With warm nights and busy schedules, this time of year is great for simple summer salads. Each year I am on the lookout for new options to add to my recipe repertoire and I tend to come across at least one new recipe that makes me think, “Wow, how did I live without you in my life?!” This past weekend I ran into (well, ate!) one of this year’s new favorites.
This simple bean and quinoa recipe
is one that I immediately had to replicate (and modify)
at home. My mother found it in an issue of Rachael Ray magazine
and served it at a family cookout and I think it is a real winner.
(As usual I had to change things up a bit: My version of the recipe, which is below, includes a variety of beans, feta cheese, fresh mint and lemon zest to give a bit more depth of ﬂavor and to make it more of a meal instead of a side dish. I also served it on a bed of mixed greens.)
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
(1 cup raw)
1 medium red onion, ﬁnely chopped
½ cup of feta cheese
2 bunches basil, stems discarded and leaves chopped
1 bunch of mint, stems discarded and leaves chopped
Juice of 1 ½ lemons
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
A little lemon zest (about a teaspoon)
Salt and pepper to taste
I cooked the quinoa as directed on the package, rinsing well as usual.
Once I got the quinoa cooking on the stove, I rinsed my basil and mint and did a rough chop. I then placed the herbs in a large bowl with the kidney beans, chickpeas, feta and chopped red onion.
In a small separate bowl I juiced my two lemons and added in a bit of zest for an extra kick; I then whisked in the olive oil and the dressing was ready to go.
Once the quinoa was ready I combined all the ingredients in the large bowl, poured the dressing over the salad and served everything on a bed of greens.
Note: The beans, quinoa and cheese oﬀer plenty of protein as a main dish, but this recipe is also excellent as a side dish with either grilled chicken or shrimp.—Rachel