This fresh-tasting and nutritious Chickpea and Quinoa Salad can be eaten as a side or all on its own. It is a great standby to have on hand in the fridge.
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a type of edible seed that is often classed as a whole grain. It comes in various colours including black, red, yellow, and white. The lighter colours have the mildest taste.
Nutritional Information for Quinoa
Because quinoa is gluten-free it is a popular choice for coeliacs.
Chickpeas and quinoa provide the protein that is necessary for building and maintaining a healthy body. According to an article from the Harvard School of Health, quinoa is one of the few plants that provide complete protein, “meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own.” This is very important for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Preparation Tips for Cooking Quinoa
“After the seeds are harvested they undergo processing to remove the natural saponins, a bitter-tasting chemical compound coating the exterior that acts as a natural pesticide.” To ensure all the saponins have been removed, I always rinse quinoa, including the brands advertised as “pre-rinsed”.
Extra flavour can be added to quinoa by using stock instead of water. Also, try adding your favourite herbs and spices to the cooking liquid.
I have found that the easiest way to cook quinoa is in a rice cooker. As a side note, I found a stainless steel bowl rice cooker because I want to avoid the Teflon found on most. If you want to know why, watch the film “Dark Waters” with Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, and Tim Robbins.
With this particular quinoa salad recipe, I sometimes leave out the tomato and add dried cranberries or currants and toasted sliced almonds. If you want more vegetables instead, leave in the tomato and add cubed cucumber, pitted black olives, and/or fresh spinach leaves. Play around with it until you find your perfect combination.