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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Quinoa, Avocado & Chickpea Salad

Okay. This salad is........... vegan (gasp!). I'm pretty sure its the first vegan meal I've ever eaten (could be an exaggeration, could be true), and I'm always afraid to try vegan recipes for fear that they are tasteless, or that they include unfortunate substitutes for critical ingredients, like butter and eggs. BUT THIS IS GOOD. Very very good. I am already dreaming up fun new additions for next time, one of which includes feta cheese (whoops, there goes the vegan thing). It tastes super fresh and goes down easy. Very healthy, very filling, very delicious. Adapted from The Diva Dish.

1/2 cup dried quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried
2 cups spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 garlic cloves
1 can chick peas, rinsed & drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, pitted and chopped

zest from 1 lemon
juice from 2 lemons
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked pepper

Pour the quinoa and vegetable broth in a small saucepan and let sit for 15 minutes. Turn heat on medium/high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and cook, simmering, for about 20-25 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked through, but not dry. Remove from heat and let cool (I put it in the freezer to speed up this process since I was eating right away).

While the quinoa is cooking, place the spinach and cilantro in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not blended. I overdid it, and as a result had a paste, rather than nice pretty flakes. Remove from food processor and place in the bottom of a large bowl. Using the food processor pulse the onion and garlic and add to spinach/cilantro. Add the chick peas and stir together.

Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients to a small jar and shake. Pour over the green/chick pea mixture and stir together. Add the chopped tomatoes and carefully fold in the avocado and quinoa. You don't want to over-stir, since you don't want the avocado to mash. Taste for salt and pepper and serve!!

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