luxury. More zucchini baked goods are in the oven and I still have over-large squash left in the refrigerator drawer.

There are apples near the other kitchen window, which is open, and they smell like everything good about fall. They are from my co-worker’s neighbor’s tree, but I haven’t touched them since she gave them to me a week ago. I’ve been wanting to take in more summer fruit before I start on apples. There is a round, dark green watermelon from the farm on the counter, also untouched. With todays’ weather apples would be the choice, but I know there are still more watermelon days to come.

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Despite my ramble, I came here to share a salad with you. Fall may be hinted at here and there, but I assure you there are still fresh, summer salads in your future. This one is just right for the time when it is too hot or you are too tired to make much of dinner. You can easily throw it together, but the bright red tomatoes and shiny green cucumbers are dressed up by the quinoa clinging like jewels to everything in the bowl.

This salad originally featured grilled sourdough bread. After trying that the first time, I decided to replace it with chickpeas for something more nutritious that wouldn’t get soggy if we didn’t eat it all right away. The thing I love about this salad is that it isn’t dressed, but mixed with chopped herbs, garlic and a bit of oil and vinegar. All of the ingredients add their own flavors and blend well together. I can’t take credit for it, the recipe comes from Plenty but here is my version. 

Quinoa, Chickpea, and Summer Vegetable Salad
Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

1/4 cup quinoa
4 ripe medium tomatoes
1-2 medium cucumbers, unpeeled
1 cup cooked (or canned) chickpeas
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped parsely
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 small garlic cloves, crushed and minced
salt and pepper

Bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil, add the quinoa and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the quinoa is tender. Rinse under cold water to cool.

Dice the tomatoes into 3/4 inch pieces. Cut the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise and then slice across them at 1/4 inch intervals, to create many small pieces. Place the tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and red onion in a bowl.  Add the cilantro, mint, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil and garlic. Toss all of the ingredients to combine. Add salt and pepper as needed. 

Makes more than enough for 2 as a meal and plenty for 4 if you are serving it with other dishes.

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