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Monday, June 30, 2014

Lemon Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Spinach, and Garbanzos

I literally just ate this.  As in, the empty bowl is beside this laptop as I type.  And it was so good I had to post the recipe immediately.

Mondays normally find me back home with Lumen after spending my weekend with E, friends, and plenty of heavy, guilt-inducing food (and drink(s)).  While poking around the internet deciding what to make for dinner tonight, I came across this recipe and figured I'd give it a shot for myself.  It seemed simple enough to make quickly, light enough to assuage my guilt from all the gin consumed the previous three days, and judging by the ingredient list, I knew E might like it.

Now I'm convinced.  EVERYONE will like this recipe.  Except if you're one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap.  In that case, I forgive you; just omit it from yours.

I've made some modifications from Meg's version - and I'm telling you, this isn't just a side dish (though it can be).  I ate a big ol' bowl of this for dinner and I am fully satisfied.  It's fully vegan vegetarian (can be made vegan by swapping out the honey for agave syrup or brown rice syrup) and yet still full of protein!  I ate it still warm but you may refrigerate this and serve chilled.

If you are a newbie to keenwah quinoa, don't let it intimidate you.  The other flavors in this dish are what sing; the texture and taste of the quinoa simply enhance it.

Enjoy this light summer salad!  Let me know what you think.

Lemon Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Spinach, and Garbanzos
(Serves 4 as a side, 2 or 3 as a main dish)
  • 3/4 cup dry Quinoa.  I used Shoprite's brand of tri-color quinoa, which blends white, black, and red grains.  Really fantastic - and store-brand so extra-cheap!  I will forever sing the praises of Shoprite.
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Vegetable Broth or Water - the broth is optional.  Tonight I made the quinoa with just water as I know I have a brand-new box of veggie broth at Eric's and I just couldn't see myself buying another.  The broth will make it more flavorful but, since there's so much going on in this dish already, it really isn't critical.
  • 1/2 cup fresh Cilantro, diced
  • 2 cups fresh, raw Baby Spinach, diced
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/4 cup (or 4 Tablespoons) Red Onion
  • 1 can Garbanzos (Chick Peas), rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes or grape tomatoes, cut into halves.  I used only red this time around, but next time will use both red and yellow tomatoes to enhance the sweetness.
  • 1 large, ripe Avocado, diced
  • The juice from 1 medium Lemon
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard or brown mustard (don't use yellow mustard for this, no no no, save that for your barbeques)
  • 3 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp Honey
  • salt, pepper, and a little Adobo to taste (optional)
It's recommended to rinse your quinoa before cooking, not really sure why, but I found this left me with clumpy quinoa that was almost impossible to deal with.  Your call.  In any case..

Combine the quinoa and your broth/water in a medium pot and heat to a rolling boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Your quinoa should fully absorb the liquid in about 12-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  (Or stick in the fridge if you prefer this salad cold.)

Combine diced cilantro and spinach in a large mixing bowl.  Add garlic, red onion, garbanzos, and tomatoes and stir to combine.  Then add quinoa and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, honey, and seasonings.  Whisk together.

Pour this dressing into the garbanzo salad, add diced avocado, and toss lightly so as to not squish the avocado. 

Serve either still warm, or refrigerate prior to serving.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

An Announcement ..

I'm Engaged!

E and I go to Martha's Vineyard at least once a year to visit good friends and have the time of our lives.  It's our special place - the first vacation we took together, the first place we exchanged I Love Yous, the place we eat and relax like we wish we could live daily ..

And now it's the place where he asked me to be his wife.

E proposed on Saturday, June 7, 2014 atop the Cape Pogue Lighthouse on Chappaquiddick island, timed exactly at sunset, staged to be a surprise, had a photographer friend on-hand and ready, and it was completely, utterly romantic.

I have never been happier or more sure that he is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.

Now I can't wait to leave the awful kitchen I currently have -- and finally call this beautiful kitchen OURS!  (E and his dad designed and constructed it, and I will be sure to blog about it once the backsplash and final pieces are complete!  It's been a complete labor of love.)

While on our last trip, we went to a restaurant that starred this amazing Summer Orzo Salad.  I'll be back this week with the deconstructed recipe.

Thanks!  Today, I am deliriously happy.  WE are deliriously happy.

Special thanks to Erin at Living In Yellow for the shout-out in today's post!  I loved my outfit and so did E, of course :)  Check Erin's blog out, especially today - she is a riot and an excellent writer.