Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Chickpeas, and Cider Vinaigrette

By the looks of all the decadent treats I tend to post on this here blog, one would think that our family eats nothing but sugar, chocolate, and butter all day long.  However, most days of the week we try to eat mainly dishes that focus on fruits, vegetables, and nuts and reserve the desserts for the weekends.  One of my favorite lunch staples is a quinoa salad. I have professed my love for quinoa before and my love for this protein-rich seed has not waned.  It is filling, nutritious, and delicious.  I like to make a batch of this salad at night shortly after putting Matthew to bed and then use it as a quick lunch for myself for the next few days.

This quinoa salad is packed with sweet apples, salty cheese, protein-rich garbanzo beans, chopped scallions, toasted nuts and a simple cider vinaigrette to tie the whole thing together.  I usually do not care for garbanzo beans unless they are pureed into hummus, but they are quite delicious in this salad.  Even Paul, the professed garbanzo bean hater, adores them in this salad and agrees that no other bean will do in their stead.

Quinoa Salad with Apple, Chickpeas, Toasted Almonds, and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
barely adapted from Cookin' Canuk

For the Salad:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 can (14 oz.) chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
1 large crisp apple, cored and chopped (I like Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, or Zestar)
3 tablespoons Gorgonzola or Feta cheese
2 green onion, thinly sliced

For the vinaigrette:
1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Additional Salt/Pepper to taste

For the salad:
In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse quinoa well and drain.  In a medium pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork, and transfer to a cookie sheet, spreading the quinoa in a thin layer to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together cooled quinoa, almonds, chickpeas, apple, Gorgonzola cheese and green onions.

For the Vinaigrette:
Whisk together white apple cider, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt.  Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and toss to coat. Add additional salt and pepper to taste and serve!

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