Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
This salad was inspired by leftovers. No, seriously. I had leftover salad, and leftover quinoa and decided to toss them together. A star is born!
What I really love about it is how FLAVORFUL it is! Especially in the Summer when you get those amazing Jersey tomatoes, and fresh, local, cucumbers and onions! Add the spice blend from the chickpeas (or chicken, if you prefer) and this meal will hold you over hours and give you all kinds of healthy nutrients!
Quinoa has long been touted as a super food - but why!? Here's why. It's a whole grain, that just happens to also be a complete protein. Which basically means it contains all the same amino acids as a piece of meat!
Tomatoes are great for your heart; reducing your risk of both a cardiovascular event AND a stroke. Not to mention they're anti-inflammatory in general. Plus they're loaded with Vitamin C so they give you a basic immunity boost.
Cucumbers are great in the summer time because they help hydrate and cool the body. They give your skin an extra glow and help with weight loss, mostly because they're entirely water and fiber which means you'll feel full!
Onions are also packed with Vitamin C AND sulfur so they help detoxify the body, boost your immunity and are actually both anti-viral and anti-bacterial...you really can't ask for something to do much more for your body!
Toss those spiced chickpeas on top and you're getting lots of fiber which will also help you feel full and lose weight! Not to mention they help get your digestion going, reduce blood sugar AND cholesterol...did I mention this salad is REALLY healthy?
Watch the video and grab the recipe below!
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
1 C. quinoa
2 C. vegetable stock
1 Tbs. + 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 C. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 C. cucumber, cubed
1/2 C. red onion, chopped
1/2 C. crunchy ceci beans
juice of 1/2 lemon
In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, vegetable stock, 1 Tbs. olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat, tilt the lid and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Spoon quinoa into a large bowl. (Can be done a day in advance).
Add tomatoes, cucumbers and onion to the quinoa. Season with salt and pepper. Dress with remaining 3 Tbs. of oil and lemon juice. Toss until everything is well combined.
Spoon the quinoa salad into bowls and top with warm, crunchy ceci beans. Serve immediately.
*Alternate: If you're more of a meat eater, you can use the same spice combination on some grilled chicken and serve that on top of the salad as well!
**Alternate: Because quinoa is already a whole protein, the salad works without adding anything to it as well. Simply eat a big bowl all on its own!