Meatless Monday: Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Recently I had the honor of going to a swap party.  I had read about them a while back and they seemed like a fantastic idea.  Friends and family getting together after cleaning out their closets and households and swap items not longer used, but in good condition.  I had talked about the idea with a friend and she was quick to plan and host one.  Her house was perfect for the event, a large century home with two living rooms and gobs of space for plenty of people and their stuff!  The weather wasn’t too cooperative as can be the case in the winter time and the turn out was smaller than expected but still loads of fun.  I went down with about 15 items, clothes I no longer wore, housewares given as gifts that I had never used, accessories and shoes that I had lost taste for.  Others came with the same and I scored some really nice things, they say one man’s (or woman’s in this case) trash is another man’s treasure.  I ended up leaving with only 7 items, everyone else had the same experience, and the leftover items would be donated to a local charity.  Over all the idea of a swap party is a win, win, win situation.

Swap party

 

My friend Jennie had some great food for us all as well.  One of my favorite things there, other then the Italian specialities she picked up from a local Italian grocer, was a delicious and healthy salad made by her friend Emily.  It was packed with good things such as tomatoes, cucumbers and chickpeas.  It was very tasty and I wanted to recreate it, but with my own twist.  I decided to pan roast the chickpeas with rosemary and shallots and add quinoa.  I think it is hard to find really flavorful tomatoes this time of year but I always have success with grape tomatoes.  I used those in combination with another baby veggie, mini cucumbers.  I loved the way they looked in the salad cut into rounds.  I also used a combo of my favorite olives, calamata and oil cured black olives.  Both of these are so flavorful, ripe, salty, meaty and just add a bit of the divine to this salad.  The salad it beautiful with the quinoa but also without it, so you decide.  Also it is man approved, Eric loved it.  So guys give this one a try!

Mediterranean quinoa salad 2

5.0 from 2 reviews
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is a tasty and wholesome dish. You can also omit mixing the quinoa with the chickpea salad and serve it with the chickpea/veggie mixture overtop or on the side. This recipe only uses ½ cup dry quinoa but you could make the full cup and save half of it for another time, but remember if making a full cup to use 2 cups of stock. Cook time and prep time can be done at once and the prep time for this takes into account the cooling of the quinoa. It is a quick, simple, yet powerfully flavorful dish.
Recipe by:
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 dry pint grape tomatoes
  • 1-8 oz Athens chunk feta cheese
  • 4 oz calamata olives
  • 4 oz black oil cured olives
  • 3 mini cucumbers
  • 1-8 oz can chick peas
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika ( I used Hungarian hot for a little kick!)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Rinse and drain quinoa with cold water.
  2. Place quinoa in medium saucepan with 1 cup of vegetable stock/broth
  3. Bring to boil and then cover and reduce to low cooking for 10 to 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  4. While quinoa is cooking ready vegetables.
  5. Cut feta into bite sized chunks, place in large mixing bowl.
  6. Rinse and then cut grape tomatoes in half and add to mixing bowl.
  7. Wash cucumbers leaving skin intact and slice mini cucumbers into little rounds. Add to bowl.
  8. Remove pits from olives if any remain and chop olives adding to bowl.
  9. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place in iron skillet over medium high heat with 1 tsp of avocado oil, oregano, paprika, half of rosemary leaves removed and chopped, and minced shallot.
  10. Pan roast chickpeas over high heat until chickpeas are slightly browned approximately 7-10 minutes.
  11. Allow chickpea mixture to cool slightly before adding to vegetables and feta in mixing bowl.
  12. Make dressing with the remaining avocado oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and remaining rosemary chopped.
  13. Once quinoa is cooked fluff with fork and allow to come to room temperature.
  14. Assemble salad mixing vegetable mixture with quinoa and pour dressing over.
  15. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

 

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