I came up with this mustardy chickpea-beat quinoa salad after spending two days at the beach and eating sort of erratically, like you do, when you've got the day off and you and the people you've traveled with have packed all kinds of good snacks. (Thanks, Red-Tail Designs.) We did manage to stop at Seed to Sprout in Avon-by-the-Sea on the way home, where we tried some vegan baked goods, the boys split a smoothie and I grabbed salad chockablock with the good stuff, brought together by a creamy tahini dressing. When we came home, we all needed a little bit of a reset, so here you have it.
Whenever I make a dish like this, which is mostly vegan, I make sure to include at least 2 ingredients that I know the kids will enjoy. I wouldn't say they get super excited about quinoa, but they like it okay, but M likes beets and they both love chickpeas and kale, so those are the failsafe items.
This comes together fairly quickly as the quinoa cooks, assuming you've already got a roasted beet or two kicking around in the fridge, which I often do as part of my weekly kitchen prep work, after a farmers' market visit. If not, turn your oven to 375 Fahrenheit and wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil to roast while you're assembling the salad and dressing. Depending on the size (I used two small ones), it should take no more than 30-35 minutes. Remove them and the foil to let the beets cool.
Chickpea-Beet Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 T olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 cup beets, roasted and chopped
- 1 cup carrots, grated
- 2 cups kale, sliced thin (I used Tuscan kale)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
- 2 T. walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 T. honey
- 1 T. spicy brown mustard
- Organic extra virgin olive oil to taste (at least 2/3 of a cup)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the quinoa according to the package's directions. While that's cooking, saute the onions in the oil of your choice until they are soft and starting to caramelize. This should take several minutes.
Meanwhile, assemble the rest of your ingredients so they are ready to go. When the quinoa is fluffy and finished, transfer to a large bowl. Add the onions, carrots, beets, kale, chickpeas and cilantro. The kale should wilt somewhat with the heat of the quinoa. Add the feat, if using, and top with the chopped walnuts.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients, and taste, taste, taste. I like a bracing vinaigrette but you and your crowd may not. If that's the case, just add more olive oil. Pour the dressing around the rim of the bowl and toss gently to combine.
Serves 6 or more, easily, with leftovers.