While I was in the Caymans with my parents, I developed a burning desire for salads. I know: weird. But I couldn’t get enough of them; I ordered salad a minimum of once a day while I was there, and usually twice. (Granted, it was usually Caesar salad that I was ordering, so please try not to be too impressed by my virtuousness. But still: salad!)
This sudden craving for leaves – which continued after I returned home, and continues still – is bizarre enough that I should probably consider the possibility that it results from a hormonal imbalance or some other shift in my biological makeup. I mean, yesterday I made this quinoa salad from a reader-submitted recipe (thank you, Anya!) and I’d already eaten lunch, so I planned to photograph it, take a bite or two so I’d have something to say about it, and put the rest into the refrigerator for the next day…but then I couldn’t stop eating it.
Yes, quinoa is pretty delicious generally – and I’ll acknowledge that, as salads go, this one isn’t particularly leafy – but I was floored by how fully addictive this salad is. Crunchy, hearty, citrus-y, salty, sweet: all the good things. (Strongly suggest you double the recipe below.)
QUINOA SALAD WITH CHICKPEAS, APPLES & FETA
What You Need:
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve (Note: I don’t own a fine sieve, so my strategy for rinsing quinoa is pouring water into the plastic bag it came in, and then dumping out the water while using my hand to try to keep as many teeny-tiny quinoa granules as possible from escaping into my garbage disposal. I do not recommend this.)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 19 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- A big handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta (or as much as you want)
- 1 green apple, chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or almonds (Note: I skipped this because I forgot my debit card at home and didn’t have enough cash on me to allow me to pay for a package of walnuts and a jar of Nutella, and I have my priorities in order. The nuts would have been good, though.)
DRESSING: The original recipe says to combine 1/4 cup canola or olive oil, 2 tbsp. rice vinegar or lemon juice, 1 tsp. honey and 1/4 tsp. curry paste or powder, but I just whisked together 1/3 cup good-quality olive oil, the juice from half a large lemon, and some salt, and it was perfect.
What You Do:
- Cook quinoa according to package directions (cook the quinoa in salted boiling water for 12-14 minutes, or until the little curly parts start poking out of the grains). Pour into a large bowl with the raisins (which will plump up as they absorb the moisture from the quinoa) and let cool slightly.
- Add the remaining ingredients and a pinch of salt, drizzle over dressing, and toss to combine.