Quinoa, Garbanzo and Spinach Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing
So..... I am in Home Depot trying to buy a lawnmower when I got distracted by magazines, just as I would have gotten distracted had their been a shoe department.
These magazine's were not tabloid magazine's, but food magazines....Saveur, Food and Wine......Bon Appetit. I decided to flip through the July issue of Bon Appetit, when I eyeballed a recipe for a Quinoa, Garbanzo and Spinach Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing. I have been dying to find a great recipe for Quinoa, not only because I do have friends that are vegetarian and some with gluten allergies, but because Quinoa is a complete protein, it's tasty and great replacement for rice or pasta. I was not really impressed with anything I saw on the Internet, so when I saw the ingredients to this dish, I bought the magazine and not the lawnmower.
I made the quinoa in the morning before I left for work and it was cool when I returned. All I needed to do was assemble the dish. I did not have smoked paprika, so I used regular paprika and I omitted the mint because I don't care for mint and I used the little cherry tomatoes that were already in my refrigerator, but I stayed true to the rest of the ingredients. Adding salt and pepper to the dressing really enhances the flavor, so I see why the recipe called for a generous seasoning of salt and pepper at the end.
It was soooo good, I ended up eating three bowls of it. I mean, this was really, really good. Crunchy english cucumbers, quinoa, garbanzo beans and baby spinach in a tart dressing with feta cheese...yum.
I knew it was good, but I wanted to get my daughter's reaction, so without saying a word, I left the salad in the refrigerator knowing she would not be able to resist taking a bite out of a dish this healthy looking. I went out for my evening jog, which turned into a walk because I had a full belly of high protein goodness and when I returned, the first thing out of her mouth was....... "what was that salad, it was delicious?".....I said... "wasn't it?, I can't wait to blog about it"..... and she said, "NO......it was ridiculous", which meant, it was ridiculously good, so now it will be forever known as the ridiculously good salad, even though technically, it is a ridiculously good meatless main meal.
This recipe has 6-8 servings or the serving size according to instructions are as follows.
Here is the Bon Appetit recipe:
1 1/2 cups Quinoa, rinsed and drained
4 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves
2 15-16 ounce cans of garbanzo
1 1/3 cups 1/3 inch cubed unpeeled English hothouse cucumber
1 1-pint container of multicolored baby heirloom tomatoes, halved (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese (about 7 ounces), divided
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 cup olive oil
Place quinoa in large saucepan: add enough salted water to cover quinoa by 1 inch. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, 15 to 16 minutes. Drain. Chill until cool.
Meanwhile, combine spinach leaves, garbanzos, cubed cucumber, halved tomatoes, mint leaves and half of feta cheese in extra-large bowl. Add cooled quinoa and toss gently to blend.