Usually, towards the beginning of the week, I like to cook a big batch of something that I can snack on or eat for lunch in case I somehow run out of leftovers (it happens occasionally, really!) or need a break from my leftovers for a meal. It depends on my mood for the week what it’s going to be. Sometimes it’s a nice sandwich filling like tofu or tempeh or chickpea salad, easily tucked into pitas or piled up onto toast. And some weeks, it’s just hummus, or another bean-based spread. Sometimes it’s both, because I can get sassy like that. I tried a new recipe this week, though. Surprise, surprise. The semi-vegan boyfriend says I never watch the same movie twice and I never cook the same meal twice. Variety is the spice of life, people!
To the casual observer, this might just look like any other quinoa salad, but no! It’s actually much more. Specifically, it’s one of the tastiest quinoa salads I’ve ever made. It’s creamy, it’s crunchy, it’s chewy, and it’s full of flavor! Plus it is really, seriously filling, since there’s a double whammy of protein. For these things we can all thank Isa, since the recipe is from Appetite for Reduction. Reading the ingredients list of the Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad, I have to admit that I was a bit nonplussed at first. Still, I’ve gotten to the point with this book where I’ve made all the recipes that initially popped out at me, and almost all were A+ for me, so I’m learning to trust the recipes that I may not have been so attracted to at the beginning. After all, how can quinoa, chickpeas, red onions, romaine, and salad dressing really go wrong? Mostly, I was afraid it would be too simple. Fear not. Isa provides optional add-ins that can liven this baby up. I chose to roast some garlic and throw that in, which made the flavor a bit more rich and deep. I also must admit that at first I was nervous because I don’t really like balsamic dressings (those of you who read regularly know me as a vinegar-phobe…I’m one of the few people in the world that doesn’t looooooove balsamic vinegar), but after a couple of bites, I was hooked. I’m not crazy about raw red onion either, so I halved the amount I put in, which was just perfect for me. Next time I think I’m going to grate a carrot (the best vegetable) to bulk up the veggies. And I’ll probably use the Caesar Chavez dressing instead, only because I love that dressing and want to eat it with a spoon. Oh, and the lettuce doesn’t get soggy, even after days in the fridge, if you cut it up into little bits. Quit worrying (like I did), and go make this salad! Your after-lunch belly will thank you.