Quinoa is such a versatile grain making it super easy to combine with just about anything and since I love Mediterranean flavors I thought this salad was amazing. Enjoy this super fresh salad as a side dish (I served it with baked turkey meatballs) or as a vegetarian entree. You taste buds will thank you ;-)
3/4 cup quinoa (any color is fine, but I used white)
1 1/2 cups water
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 carrot, grated (large slices done with a hand peeler)
4 scallions, sliced (white and light green sections)
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and cut in half
1/3 cup chopped nuts- pecans, almonds or walnuts (I used walnuts)
2 large handfuls of baby spinach
1 TBS chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1-2 lemons, depending upon size (about 1/4 cup of juice)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the water and quinoa in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine the garlic and the next 9 ingredients (through the garbanzo beans); toss lightly to combine. Fold in the cooled quinoa. Drizzle the salad with the olive oil and lemon juice. Gently stir to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.
This salad is best served chilled (at least one hour, but longer is even better as the flavors will continue to meld and develop).
Makes about 4 servings.
Heavily adapted from: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2009/07/quinoa-salad-with-yellow-tomatoes.html