Quinoa, although often called a whole grain, is actually the seed of a green leafy plant that is still cultivated in South America. Quinoa is considered an ancient grain, and can be used in everything from porridge to salads. Since quinoa is a complete protein and has all 9 essential essential amino acids, it is a great option for vegetarian diets. I love using grains such as farro, barley, or quinoa as the base for nutritious and delicious lunch salads and all three of these grains can be substituted for each other.
This is another easy salad that I like to make to take on picnics, or keep a big bowl of it in the refrigerator for quick lunches. You can play around with the vegetables, replacing my choices with any you prefer. I always like to add texture to my salads so I always add a crunchy vegetable or two, and I also like my salads to be visually appealing so I usually add in some fresh green herbs or chopped greens. This salad has an earthy feel to it with the roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, toasted hazelnuts, and sautéed mushrooms, so I decided to dress the salad with a light balsamic vinaigrette which worked really well.
To cook the quinoa, place in a pot and cover with salted water by two inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the quinoa until cooked. Drain, and cool. To toast the hazelnuts, place in a 375 degree preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and rub with a kitchen towel to remove at least half the skins.
Deborah Mele 2012
- 6 Cups Cooked Quinoa
- 1 Small Head Cauliflower, Core Removed & Cut Into Small Florets
- 1 (14 Ounce) Can Garbanzo Beans
- 8 Ounces Mushrooms, Trimmed & Chopped
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
- 6 Teaspoons Olive Oil, Divided In Three
- 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Parsley Leaves (Or Watercress)
- 6 Green Onions, Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Diced Celery
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 - 4 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Coarsely Chopped Toasted Hazelnuts
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet, and toss with two teaspoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Bake the cauliflower until golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove the cauliflower to a bowl and set aside.
- Drain and rinse the Garbanzo beans, and pat dry.
- Toss the beans with two teaspoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes or until the beans are beginning to brown.
- In a frying pan, heat the last of the olive oil, and cook the mushrooms until tender, or lightly browned.
- Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, then set the mushroom and garlic mixture aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, cauliflower, garbanzo beans, mushrooms, parsley, celery, and green onions.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
- Toss the dressing with the salad ingredients to mix well.
- Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Top the salad with the hazelnuts and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 604Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 248mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 13gSugar: 9gProtein: 17g